installkernel is no longer implicitly installed

Title: installkernel is no longer implicitly installed
Author: Andrew Ammerlaan <>
Posted: 2024-02-26
Revision: 2
News-Item-Format: 2.0
Display-If-Installed: sys-kernel/installkernel
Display-If-Installed: >=sys-apps/debianutils-5.14-r1
Display-If-Installed: app-misc/ca-certificates

/sbin/installkernel is a script called by the kernel's "make install"
as well as by the distribution kernel's post-install phase. If you are
reading this then chances are you use and rely on installkernel[1] and
what follows is essential for you.

Previously sys-kernel/installkernel was implicitly installed on many
systems via a dependency in sys-apps/debianutils. This dependency was
toggled by the "installkernel" USE flag, and enabled by default.

Until recently, sys-apps/debianutils was in turn pulled in by
app-misc/ca-certificates, an essential package installed on many
systems. However, this dependency of app-misc/ca-certificates on
sys-apps/debianutils was removed[2]. As a result many users may find
that sys-apps/debianutils and therefore sys-kernel/installkernel are no
longer part of the dependency graph and will therefore be cleaned up by
"emerge --depclean".

Removing sys-kernel/installkernel from your system WILL change the way
kernels are installed by "make install"! Instead of the versioned
/boot/vmlinuz-x.y.z that you are used to, "make install" will simply
copy bzImage (or equivalent for your arch) into /boot. This image may
not be picked up by your bootloader or its configuration tools.

To avoid surprises from such implicit dependencies from happening again
in the future, the dependency on sys-kernel/installkernel in
sys-apps/debianutils is removed. And as such, sys-kernel/installkernel
is only installed on the system if it is either explicitly selected or
pulled in via the distribution kernels (e.g. gentoo-kernel(-bin)).

User Action Required (users of manually managed kernels)

Users who manually configure, compile, and install their kernels, i.e.
users of the sys-kernel/*-sources packages, and who wish to continue
to use sys-kernel/installkernel, must ensure that it is explicitly
selected by emerging it:

	emerge --noreplace sys-kernel/installkernel

Users who find that sys-kernel/installkernel has already been cleaned
from their systems and are therefore affected by the change in kernel
installation described above should re-install sys-kernel/installkernel
and then re-install their kernel.

	emerge sys-kernel/installkernel
	cd /usr/src/linux       # (or other location of the kernel sources)
	make install

No manual action is required for users of the distribution kernels:
- sys-kernel/gentoo-kernel, or
- sys-kernel/gentoo-kernel-bin, or
- sys-kernel/vanilla-kernel