Kernel config, how to find which kernel driver I need?

Rick Shelton rick.shelton at
Wed Mar 30 05:51:44 PDT 2011

On Wed, Mar 30, 2011 at 6:10 AM, Kuangyu Jing <kuangyujing at> wrote:
> Hi,
> I'm trying to build kernel without module support. But I don't
> know how to find drivers I need.
> i did,
>  * lsmod in another distribution (debian lenny) to find loaded modules
>  * lspci to find devices connect to my PC
> But Device Drivers (kernel menuconfig) has a lot of drivers I don't
> know such as I2C support, something in Serial ATA and Parallel ATA
> drivers, etc.
Many distributions cast a wide net. They ship with kernel configurations that
appeal to as much of the most common hardware as possible.
Copying a kernel config from such a distro is a fair starting point.

> So, how can I find which kernel driver I need?
This might be a fun experience, depending on your attitude.
It involves a combination of things.
You have to research your hardware. Look up the brand and model name
of your motherboard and see how much you can derive from that specification.
This goes hand-in-hand with reading the kernel documentation while configuring.
You have to guess. You have to experiment.
It takes a little effort to get good at it.
Some direction can be found in the system's boot messages; save the output from
dmesg after booting and look through that for driver names.

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