11.5. Hardware Detection with the Help of hwinfo

hwinfo can detect the hardware of your system and select the drivers needed to run this hardware. Get a small introduction to this command with hwinfo --help. If you, for example, need information about your SCSI devices, use the command hwinfo --scsi.

All this information is also available in YaST in the hardware information module.

11.5.1. Handling Modules

The following commands are available:


insmod loads the requested module after searching for it in a subdirectory of /lib/modules/<version>. It is better, however, to use modprobe rather than insmod.


Unloads the requested module. This is only possible if this module is no longer needed. For example, the isofs module cannot be unloaded while a CD is still mounted.


Creates the file modules.dep in /lib/modules/<version> that defines the dependencies of all the modules. This is necessary to ensure that all dependent modules are loaded with the selected ones. This file will be built after the system is started if it does not exist.


Loads or unloads a given module while taking into account dependencies of this module. This command is extremely powerful and can be used for a lot of things (e.g., probing all modules of a given type until one is successfully loaded). In contrast to insmod, modprobe checks /etc/modprobe.conf and therefore is the preferred method of loading modules. For detailed information about this topic, refer to the corresponding man page.


Shows which modules are currently loaded as well as how many other modules are using them. Modules started by the kernel daemon are tagged with autoclean. This label denotes that these modules will automatically be removed once they reach their idle time limit.


Shows module information.

11.5.2. /etc/modprobe.conf

The loading of modules is affected by the files /etc/modprobe.conf and /etc/modprobe.conf.local and the directory /etc/modprobe.d. See man modprobe.conf. Parameters for modules that access hardware directly must be entered in this file. Such modules may need system-specific options (e.g., CD-ROM driver or network driver). The parameters used here are described in the kernel sources. Install the package kernel-source and read the documentation in the directory /usr/src/linux/Documentation.

11.5.3. Kmod — the Kernel Module Loader

The kernel module loader is the most elegant way to use modules. Kmod performs background monitoring and makes sure the required modules are loaded by modprobe as soon as the respective functionality is needed in the kernel.

To use Kmod, activate the option Kernel module loader (CONFIG_KMOD) in the kernel configuration. Kmod is not designed to unload modules automatically; in view of today's RAM capacities, the potential memory savings would be marginal. For reasons of performance, monolithic kernels may be more suitable for servers that are used for special tasks and need only a few drivers.