[Fedora-packaging] Kernel modules packaged for dkms

Thorsten Leemhuis fedora at leemhuis.info
Mon Oct 9 15:38:34 UTC 2006

Matthias Saou schrieb:
> Regarding kernel modules, as many, I got tired of :
> 1) Packaging them as binary rpms, tracking new kernels to release new
> packages (it's almost impossible to track Rawhide btw).

Well, the plan always was to be: Have support for kmod in the buildsys
and automate these things. Due to discussing kmod in the past again and
some other stuff it was never implemented. Now that we get more kmod in
Extras we should driver this forward again.

> 2) Endless discussions about what packaging method is the best, upgrade
> paths, ugliness of versions inside names, common vs. kernel specific
> bits etc. etc.

Including this mail ;-)

> So I decided to go for the dkms approach to install 3rd party kernel
> modules, and things got so much simpler. It's pretty obvious : If one
> can issue a simple "make" to get a required module, why go through so
> much complexity for rpm packages?

Well, with that argument we could stop our work on Fedora and RPM and
move over to Gentoo ;-)

Further: That argument  ("can issue a simple "make"") in parts also
holds true for dkms itself, too. In the beginning (2.4 days) dkms was a
nice idea because it easily allowed to compile modules for different
kernels. But exactly that function can be done by all 2.6 kernels
without dkms if they are shipped properly. Sure, dkms can do a lot more
these days, but I don't think we need most of it.

> There are two possible discussions which can start here :
> 1) What do Fedora packagers think of dkms?

We looked at it before we started the kmod effort and choose not to use
it. I don't see any reasons why this should have changed in between.

> Up to now, no kernel modules
> packages using dkms have been released in Extras, nor in 3rd party
> repositories AFAIK. Maybe there are some good reasons, in which case
> I'm interested in knowing them.

Well, dkms kernel-modules are not directly forbidden (at least it's not
written down somewhere), but we choose to use kmod for kernel-module
packages -- so they are not allowed AFAICS.

And I don't think that we should change this as it helps people not much
if we put two or more competing standards in Fedora Core/Extras.

> [...]

I'm not in general against rebuilding modules on the users system -- but
it should be a option (e.g. for rawhide users), not the norm. I actually
implemented a small script once that did what most users want -- simply
rebuild the kmod-foo.srpm during boot up for the running kernel. I can
work on it again if people are interested. It did what we are interested
in in 5k -- dkms does a lot more what we don't need in 100k.


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