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       module-assistant - manage kernel modules packages


       module-assistant  [  -fihnqstv  ]  [ -k source/headers directory ] [ -l
       kernel versions ] { update | search | prepare | auto-install |  list  |
       list-available | list-installed | auto-unpacked | get | build | install
       | clean | purge | fakesource } [ pkg ... ]

       m-a ...


       module-assistant is the command-line tool  for  handling  module-source
       packages  that have been prepared for the Debian distribution. It helps
       users to build and install module package(s) easily  for  one  or  more
       custom kernels.

       Unless  the  -h,  or  --help option is given, one of the commands below
       should be present to invoke a function explicitly. If no (or no  valid)
       command  is  specified  and  the  dialog  tool  is  available, a simple
       graphical user interface will pop up and guide you trough the available

       NOTE:  don’t  even  think  about  using  some random linux-source-x.y.z
       package contents (or linux-x.y.z tarball from the Internet) to  specify
       the  kernel  source  for  your  currently  running kernel. Dont! Those
       source is not exactly what have been used to build the  running  kernel
       and  its  configuration  most likely does not match yours. You need the
       configured kernel source directory  or  at  least  the  derived  linux-
       headers-...  package  containing the kernel configuration for the exact
       kernel version (complete version string).  If  you  do  not  understand
       anything of the above, run "m-a prepare" and/or look at the description
       and contents of some linux-headers-... package.  Please run the module-
       assistant prepare command once before you do anything else.

       For  some  packages,  linux-headers (reduced source) is not enough. You
       will have the choice to run  a  completely  customized  kernel,  or  to
       recreate  the  source that have been used to build the current one. The
       fakesource function may be useful, see below.

       In order to configure a kernel source properly, you need to  make  sure
       that  the file version.h is generated. To get it, configure the options
       as usual (make menuconfig etc.)  and run make dep (for kernel 2.4.x) or
       make prepare (for newer ones).


       Most  commands  require  a specification of the package names that they
       should be applied on.  pkg can be  a  single  word  (package  name)  or
       multiple  names.  The  word  all  will  be  expanded to the list of all
       available packages, the word alli to the list  of  currently  installed
       (source)  packages  and  the  word allu will be expanded to the list of
       packages that seem to be installed and  unpacked  in  the  base  source
       directory.   If  a source package with the given name is not available,
       module-assistant (abbreviated: m-a) will extend the package  name  with
       the  popular  suffixes  like  -kernel,  -driver,  -module,  -source and
       combinations of them.

       Multiple  commands  can  be  specified  in  one  invocation,  eg.  "m-a
       clean,get,build  arla cdfs" is the short way to write "module-assistant
       clean arla-modules-source ; module-assistant clean cdfs-src  ;  module-
       assistant  get  arla-modules-source  cdfs-src  ; module-assistant build
       arla-modules-source cdfs-src" (or similar).

       If you do not like the dialog/whiptail GUI, feel free  to  use  the  -t
       switch to disable it.

       update update  is  used  to  resynchronize the version index files from
              their sources. This happens with helper scripts provided by  the
              packages.  module-assistant  has  a default built-in list of the
              packages that it should look  for  but  other  packages  can  be
              registered by module-assistant if the maintainer adds the helper

              Tries to  determine  the  name  of  the  required  linux-headers
              package (either the one matching the currently running kernel or
              for the versions specified with -l), installs it if  needed  and
              creates  the /usr/src/linux symlink if needed. Also installs the
              build-essential  package  to  ensure  that   a   sane   compiler
              environment is established.

              Experimental  function  which tries to determine the name of the
              required/compatible linux-source package, installs it,  modifies
              the   Makefile  to  look  like  the  original  source  and  runs
              configuration routines as needed. Warning: DO NOT  RELY  ON  THE
              RESULTING  SOURCE.  It  may  be very different from the original

       list | list-available | la
              list-available (abbreviated with la) presents a list of  details
              about   specified   packages,   including   installed   version,
              installable versions and recently built binary packages. If  the
              package  names  are  omitted, shows all known packages. With -v,
              prints long package paths.

       list-installed | li
              Synonym to list alli. Acts like list-available  but  limits  the
              list to the installed source packages.

       search Synonym  to  list  -s. Looks for locally compiled packages first
              and  (if  none  found)  searches  for  alternative  installation
              candidates with apt-cache.

       get    get  followed  by  the package list installs the package source,
              downloading source packages when needed.

       build  build is followed by one or more source packages that should  be
              built.   It  chooses  the  kernel  source  appropriate  for  the
              currently running kernel unless different directories have  been
              specified. If the build fails, look for the most recent log file
              in /var/cache/modass (or the user-specified location).

              install  is  followed  by  one  or  more  packages  desired  for
              installation.  The  last  built  package for the current running
              kernel is chosen.

       auto-install | a-i
              auto-install is followed by one or  more  packages  desired  for
              installation.  It  will  run prepare to configure your system to
              build packages, get the package source, try to build it for  the
              current  kernel  and  install  it.   You  can  use  alli or allu
              shortcuts to select all installed  modules  source  packages  or
              only  those that have been unpacked before (similar to the make-
              kpkg tool normally does, looking in $MODULE_LOC)

       auto-build | a-b
              like auto-install but does not install the package immediately

       clean  clean clears the build directories of the kernel packages.

       purge  purge clears the information  cache  of  a  source  package  and
              removes  all binary packages locally built from it (that module-
              assistant knows about). USE WITH CARE!



              Show pure build/install/update logs, no progress bars.


              The kernel source directories to be used  for  builds.  You  can
              specify  multiple directories with multiple options or separated
              by  commas   or   line   separators   (e.g   using   -k   "echo
              /usr/src/linux-headers-*"  ).   The kernel versions detected in
              this directories are automatically added to the list  of  target
              kernel versions (see --kvers-list for details).


              List  of  kernel  version  strings  (as  in KVERS) to act on. If
              omitted, the version string of the currently running  kernel  is
              inserted.    If   --kernel-dir   specifies   additional   source
              directories, the kernel versions that belong  to  them  will  be
              inserted too.

              The  locations  of the kernel source (or headers) that belong to
              this kernel versions are either detected  by  a  lookup  in  the
              "usual"  locations  on  Linux systems, or they must be specified
              with the --kernel-dir option.


              Shows a bit more information, like  full  paths  of  the  binary


              If  a  package that is to be generated does already exist in the
              target directory (maybe in on older version), -n  prevents  from
              building the package again.

              The  default  behaviour  is  to  skip when exactly the same file
              (with the same filename) is to be  generated  as  the  one  that
              already  exists,  and  the new filename could be detected before
              starting the build process (depends on the module package).


              Never look for target file (in  another  version)  and  force  a
              build.   For  the  get  command,  download  a newer version of a
              package even if it is already installed.


              All relevant environment variables with paths will be redirected
              to new directories under the one specified with this option.


              When  the  package  build was not successful, just continue with
              other candidates. By default, module-assistant will  suggest  to
              examine the build log. This option may also modify the behaviour
              of dpkg and apt-get to reduce the need for human interaction and
              install build dependencies as needed.


              Try  to  not unpack twice. The option needs to be also specified
              when  the  package  is  being  unpacked  for  the  first   time.
              Experimental option, don’t rely on it.


              Never   unpack   the   source   tarball.  Usefull  after  manual
              manipulation of module source.


              Suppress some of the noisy messages during the processing.


              A replacement command for superuser commands to be used  instead
              of sudo.


              See search command for details.


       --help Prints the usage overview.


       You  can  export  the  following  environment  variables  to modify the
       behaviour of the build  scripts.  Some  packages  may  ignore  them  or
       interpret them differently.

              KPKG_DEST_DIR  specify  the target directory where the resulting
              Debian package should be installed into. However, many  packages
              ignore  this  variable  and  install the file into the directory
              above  the  kernel  source  directory  or  above   the   current

              KERNELDIRS specifies or extends the list of kernel source/header
              directory which m-a should build modules  for.  See  /-k/-Option
              for details.

              If SIGNCHANGES is set, .changes files will be generated (calling
              kdist_image rule instead of kdist) and debsign (or gpg  or  pgp)
              will be executed to sign the changes.

              Specifies  the  realname  of  the  person  building  the package
              (interesting for .changes file only)

              Specifies the email address of the person building  the  package
              (interesting for .changes file only).

              A  different  location for the (already extracted) module source
              directories. Default is /usr/src/modules.

              A different location for cached data,  used  by  helper  scripts
              from module-assistant. Default is /var/cache/modass.

              A  different  location  for  module  source tarballs. Default is

              Wrapper command to execute command as root. If you are not root,
              fakeroot   is   chosen  automatically.  This  variable  must  be
              interpreted by individual packages so some of  them  may  ignore
              it.  However,  you  can still run module-assistant inside of the
              ROOT_CMD wrapper.


       module-assistant can work without being root. However you won’t be able
       to use apt-get or dpkg to install the packages, and you cannot write to
       /var/cache/modass on a normal Debian system. So the commands  are  get,
       install, auto-install and prepare are taboo for regular users. However,
       if the sudo program is installed, it will be invoked  for  apt-get  and
       dpkg  operations.   All  remaining  commands  except  of  list  require
       additional environment variables to move the target paths to  locations
       writable for the user. They all can be trimmed to a certain location (a
       writable directory) using the -u switch.


              List  of  helper  scripts  shipped  with  the   module-assistant

              Helper scripts installed by other packages.


       make-kpkg(1), /usr/share/doc/module-assistant/README


       See           the           module-assistant          bug          page
       <URL:>.   If  you  wish   to
       report  a bug in module-assistant, please use the reportbug(1) command.


       0      Success

       1..249 various errors during the build process

       254    problem with permissions

       255    fixable error after user intervention


       Quicklist (fast output without details)

       Integration into APT and/or into the init system

       "Aggressive" debianisation using  the  templates  set  (to  generate  a
       package  with  guessed  name  from  any  source  that  looks like being
       compatible with kernel 2.6 build system)

       Automatic transformation of kernel sources to generate .udeb packages


       Module-Assistant was written by Eduard Bloch <> for the
       Debian distribution.

                                 23 June 2010              MODULE-ASSISTANT(8)