Dynamic Kernel Module Support

From ArchWiki
Revision as of 07:35, 29 April 2017 by Lahwaacz.bot (talk | contribs) (update Pkg/AUR templates)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

From Wikipedia:

Dynamic Kernel Module Support (DKMS) is a program/framework that enables generating Linux kernel modules whose sources generally reside outside the kernel source tree. The concept is to have DKMS modules automatically rebuilt when a new kernel is installed.

This means that a user does not have to wait for a company, project, or package maintainer to release a new version of the module. Since the introduction of Pacman#Hooks, the rebuild of the modules is handled automatically when a kernel is upgraded.


Install the dkms package and the headers for your kernel (for the standard kernel this would be linux-headers).

A good number of modules that lie outside the kernel source tree have a DKMS variant; a few are hosted in the official repositories, most are found in the AUR. Listed below are a few of the software packages that have a DKMS variant with additional links to dedicated sections where available:


Though the rebuild of the DKMS modules is usually seamless during a kernel upgrade, it may still happen that the rebuild fails. You should pay extra attention to pacman's output! This applies in particular if the system relies on the DKMS module to boot successfully and/or if you use DKMS with a custom kernel not in the Official repositories.

To deal with changes in the kernel, fix bugs, or add necessary features consider upgrading the DKMS package before rebooting.


Usage for invoking DKMS manually.

Tab-completion is available by doing:

# source /usr/share/bash-completion/completions/dkms

List modules

To list the current status of modules, versions and kernels within the tree:

# dkms status

Rebuild modules

Rebuild all modules for the currently running kernel:

# dkms autoinstall

or for a specific kernel:

# dkms autoinstall -k 3.16.4-1-ARCH

To build a specific module for the currently running kernel:

# dkms install -m nvidia -v 334.21

or simply:

# dkms install nvidia/334.21

To build a module for all kernels:

# dkms install nvidia/334.21 --all

Remove modules

To remove a module (old ones are not automatically removed):

# dkms remove -m nvidia -v 331.49 --all

or simply:

# dkms remove nvidia/331.49 --all

If the package dkms is removed the information regarding previous module build files is lost. If this is the case, go through /usr/lib/modules/KERNELVERSION-ARCH and delete or files and directories no longer in use.

DKMS package creation

Here are some guidelines to follow when creating a DKMS package.

Package name

DKMS packages are named by appending "-dkms" to the original package name.

The variable $_pkgname is often used below $pkgname to describe the package name minus the "-dkms" suffix (e.g. _pkgname=${pkgname%-*}). This is useful to help keep similarities between the original package PKGBUILD and the DKMS variant.


Dependencies should be inherited from the original version with dkms added and linux-headers removed (as it is listed by the dkms package as optional).

Build source location

Build sources should go into (this is the default build directory for DKMS):


In the package directory, a DKMS configuration tells DKMS how to build the module (dkms.conf), including the variables PACKAGE_NAME and PACKAGE_VERSION.

  • PACKAGE_NAME - the actual project name (usually $_pkgname or $_pkgbase).
  • PACKAGE_VERSION - by convention this should also be the $pkgver.


The sources can be patched either directly in the PKGBUILD or through dkms.conf.

Module loading automatically in .install

Loading and unloading modules should be left to the user. Consider the possibility a module may crash when loaded.

namcap output

namcap (which attempts to check for common mistakes and non-standard decisions in a package) is good practice to use at least once on any package; however, it has not yet been updated for DKMS specific guidelines.

For example, DKMS uses /usr/src/ by default, but Namcap believes this to be a non-standard directory, a little contrary to its reference.


Here is an example package that edits dkms.conf according to the package name and version.


# Maintainer: foo <foo(at)gmail(dot)com>
# Contributor: bar <bar(at)gmai(dot)com>

pkgdesc="The Amazing kernel modules (DKMS)"
arch=('i686' 'x86_64')
md5sums=(use 'updpkgsums')

build() {
  cd ${_pkgbase}-${pkgver}

  # Patch
  patch -p1 -i "${srcdir}"/linux-3.14.patch

  # Build
  msg2 "Starting ./configure..."

  msg2 "Starting make..."

package() {
  # Install
  msg2 "Starting make install..."
  make DESTDIR="${pkgdir}" install

  # Copy dkms.conf
  install -Dm644 dkms.conf "${pkgdir}"/usr/src/${_pkgbase}-${pkgver}/dkms.conf

  # Set name and version
  sed -e "s/@_PKGBASE@/${_pkgbase}/" \
      -e "s/@PKGVER@/${pkgver}/" \
      -i "${pkgdir}"/usr/src/${_pkgbase}-${pkgver}/dkms.conf

  # Copy sources (including Makefile)
  cp -r ${_pkgbase}/* "${pkgdir}"/usr/src/${_pkgbase}-${pkgver}/


MAKE[0]="make --uname_r=$kernelver"
CLEAN="make clean"


Tango-inaccurate.pngThe factual accuracy of this article or section is disputed.Tango-inaccurate.png

Reason: Those actions where moved to pacman hooks AFAIK. (Discuss in Talk:Dynamic Kernel Module Support#)

Instead of depmod now dkms install can be used (it depends on dkms build, which depends on dkms add):

# old version (without -$pkgrel): ${1%%-*}
# new version (without -$pkgrel): ${2%%-*}

post_install() {
    dkms install amazing/${1%%-*}

pre_upgrade() {
    pre_remove ${2%%-*}

post_upgrade() {
    post_install ${1%%-*}

pre_remove() {
    dkms remove amazing/${1%%-*} --all
Tip: To keep DKMS packages closer to their non-DKMS counterparts: avoid cluttering up package files with DKMS-specific stuff (e.g. version numbers that need updating).

See also