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Linux Annoyances for Geeks by Michael Jang

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I Need to Add a Custom Kernel Module

Sometimes, the module associated with an item of your hardware is not included with your distribution. That's an annoyance every Linux geek should know how to fix.

In "My Wireless Card Works on Another Operating System, but Not Linux" in Chapter 5, we stressed the importance of knowing the make, the model, and, in many cases, the chipset associated with each hardware component. With this information, you can identify available Linux modules associated with your hardware.

To find the right hardware module, try the following in order:

  1. Check loaded modules. If the lsmod command shows a module for your hardware, it has been detected and installed by your distribution.

  2. Check compiled modules. If you're lucky, the right module for your hardware is already available in your /lib/modules/`uname -r` directory.

  3. Check the kernel source code. If it contains the module for your hardware, the kernel probably supports it and you can compile and install the module yourself.

  4. Check your hardware manufacturer. Increasing numbers of hardware vendors support Linux. You may be able to download drivers direct from the manufacturer's web site, just as you might download Microsoft Windows drivers.

  5. Check for experimental drivers. As discussed in the annoyances in Chapter 5, experimental Linux drivers are often available for testing. While these are not "production-ready," they may work well enough for your needs.

I'll describe what you do if one the first four steps yields results. ...

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