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Alpine Linux has several kernels designed to suit different situations.

  • linux-vanilla is the stock modular kernel and is configured for a generous selection of hardware.
  • linux-virt (see the -virt configs) is recommended for Alpine Linux guests, and disables most hardware in favor of a commonly-virtualized subset of drivers.
  • linux-rpi is optimized for the Raspberry Pi.

For installing a custom kernel, see Custom Kernel. To select a specific kernel or firmware packages during installation from the Alpine ISO, simply install the desired kernel flavor and firmware packages with apk add before running setup-alpine.


The linux-firmware meta-package is included in the default installation, and depends on all firmware. This is a large download, and you may be better served by installing only the firmwares you need, or linux-firmware-none if you do not require any firmware. If you're unsure which firmware you need, boot up with no firmware installed and run dmesg | grep firmware to get an idea. Be aware that most firmware is nonfree.