How to install the Linux 5.0 update on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

Canonical just came out Ubuntu 18.04.3 LTSwhich contains the Linux kernel 5.0. This kernel, which is also included in Ubuntu 19.04, includes improved hardware support and performance optimizations. However, if you installed the original Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, you will not be automatically updated.

It’s all about hardware enablement (HWE)

Here’s how it works. Instead of offering the original Ubuntu 18.04 LTS image for years and forcing everyone to update a lot of software after installing it, Ubuntu regularly releases new Ubuntu 18.04 installers in ISO format. This includes the latest software updates, which are usually installed after installing Ubuntu 18.04. Several versions of Ubuntu 18.04 have now been released: the original versions 18.04, 18.04.1, 18.04.2 and 18.04.3.

The Ubuntu 18.04.2 version included a new one “Hardware Enablement” (HWE) stack. The stack consists of a newer Linux kernel, an X.org graphics server and graphics drivers. These weren’t automatically installed on existing systems to make sure they didn’t break anything. After all, long term service releases are all about stability. Organizations don’t necessarily want a major new kernel update to come out of nowhere.

If you installed Ubuntu 18.04 using the Ubuntu 18.04.2 installer, you will automatically receive the Ubuntu 18.04.3 update with the new Linux kernel. If you installed Ubuntu 18.04 with Ubuntu 18.04.1 or the original Ubuntu 18.04, you will not automatically receive the new Linux kernel.

In any case, all Ubuntu 18.04 systems receive most of the same updates. Older ones just don’t have the hardware enablement stack.


Not sure which version of Ubuntu you have installed? Ubuntu 04/18/2 was released on February 14, 2019. If you installed Ubuntu after that, you probably have the new stack and get Linux 5.0 through the standard software update tools.

This is how you get the new hardware enablement stack

If you want, you can opt for the hardware activation update. LTS versions are meant to be rock solid and not change a lot, so Ubuntu won’t automatically install them for you. However, we assume that things will work fine on almost all systems.

To install Linux 5.0 along with the new X server and graphics drivers, start a terminal and run the following command. You can just copy and paste it into the terminal and press Enter:

sudo apt install --install-recommends linux-generic-hwe-18.04 xserver-xorg-hwe-18.04

Enter Enter your password when prompted and enter “y” to confirm it if necessary. Ubuntu will be updated to the latest system with the latest hardware enablement stack.

Install Linux 5.0 on Ubuntu 18.04

You will need to reboot your system in order to install the new kernel. After you do this, a quick one uname -r or uname -a Command displays the version of Linux you are running: Linux 5.0.

uname command that displays the Linux kernel 5.0 on Ubuntu

Thanks to OMG! Ubuntu for highlighting the release of Ubuntu 18.04.3 LTS and its Linux 5.0 kernel.

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