Can you tell us a bit more? What graphic driver are you using? i.e. what is the output of:
grep -i driver /etc/X11/xorg.conf
what version of the alsa driver are you using? ie what is the output of:
rpm -qa | grep alsa
where the last command will give you a URL. Please post the output of the rpm querry, and from the script only the URL that was provided.
With that information, we may be able to warn you of any potential hiccups.
I always recommend, before updating the kernel, that users make a backup copy of /boot/grub/menu.lst (you will need root permissions to backup that file). And then after updating the kernel, but BEFORE rebooting, please check the updated /boot/grub/menu.lst against the backed up /boot/grub/menu.lst and look for changes that don’t make sense.
Note if your are using a custom built/compiled wireless driver, that could be broken by the kernel update. So could your webcam driver. Typically any such breakage can be fixed with a bit of effort.
“nv” indicates you have the openGL (open source) nvidia driver. This almost always survives a Novell/SuSE-GmbH security kernel update. You should be ok here.
This is a bit trickier to accurately assess. I note an ALC655 with 1.0.17/1.0.18 of alsa. And no kernel specific custom alsa installs (often kernel specific custom alsa installs will break when there is a kernel update). I have not read of any ALC655 users having a problem with the kernel update but it is possible. Still if audio does break (as a result of the kernel update) it is relatively easy for me to pass you the rpm commands to update your 1.0.17/1.0.18 version of alsa to the latest 1.0.20 which should fix any breakage. I don’t recommend that 1.0.20 update unless necessary, as then one could be in the situation where the NEXT kernel update (after the current) could break one’s audio (until there is a further alsa build provided, which usually follows about a week or often sooner after a new kernel is released).
If I was a betting man, I would be no breakage to your audio from the kernel update. In the reboot after the kernel update, you may need to go to the mixer and unmute the master, PCM, or speaker volume.
So IMHO you are safe to update to the latest kernel wrt your audio and graphics.
Just keep in mind the caution I provided re: /boot/grub/menu.lst.
Thanks again. That’s very encouraging. The most important thing is that the system runs with the new kernel in the sense of processing mail and serving websites. As for the audio: this is not required to run for production use and I have all the time I may need to fix it later.
I gave my heart a push and did the update from 126.96.36.199-9-pae to kernel 188.8.131.52-0.1-pae today. menu.lst was looking good and I launched the reboot. The system came up ok. Video and sound are working (not even a volume adjustment required).