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Because the modprobe command can add or remove more than one module,
due to module dependencies, we need a method of specifying what options
are to be used with those modules. All files underneath the /etc/mod-
probe.d directory which end with the .conf extension specify those
options as required. (the /etc/modprobe.conf file can also be used if
it exists, but that will be removed in a future version). They can also
be used to create convenient aliases: alternate names for a module, or
they can override the normal modprobe behavior altogether for those
with special requirements (such as inserting more than one module).
Note that module and alias names (like other module names) can have -
or _ in them: both are interchangable throughout all the module com-
The format of and files under modprobe.d and /etc/modprobe.conf is sim-
ple: one command per line, with blank lines and lines starting with '#'
ignored (useful for adding comments). A '\' at the end of a line causes
it to continue on the next line, which makes the file a bit neater.
alias wildcard modulename
This allows you to give alternate names for a module. For exam-
ple: "alias my-mod really_long_modulename" means you can use
"modprobe my-mod" instead of "modprobe really_long_modulename".
You can also use shell-style wildcards, so "alias my-mod*
really_long_modulename" means that "modprobe my-mod-something"
has the same effect. You can't have aliases to other aliases
(that way lies madness), but aliases can have options, which
will be added to any other options.
Note that modules can also contain their own aliases, which you
can see using modinfo. These aliases are used as a last resort
(ie. if there is no real module, install, remove, or alias com-
mand in the configuration).
options modulename option...
This command allows you to add options to the module modulename
(which might be an alias) every time it is inserted into the
kernel: whether directly (using modprobe modulename or because
the module being inserted depends on this module.
All options are added together: they can come from an option for
the module itself, for an alias, and on the command line.
install modulename command...
This is the most powerful primitive: it tells modprobe to run
your command instead of inserting the module in the kernel as
normal. The command can be any shell command: this allows you to
do any kind of complex processing you might wish. For example,
if the module "fred" works better with the module "barney"
already installed (but it doesn't depend on it, so modprobe
This can be useful because users expect "modprobe fred opt=1" to
pass the "opt=1" arg to the module, even if there's an install
command in the configuration file. So our above example becomes
"install fred /sbin/modprobe barney; /sbin/modprobe --ignore-
install fred $CMDLINE_OPTS"
remove modulename command...
This is similar to the install command above, except it is
invoked when "modprobe -r" is run. The removal counterparts to
the two examples above would be: "remove fred /sbin/modprobe -r
--ignore-remove fred && /sbin/modprobe -r barney", and "remove
probe-ethernet /sbin/modprobe -r eepro100 || /sbin/modprobe -r
Modules can contain their own aliases: usually these are aliases
describing the devices they support, such as "pci:123...". These
"internal" aliases can be overridden by normal "alias" keywords,
but 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 that particular mod-
ule's internal aliases are to be ignored.
This manual page Copyright 2004, Rusty Russell, IBM Corporation.