Plans for tomorrow's (20090529) FESCo meeting

Matt Domsch Matt_Domsch at
Sat May 30 18:47:13 UTC 2009

On Fri, May 29, 2009 at 10:32:25AM -0700, Adam Williamson wrote:
> On Fri, 2009-05-29 at 10:00 -0700, Toshio Kuratomi wrote:
> > On 05/29/2009 09:47 AM, Adam Williamson wrote:
> > 
> > > There is a solution to this particular point, which it seems many who
> > > use kmods don't seem to know about: akmods. Install the akmod for your
> > > kmod, and if the pre-built kmod hasn't yet been updated when a new
> > > kernel is released, the akmod handles the problem (it gets automatically
> > > built at boot time).
> > > 
> > I've used dkms (the infrastructural package is in Fedora although
> > there's no modules in fedora to use it).  It seems similar to what you
> > describe.
> Yes, vanilla DKMS works like this: it doesn't use pre-built binaries at
> all, it's just about wrapping the module source up into a convenient
> lump and having a bit of infrastructure to automatically compile it
> during startup if appropriate.

If you have a package that contains pre-built binaries, DKMS will
happily use those.  We use that model on the "Enterprise" distros all
the time.
> > > That doesn't address all the other problems, of course, which are valid.
> > > And it doesn't help if the new kernel happens to have changed the
> > > interface somehow so the module source doesn't build any more. But there
> > 
> > This ended up being the blocker for my personal use.  For FESCo, I
> > remember the requirement that gcc and other build tools were needed on
> > an end user system was a big issue.
> Yeah, that's the drawback to a pure source approach.

> Mandriva took DKMS and hacked it up so that it creates both pre-built
> binaries and 'source' packages (much like kmods and akmods in the kmod
> system), so that if you have a system without the build chain things
> will work as long as you're running a supported kernel and the updates
> are in sync, but if you have the whole build chain, the 'source' DKMS
> package covers you if you're running a different kernel or whatever. RPM
> Fusion does much the same by providing both kmods and akmods.

I do wish MDV would send such patches upstream...  I always had to go
hunting for patches.

FWIW, the Linux Foundation Driver Backport Working Group [1] has
standardized on using DKMS as a developer tool for building
[a]kmod-like packages (KMPs in Novell terminology).  But of course,
that's still targeted at backporting fixes / drivers to "older"
kernels in the "stable" Enterprise distros.  DKMS and related tools
really don't make sense for use as a delivery mechanism for Fedora and
other rapidly changing non-commercial-supported distributions .
Different target audience, different expected experience.


Matt Domsch
Technology Strategist, Dell Office of the CTO &

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