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Date:      Thu, 10 Dec 2009 09:12:26 +0000
From:      Matthew Seaman <m.seaman@infracaninophile.co.uk>
To:        David Naylor <naylor.b.david@gmail.com>
Cc:        freebsd-questions@freebsd.org
Subject:   Re: Monolithic vs Modular Kernel?
Message-ID:  <4B20BB7A.7050502@infracaninophile.co.uk>
In-Reply-To: <200912100939.07116.naylor.b.david@gmail.com>
References:  <200912100939.07116.naylor.b.david@gmail.com>

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David Naylor wrote:
> Hi,
>=20
> What are the pros and cons of building a stripped down kernel and loadi=
ng all=20
> the missing parts via modules (such that you end up with the same=20
> functionality as generic kernel) vs having a kernel with all the module=
s built=20
> in?=20

Flexibility mainly.  The default kernel is pretty highly modularized nowa=
days,
meaning that it doesn't need to be enormous but can still support most ha=
rdware
encountered in the field.  Even so, it still contains some wired-in code =
to=20
support certain classes of functionality that will not be necessary on al=
l=20
systems. =20

In general, there's not a huge benefit compared to the inconvenience to b=
e gained=20
from aggressively stripping down your kernel nowadays, unless you have a =

particular need for a really minimal system.

> Also, is there anyway to detect if there are hardware without drivers (=
such as=20
> a sound card without any snd_ loaded) and to detect the type of device =
(e.g.=20
> network, usb, sound, graphics)?

Running:

   # pciconf -lv

will show up any devices on the PCI busses without any attached drivers.
Similarly usbconfig(8) will tell you all about attached USB busses and de=
vices.

> Lastly, is there any way to determine what 'modules' a kernel is build =
with?

Examine the kernel configuration file.  If you don't have access to this,=
 you
might be able to extract it from the kernel image if it has been built wi=
th

   options         INCLUDE_CONFIG_FILE

however, AFAIK this isn't the default for GENERIC kernels.=20

	Cheers,

	Matthew

--=20
Dr Matthew J Seaman MA, D.Phil.                       Flat 3
                                                      7 Priory Courtyard
PGP: http://www.infracaninophile.co.uk/pgpkey         Ramsgate
                                                      Kent, CT11 9PW, UK


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