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This page is an introduction and FAQ for Linux kernel modules. It is not intended to replace official documentation (listed at the bottom of the page).

Linux kernel modules

Under Debian, the module can be installed from three different kind of sources:

Automatic loading of modules

If you want to get a module to autoload when a device is accessed you can often add lines to /etc/modules or a file to /etc/modules-load.d/. When the Linux kernel receives a request to open a device file that it does not have capabilities for it issues a request to modprobe for the module 'char-major-n' or 'block-major-n' depending on whether the device is a character or block device, and the device's major number, n.

For example, my sound devices have major number 14, and my sound module is emu10k1 so added the alias below to my /etc/modules-load.d directory.

$ ls -l /dev/dsp
crw-rw----    1 root     audio     14,   3 Jul  5  2000 /dev/dsp

$ cat /etc/modules-load.d
alias char-major-14 emu10k1


This file links specific Linux kernel module names to the service names the kernel knows (aliases).

As a very simple example, it could link the service eth0 to the kernel driver module for the particular Ethernet card you installed in your computer.

The alias directive can be used to give alias names to modules. A line in /etc/modules that look like this:

 alias iso9660 isofs 

makes it possible to write modprobe iso9660 although there is no object file for such module available.

See Also