Ubuntu’s release cycle is 6 months. Though this seems to be aggressive cycle, it is not enough for someone who depends on bleeding edge kernel which may support some new hardware or damn smart feature. In this scenario you need to wait till next release of ubuntu, if you are not comfortable in downloading the vanilla kernel from http://www.kernel.org.
But things have started changing now. Ubuntu has announced recently that vanilla kernels will be available as .deb packages in ubuntu Personal Package Archives. This archive includes release candidates also. These kernel packages are built without ubuntu patches and proprietary firmwares but with ubuntu’s default kernel configuration. Click here to download these vanilla kernels in debian package formats.
I just followed the steps given in this link to install 2.6.29 RC7 kernel which supports my cheap Gear Head web cam (Even the upcoming Jaunty 9.04 does not ship with 2.6.29 kernel, it is shipped with 2.6.28 only).
I faced the following error while installing the kernel image.
$ sudo dpkg -i linux-image-2.6.29-020629rc7-generic_2.6.29-020629rc7_i386.deb
Selecting previously deselected package linux-image-2.6.29-020629rc7-generic.
(Reading database … 121785 files and directories currently installed.)
Unpacking linux-image-2.6.29-020629rc7-generic (from linux-image-2.6.29-020629rc7-generic_2.6.29-020629rc7_i386.deb) …
dpkg: dependency problems prevent configuration of linux-image-2.6.29-020629rc7-generic:
linux-image-2.6.29-020629rc7-generic depends on wireless-crda; however:
Package wireless-crda is not installed.
dpkg: error processing linux-image-2.6.29-020629rc7-generic (–install):
dependency problems – leaving unconfigured
Errors were encountered while processing:
The solution is to install wireless-crda package. But this package is not available in 8.10 Intrepid repository. But is available in 9.10 Jaunty repository. So I downloaded .deb for this package from here and installed using dpkg command. Then kernel image .deb installation was successful.
If you want to build custom modules, you have to install the header packages also which are also available here.