Loadable Kernel Modules
Loadable kernel modules allow the system administrator to dynamically add and remove functionality from a running system. This ability also helps software developers to develop new parts of the kernel without constantly rebooting to test their changes.
Various types of modules can be loaded into the system. There are several defined module types, listed below, which can be added to the system in a predefined way. In addition, there is a generic type, for which the module itself handles loading and unloading.
LKM interface is used by performing
ioctl(2) calls on the /dev/lkm device.
Normally all operations involving Loadable Kernel Modules are handled by the
modstat(8) programs. Users should never have to interact with
/dev/lkm directly. The loading and unloading of
modules is also dependent on the system
- System Call modules
- System calls may be replaced by loading new ones via the
LKMinterface. All system calls may be replaced, but special care should be taken with the ioctl(2) system call, as it is used to load and unload modules.
When a system call module is unloaded, the system call which was replaced by the loadable module is returned to its rightful place in the system call table.
- Virtual File System modules
- Virtual file systems may be added via the
- Device Driver modules
- New block and character device drivers may be loaded into the system with
LKM. The major problem with loading a device driver is that the driver's device nodes must exist for the devices to be accessed. They are usually created by instructing modload(8) to run an appropriate program when the driver has been successfully loaded.
- Execution Interpreters
- Execution interpreters allow the loading and execution of binaries which are normally not usable by the operating system.
- Miscellaneous modules
- Miscellaneous modules are modules for which there are not currently well-defined or well-used interfaces for extension. The user is expected to write their own loader to manipulate whatever kernel data structures necessary to enable and disable the new module when it is loaded and unloaded.
- File containing definitions of module types.
- Example source code implementing several of the modules types.
securelevel(7), modload(8), modstat(8), modunload(8)
LKM facility was designed to be
similar in functionality to the loadable kernel modules facility provided by
Terrence R. Lambert ⟨firstname.lastname@example.org⟩
Loading a bogus module is likely to kill your machine.