Dynamic Kernel Module Support: From Theory to Practice

DKMS is a framework which allows individual kernel modules to be upgraded without changing your whole kernel. Its primary audience is fourfold: system administrators who want to update a single device driver rather than wait for a new kernel from elsewhere with it included; distribution maintainers, who want to release a single targeted bugfix in between larger scheduled updates; system manufacturers who need single modules changed to support new hardware or to fix bugs, but do not wish to test whole new kernels; and driver developers, who must provide updated device drivers for testing and general use on a wide variety of kernels, as well as submit drivers to kernel.org.

Since OLS2003, DKMS has gone from a good idea to deployed and used. Based on end user feedback, additional features have been added: precompiled module tarball support to speed factory installation; driver disks for Red Hat distributions; 2.6 kernel support; SuSE kernel support. Planned features include cross-architecture build support and additional distribution driver disk methods.

In addition to overviewing DKMS and its features, we explain how to create a dkms.conf file to DKMS-ify your kernel module source.

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