When there is an issue or security risk that affects Linux systems, an update that fixes the issue is made available. Patching is when that update is applied to the core of the Linux operating system, also known as the kernel.
When applying an update or patch, a Linux system will usually require a reboot for it to be applied. With Live Patching, the patch is applied without needing to reboot the system, keeping it online, or live.
Check your system’s log files in the /var/log directory to see when the most recent patch was applied, or run the command: rpm -qa –last.
Applying a patch to a kernel requires you to acquire the patch file by downloading or using the git command. Then you apply the patch with the patch command to the specific file or directory and compile the kernel. Once compiled, reboot your system and the updated kernel should be in effect.
Manual Linux patching requires a reboot to apply the patch to the system. Until the system is rebooted, the patch will not be applied.
Live Linux patching does not require a reboot because it applies a patch to an instance of the kernel that is running in live memory and makes the updates in real-time.
Linux servers need to be patched to fix security vulnerabilities, errors in the code, and to maintain compliance with rules and regulations – depending on the industry or use. Not patching a Linux server can have severe consequences.
Linux patches can be automated with a Live Patching service like TuxCare’s KernalCare that downloads and applies patches without having to reboot or take down a machine. The entire process takes a single command to set up, and after that, runs entirely in the background.
You can see if a security patch is installed on Linux by checking your log files in the /var/log directory or by using the command rpm -qa –last to see the latest update that was installed.