modprobe is a Linux program originally written by Rusty Russell and used to add a loadable kernel module (LKM) to the Linux kernel or to remove a LKM from the kernel. It is commonly used indirectly: udev relies upon modprobe to load drivers for automatically detected hardware.
As of 2010[update] modprobe is distributed as part of the software package "module-init-tools", for Linux kernel version 2.6 and later. It was previously developed as "modutils" for use with Linux versions 2.2.x and 2.4.x. Jon Masters and others maintain module-init-tools.
The modprobe program offers more full-featured "Swiss-army-knife" features than the more basic insmod and rmmod utilities, with the following benefits:
- an ability to make more intuitive decisions about which modules to load
- an awareness of module dependencies, so that when requested to load a module, modprobe adds other required modules first
- the resolution of recursive module dependencies as required
If invoked with no switches, the program by default adds/inserts/installs the named module into the kernel. Root privileges are typically required for these changes.
Any arguments appearing after the module name are passed to the kernel (in addition to any options listed in the configuration file).
In some versions of modprobe, the configuration file is called modprobe.conf, and in others the equivalent is the collection of files called <modulename> in the /etc/modprobe.d directory.
The modprobe program also has more configuration features than other similar utilities. It is possible to define module aliases allowing for some automatic loading of modules. When the kernel requires a module, it actually runs modprobe to request it; however, the kernel has a description of only some module properties (for example, a device major number, or the number of a network protocol), and modprobe does the job of translating that to an actual module name via aliases.
This program also has the ability to run programs before or after loading or unloading a given module; for example, setting the mixer right after loading a sound card module, or uploading the firmware to a device immediately prior to enabling it. Although these actions must be implemented by external programs, modprobe takes care of synchronizing their execution with module loading/unloading.
There are cases where two or more modules both support the same devices, or a module invalidly claims to support a device: the blacklist keyword indicates that all of a particular module's internal aliases are to be ignored.
There are a couple of ways to blacklist a module, and depending on the method used to load it depends on where this is configured.
There are two ways to blacklist a module using modprobe, employing the modprobe.conf system, the first is to use its blacklisting system in /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist:
cat /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist blacklist ieee1394 blacklist ohci1394 blacklist eth1394 blacklist sbp2
An install primitive is the highest priority in the config file and will be used instead of the blacklisting method above, requiring this second method:
cat /etc/modprobe.d/ieee1394 install ieee1394 /bin/true install ohci1394 /bin/true install eth1394 /bin/true install sbp2 /bin/true
Alternately, you can modify /etc/modprobe.conf:
alias sub_module /dev/null alias module_main /dev/null options module_main needed_option=0