module-assistant - manage kernel modules packages
] [ -k source/headers
] [ -l kernel versions
is the command-line tool for handling module-source
packages that have been prepared for the Debian distribution. It helps users
to build and install module package(s) easily for one or more custom kernels.
Unless the -h
, or --help
option is given, one of the commands
below should be present to invoke a function explicitly. If no (or no valid)
command is specified and the dialog tool is available, a simple graphical user
interface will pop up and guide you trough the available functionality.
NOTE: don't even think about using some random linux-source-x.y.z package
contents (or linux-x.y.z tarball from the Internet) to specify the kernel
source for your currently running kernel. Don't!
Those source is not
exactly what have been used to build the running kernel and its configuration
most likely does not match yours. You need the configured kernel source
directory or at least the derived linux-headers-... package containing the
kernel configuration for the exact kernel version (complete version string).
If you do not understand anything of the above, run "m-a prepare"
and/or look at the description and contents of some linux-headers-... package.
Please run the module-assistant prepare
command once before you do
For some packages, linux-headers (reduced source) is not enough. You will have
the choice to run a completely customized kernel, or to recreate the source
that have been used to build the current one. The fakesource
may be useful, see below.
In order to configure a kernel source properly, you need to make sure that the
file version.h is generated. To get it, configure the options as usual (
etc.) and run make dep
(for kernel 2.4.x) or
(for newer ones).
Most commands require a specification of the package names that they should be
applied on. pkg
can be a single word (package name) or multiple names.
The word all
will be expanded to the list of all available packages,
the word alli
to the list of currently installed (source) packages and
the word allu
will be expanded to the list of packages that seem to be
installed and unpacked in the base source directory. If a source package with
the given name is not available, module-assistant
) will extend the package name with the popular suffixes like
-kernel, -driver, -module, -source and combinations of them.
Multiple commands can be specified in one invocation, eg. " m-a
clean,get,build arla cdfs
" is the short way to write
"module-assistant clean arla-modules-source ; module-assistant clean
cdfs-src ; module-assistant get arla-modules-source cdfs-src ;
module-assistant build arla-modules-source cdfs-src" (or similar).
If you do not like the dialog/whiptail GUI, feel free to use the -t
switch to disable it.
- update is used to resynchronize the version index files
from their sources. This happens with helper scripts provided by the
packages. module-assistant has a default built-in list of the
packages that it should look for but other packages can be registered by
module-assistant if the maintainer adds the helper script.
- Tries to determine the name of the required linux-headers
package (either the one matching the currently running kernel or for the
versions specified with -l), installs it if needed and creates the
/usr/src/linux symlink if needed. Also installs the build-essential
package to ensure that a sane compiler environment is established.
- Experimental function which tries to determine the name of
the required/compatible linux-source package, installs it, modifies the
Makefile to look like the original source and runs configuration routines
as needed. Warning: DO NOT RELY ON THE RESULTING SOURCE. It may be very
different from the original version.
- list | list-available | la
- list-available (abbreviated with la) presents a list of
details about specified packages, including installed version, installable
versions and recently built binary packages. If the package names are
omitted, shows all known packages. With -v, prints long package
- list-installed | li
- Synonym to list alli. Acts like list-available but limits
the list to the installed source packages.
- Synonym to list -s. Looks for locally compiled packages
first and (if none found) searches for alternative installation candidates
- get followed by the package list installs the package
source, downloading source packages when needed.
- build is followed by one or more source packages that
should be built. It chooses the kernel source appropriate for the
currently running kernel unless different directories have been specified.
If the build fails, look for the most recent log file in /var/cache/modass
(or the user-specified location).
- install is followed by one or more packages desired for
installation. The last built package for the current running kernel is
- auto-install | a-i
- auto-install is followed by one or more packages desired
for installation. It will run prepare to configure your system to build
packages, get the package source, try to build it for the current kernel
and install it. You can use alli or allu shortcuts to select all installed
modules source packages or only those that have been unpacked before
(similar to the make-kpkg tool normally does, looking in $MODULE_LOC)
- auto-build | a-b
- like auto-install but does not install the package
- clean clears the build directories of the kernel
- purge clears the information cache of a source package and
removes all binary packages locally built from it (that module-assistant
knows about). USE WITH CARE!
- Show pure build/install/update logs, no progress bars.
- The kernel source directories to be used for builds. You
can specify multiple directories with multiple options or separated by
commas or line separators (e.g using -k "`echo
/usr/src/linux-headers-*`" ). The kernel versions detected in
this directories are automatically added to the list of target kernel
versions (see --kvers-list for details).
- List of kernel version strings (as in KVERS) to act on. If
omitted, the version string of the currently running kernel is inserted.
If --kernel-dir specifies additional source directories, the kernel
versions that belong to them will be inserted too.
The locations of the kernel source (or headers) that belong to this kernel
versions are either detected by a lookup in the "usual"
locations on Linux systems, or they must be specified with the
- Shows a bit more information, like full paths of the binary
- If a package that is to be generated does already exist in
the target directory (maybe in on older version), -n prevents from
building the package again.
The default behaviour is to skip when exactly the same file (with the same
filename) is to be generated as the one that already exists, and the new
filename could be detected before starting the build process (depends on
the module package).
- Never look for target file (in another version) and force a
build. For the get command, download a newer version of a package even if
it is already installed.
- All relevant environment variables with paths will be
redirected to new directories under the one specified with this
- When the package build was not successful, just continue
with other candidates. By default, module-assistant will suggest to
examine the build log. This option may also modify the behaviour of dpkg
and apt-get to reduce the need for human interaction and install build
dependencies as needed.
- Try to not unpack twice. The option needs to be also
specified when the package is being unpacked for the first time.
Experimental option, don't rely on it.
- Never unpack the source tarball. Useful after manual
manipulation of module source.
- Suppress some of the noisy messages during the
- A replacement command for superuser commands to be used
instead of sudo.
- See search command for details.
- Prints the usage overview.
You can export the following environment variables to modify the behaviour of
the build scripts. Some packages may ignore them or interpret them
- KPKG_DEST_DIR specify the target directory where the
resulting Debian package should be installed into. However, many packages
ignore this variable and install the file into the directory above the
kernel source directory or above the current directory.
- KERNELDIRS specifies or extends the list of kernel
source/header directory which m-a should build modules for. See
/-k/-Option for details.
- If SIGNCHANGES is set, .changes files will be generated
(calling kdist_image rule instead of kdist) and debsign (or gpg or pgp)
will be executed to sign the changes.
- KMAINT | DEBFULLNAME | DEBNAME
- Specifies the realname of the person building the package
(interesting for .changes file only)
- KEMAIL | DEBEMAIL
- Specifies the email address of the person building the
package (interesting for .changes file only).
- A different location for the (already extracted) module
source directories. Default is /usr/src/modules.
- A different location for cached data, used by helper
scripts from module-assistant. Default is
- Command to download install packages, to use instead of the
- A different location for module source tarballs. Default is
- Wrapper command to execute command as root. If you are not
root, fakeroot is chosen automatically. This variable must be interpreted
by individual packages so some of them may ignore it. However, you can
still run module-assistant inside of the ROOT_CMD wrapper.
can work without being root. However you won't be able
to use apt-get or dpkg to install the packages, and you cannot write to
on a normal Debian system. So the commands are
for regular users. However, if the sudo program is installed, it will be
invoked for apt-get and dpkg operations. All remaining commands except of
require additional environment variables to move the target paths
to locations writable for the user. They all can be trimmed to a certain
location (a writable directory) using the -u
- List of helper scripts shipped with the module-assistant
- Helper scripts installed by other packages.
See the module-assistant bug page
>. If you wish to report
a bug in module-assistant, please use the reportbug(1)
- various errors during the build process
- problem with permissions
- fixable error after user intervention
Quicklist (fast output without details)
Integration into APT and/or into the init system
"Aggressive" debianisation using the templates set (to generate a
package with guessed name from any source that looks like being compatible
with kernel 2.6 build system)
Automatic transformation of kernel sources to generate .udeb packages
Module-Assistant was written by Eduard Bloch <email@example.com> for the