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

Dominic Ringuet dringuet at
Wed Mar 30 05:57:00 PDT 2011

On Wed, Mar 30, 2011 at 8:10 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.
> So, how can I find which kernel driver I need?

Until someone more knowledgeable enlighten you further; lsmod is the way to
go. Basically, it will show you what you need compiled into your kernel to
support the hardware present at the time you did your 'lsmod'. For a
starter, it might be a good idea for you to support loadable modules and to
compile as such those drivers that leaves you with an interrogation mark.

Using 'help' from menuconfig will actually help you figure out the driver
name associated with the given module. One more thing helpful from your
generic distro is to try 'dmesg' as it shows the hardware answer when a
specific driver is loaded either as a module or built in the kernel.

For those esoteric drivers you have no clues about; Google is your friend.
First time kernel compilation might not be for the faint of heart but it is
quite educative and gets you more intimate with your hardware. Otherwise,
you could always try 'make oldconfig' to get it magically done but it is not
why we are on LFS. Right?

Lenny is prolly to use an old kernel where module names have changed or been
updated. Both 'dmesg' and 'lsmod' will be more accurate on something
younger. A recent live CD could help you with it.

Don't give up if your first attempt to compile your kernel fails. IMO, the
first time it succeeds is some good moments of self accomplishment.

Good luck,

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