Questions about installing the zen kernel on EOS

Well, looking around on the forum I saw that someone put the zen kernel in place of the default one on EOS.

I have some questions:

  • Did you have any problems after installing it, did you have to fix anything?

Looking at various videos and guides around, I saw that there are two methods: install only the linux-zen package or install both linux-zen and the linux-zen-headers package.

  • What is the correct procedure?

  • And on EOS what is better to install, both packages or just one?

  • Have you also tried installing other kernels on EOS?

  • I find the xanmod kernel interesting, has anyone installed it?

I have used the Zen kernel off and on for a few years with EOS, Arch, and Garuda Linux and have never had a kernel-related issue that wasn’t also present in the mainline kernel.

Then again, I don’t typically notice whatever optimizations each specific kernel supposedly provides either. Probably you can see some different performance with benchmarking or if you have a specific use case that a given optimization is intended for, but for my day to day use they all seem to be pretty much the same.

If you have or are ever going to use DKMS packages you should install the headers as well. If you aren’t sure, I would recommend just installing them along with the kernel.

sudo pacman -S linux-zen linux-zen-headers

These days, I tend to seek out a kernel where all my stuff works normally and then just leave it alone unless something breaks.


The zen kernel should run well for gaming, although from what I’ve seen on Eos the default kernel works better. And by the way, playing on EOS (with the default kernel, the same as Arch) is better than on Arch, from the little experiment I did:

Just for Fun: Cyberpunk 2077, Horizon Zero Dawn, and Shadow of the Tomb Raider Benchmarks on Windows 11, Arch Linux, EndevourOS, and Manjaro

I tried testing two kernels on EOS. The zen kernel, where compared to the default gaming there was no increase in performance, and the liquorix which instead was unstable enough to not be able to play the games that I could play with the zen kernel or by default. Then I reinstalled everything, since I didn’t have anything important on the PC.


If you’re looking for performance I would like to suggest using a kernel from linux-tkg. Linux-tkg uses the mainline Linux kernel but uses its patches and rules to compile it. And the best thing we can tweak it using the .cfg file. But I’ve never found any need for that.

They have more than one kernel build supporting different CPU logic timers and managers. You can try each and keep the best one that gives the best performance,

EDIT: I found out after posting this the chaotic-aur maintainers have decided to EOL the TKG kernels. I was wondering why it was not getting any updates. TKG can be complied by ourselves but I don’t want to spend 1 to 2 hours doing nothing. Anyway, I’ve switched to linux-cachyos-bore kernel which seems to be very similar to the TKG kernel. You can use chaotic-aur or cachyos repos. But be warned if you use cachyos repo it will bring a tone of tweaked software from their repos to Enos which includes a customized pacman.

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Thanks, I’ll keep that in mind.

I had also seen the liquorix kernel, and I tried to put it on EOS, but it’s not very stable. This is usually used for Debian-based distros.

Since I’m still a novice, I still have to master certain subtleties, so I just went back to the default EOS kernel instead of trying to fix it.

LQ kernel is not that great for Arch or Arch-based. It’s more like Zen for the Debian side. There Xmonad as well. And also you can use Enos frontend for kernel management. It’s called akm easy to use.

Well, I noticed when I installed it, in fact two out of three games wouldn’t even start anymore. XD

Thanks, installed it, it’s actually a very useful tool. Now I’m going to find out about the other kernels on that list.

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Linux-tkg is the only kernel I can really see a difference in responsiveness, but I’m not a gamer.

With my former CPU it was ~3.5 hours :cry:, now it’s ~40 minutes, but you can choose exactly the platform when compiling on your computer, it’s more generic when already compiled.

Until zen 6.6 , all was fine on my host system. After that version, the horror began, slow startup, stutters, games not rendering properly, system freezing, etc. I initially thought it to be an issue with btrfs suddenly, but then, I finally decided to try the vanilla kernel as a last resort. Everything got fixed after that.

Usually they run fine without issues. Can’t remember an issue tied to a particular kernel.

You install the two kernel+headers packages and they should just show in the boot manager.

Yes, e.g. cachyos has a lot of interesting kernels.

Yes. But I didn’t perceive any advantage over zen. YMMV.

The cachyos-kernels are also in the AUR, so you don’t have to switch to their repos.

If you notice the compilation in the background you’re using the wrong kernel. :japanese_ogre:

If you’re already down that road with bore give cachy’s echo kernel a try, it’s :pinched_fingers: here.

I use the default, lqx, and zen with no issues on EOS. Mostly for gaming and music applications.

I use EOS on two Intel NUC devices. One with integrated Intel GPU, and another with NVIDIA RTX 2060.

I’ve never had problems, except for a recent f2fs upstream issue.

I ALWAYS install the kernels’ matching *-headers package for kernel modules that have to be re-compiled, such as nvidia-dkms.

I have a full AMD configuration (processor and graphics card), but in my case the liquorix kernel gave me problems, even on commonly used apps, before games.

With the zen kernel no problem, by downloading the akm package, which is the official eos app for downloading other kernels, I download the zen kernel from there and I have no problem.