Am 26.12.2019 um 21:51 schrieb Kevin Monceaux <Kevin@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>:
I don't think loadable kernel modules were added to Linux until the 2.x
kernel version, but I'm having trouble finding confirmation of that. I
think I started using Linux somewhere around the mid '90s. Whenever it was
that I started with Linux, there were no loadable kernel modules. The
kernel had to be recompiled to add and/or remove various drivers.
You got me doubting. :-) For verification, I just booted up an old 386 with Debian 2.1, utilizing Kernel 2.0.38, and /lib/modules already contains modules. So, your claim is wrong.
Maybe you confuse modules (as in run-time loadable drivers) with the possibility of the Kernel to utilize an initrd. Initrd was added mainly to work around a memory issue as the kernel code grew and grew. PCs were started by BIOS in Real Mode, which means, there's max. 640 KiB of RAM available. But to switch to Protected Mode, the entire kernel blob has to be loaded into RAM: After switching, there was no access to BIOS routines anymore and the kernel had to provide it's own drivers for accessing hardware.
Without initrd capability, the necessary driver(s) to mount the root-filesystem after the loader (lilo, grub, whatever) launched the kernel had to be compiled-in, to the extent that after mounting root, any further drivers can be loaded from disk (/lib/modules).
Further (interesting!) reading:
My first excursions into Linux also were around 1995.
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