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Old 05-03-2005, 11:03 AM   #1
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Counting Device Drivers In A Distribution Of Linux

I'm currently conducting research on the amount of device drivers that are being shipped with each distribution of Linux. This requires a download and install of several distributions of Linux, one at a time -- Big Fun! My goal is to count and list all the different device drivers that come with a distribution regardless of whether or not a device driver is used.

A friend suggests a script:

find /lib/modules/`uname r`/kernel name *.ko | wc l
which is really useful in 2.6 kernels a slight mod will work for 2.4 drivers. Another script another friend suggests:

find /lib/modules/`uname r`/kernel/drivers name *.ko | wc l

Rpm lpq <kernel_rpm>.rpm | grep /kernel/drivers | grep \.ko | wc l
The problem is that we don't know what it will miss.

Can anyone suggest a better way to get the information we are after? I am only interested in device drivers.

Many thanks,

Last edited by tacoshell; 05-03-2005 at 11:58 AM.
Old 05-03-2005, 01:18 PM   #2
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Well I think a more meaningful question would be, how many device drivers outside of the ones built into the kernel does each distribution come with. You see, the majority of /lib/modules/<kernel-version>/kernel/drivers/ are things that are included in the vanilla kernel source and thus every distribution will have them. You also have to be careful that there isn't a 1-1 correspondence between a kernel module and a driver. For instance, to support my sound card I currently have 13 different modules loaded. For my wireless nic I have 4 loaded, and so on. You will also miss device drivers that are statically compiled. For instance, Distribution A might go with a completely modular design, and not build even the most basic support into the kernel (like say, the basic generic IDE controller). Distribution B, however, builds some of the basic support statically so they don't need and initrd system. Distribution A might have far more .ko files but support not one single piece of hardware not supported by Distribution B. You also run into the problem that some distributions are smart enough not to install a driver during install that you don't have a use for, so while the driver is included in the distribution you won't find it...

Sorry, I guess this probably wasn't helpful at all in solving your problem... but if your goal is to judge out of the box hardware support your going to have quite a lot of work ahead of you.
Old 05-03-2005, 02:27 PM   #3
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Originally posted by jtshaw Sorry, I guess this probably wasn't helpful at all in solving your problem... but if your goal is to judge out of the box hardware support your going to have quite a lot of work ahead of you.
This is the stage where we set our scope and proceed from there. So this is helpful. Hoping to hear from others on this. We don't want to overlook the obvious at the very least.


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