I have my Raspberry Pi setup how I want, but I have an older version than what is currently available (2012-10-28-wheezy-raspbian.zip). How do I upgrade the kernel, firmware, etc.?

I have upgraded some using:

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get upgrade

I believe my current Raspbian version is 2012-07-15 based on this:

[kevin@raspberrypi ~]$ more /boot/issue.txt
Raspberry Pi reference 2012-07-15 (armhf)
Generated using spindle, http://asbradbury.org/projects/spindle/, d2c1253, stage4-lxde-edu.qed

I am not sure what kernel version this is, though.

  • I think /boot/issue.txt is not modified since my cat /boot/issue.txt output is Raspberry Pi reference 2012-09-18 (armhf). And, like you, I installed a version released before 2012-10-28, probably 2012-09-19... BTW, you should use sudo apt-get upgrade to install the new dependencies needed by the upgrades. Dec 17, 2012 at 17:08
  • Now there is the Stretch version. This link shows how to do the upgrade, but I'm going to wait until it is on NOOBS. raspberrypi.stackexchange.com/questions/71462/…
    – SDsolar
    Aug 22, 2017 at 1:36

2 Answers 2


I figured out which kernel version I installed by looking at /proc/version:

[kevin@raspberrypi tmp]$ more /proc/version
Linux version 3.2.27+ (dc4@dc4-arm-01) (gcc version 4.7.2 20120731 (prerelease) 
(crosstool-NG linaro-1.13.1+bzr2458 - Linaro GCC 2012.08) ) #250 PREEMPT Thu Oct
 18 19:03:02 BST 2012

I followed scruss' suggestion to use rpi-update. I deviated a little from the install instructions which suggests to install into /usr/bin, but I just put it in my user directory:

[kevin@raspberrypi ~]$ wget http://goo.gl/1BOfJ -O ./rpi-update && chmod +x rpi-update

After running rpi-update, I now have upgraded everything to 3.6.11.

[kevin@raspberrypi ~]$ more /proc/version
Linux version 3.6.11+ (dc4@dc4-arm-01) (gcc version 4.7.2 20120731 (prerelease) 
(crosstool-NG linaro-1.13.1+bzr2458 - Linaro GCC 2012.08) ) #340 PREEMPT Thu Dec
27 17:31:37 GMT 2012

I don't use Raspian, but unless they've deviated significantly from Debian in their package management, aptitude update followed by aptitude upgrade, as you've done, should update the packages on the system. You could also try aptitude dist-upgrade.

I don't know if that will update the Kernel image or not, but I suspect that it will not. For the kernel, modules, and firmware, you'll probably want to download the latest binaries from GitHub: https://github.com/raspberrypi/firmware. Just copy the contents of the boot directory onto your /boot/ partition. You'll also need to copy the modules directory to /lib on your system. You'll need to reboot to get the new kernel running, of course.

  • 3
    rpi-update is a much simpler way of updating the firmware on Raspbian.
    – scruss
    Dec 17, 2012 at 4:23
  • I think we must have different definitions of "simpler", but that script does look...interesting. Dec 17, 2012 at 5:34
  • 1
    The underlying problem is that the kernel to be booted needs to be located in a location unknown to the apt-get system. Dec 28, 2012 at 11:11
  • rpi-update is part of the wheezy already. So sudo rpi-update is the easiest way to go.
    – Adarsha
    Mar 15, 2015 at 4:34

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