`eclean-kernel` is a small tool aimed at removing old and stale kernel files. It
does not only remove old kernels itself but also tries to remove all related
files including auxiliary files in /boot, kernel modules and even the source
The typical use is:
eclean-kernel -n 3 -p
where `-n 3` is used to keep three newest kernels around, and `-p` makes
eclean-kernel only print kernels which would be removed.
In case the results are satisfactory, use:
eclean-kernel -n 3
to actually remove the kernels.
If you are unsure whether kernel files are mapped correctly, you can use
which just lists found kernels with file mappings.
Fiding and mapping kernels
The first task performed by eclean-kernel is finding all currently installed
kernels and matching auxiliary files to them. In order to do that, eclean-kernel
first looks for files named in the form of:
where _PREFIX_ is one of the predefined file prefixes representing the file
type, and _VERSION_ is a free-form string following it (preferably the kernel
Right now, eclean-kernel supports the following prefixes:
- `vmlinuz`, `vmlinux`, `kernel` and `bzImage` for kernel files,
- `System.map` for system.map file,
- `config` for kernel configuration.
In case support for additional prefixes is needed, feel free to report a bug.
Files belonging to the same kernel are grouped using the _VERSION_ part, e.g. it
is assumed that `System.map-X.Y.Z` corresponds to `vmlinuz-X.Y.Z`.
In addition to that, eclean-kernel looks for kernel modules in:
where _REALVERSION_ corresponds to the actual kernel version string used
by the kernel itself. It is read from kernel image itself and it is assumed to
be equal to _VERSION_ for libdirs unmatched to any kernel image.
In other words, genkernel-generated `kernel-genkernel-ARCH-X.Y.Z` will be
matched to `System.map-genkernel-ARCH-X.Y.Z` but also to `/lib/modules/X.Y.Z`.
Choosing kernels to remove
The kernel choice algorithm is quite simple:
1. If the kernel is currently used, don't remove it;
2. If the kernel is referenced by a bootloader, don't remove it
3. If auxiliary files do not map to existing kernel, remove them;
4. If `--all` is used, remove the kernel;
5. If kernel is not within _N_ newest kernels (where _N_ is the argument
to `-n`), remove it.
The program always derefences symlinks and counts real path references. Thus,
a particular file will be removed only if all kernels referencing it are removed
as well. This is especially important for shared kernel sources.
In order to determine kernels currently used, eclean-kernel is supposed to read
configuration files used by the bootloader. Right now, the following bootloaders
There is also a pseudo-bootloader module called _symlinks_ which assumes files
symlinked to `/boot/PREFIX` and `/boot/PREFIX.old` are used.
By default, eclean-kernel uses the first bootloader from the above list for
which a configuration file exists, and uses _symlinks_ as a fallback. This can
be changed using `--bootloader` argument.
Please report bugs either to [github] or [Gentoo Bugzie]. When reporting
a bug, please attach the outputs of:
ls -l /boot /lib/modules/*
If relevant, please attach bootloader configuration files as well.
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