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4.5. Driver Update Program

This section includes information on the implementation of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 Driver Update Program.
Kernel Module Packages
On Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5, it is possible to build updated kernel module packages that depend upon the current kernel ABI version and not on a specific kernel release number. This facilitates building kernel modules that can be used against a range of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 kernels, rather than a single release. The project website at contains more information about the packaging process, as well as several examples.
Note that the following issues have also been identified:
  • A minor ABI compatibility issue affecting the network rhel5_drivers_s390_net_ga symbol grouping on s390x kernels has been identified. Symbols beginning with iucv_ should not be used by third party drivers as they may be updated sometime throughout the life of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5. Similarly, on ppc64, the structure spu_priv1_ops should not be used by third parties.
  • Bootpath drivers distributed as kmod packages are not officially supported.
  • Overriding existing in-kernel drivers are not currently supported.
These issues will be addressed in a future update of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.
Kernel Module Loading
The module loading behavior on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 has changed from previous releases of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The modules shipped in the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 kernel package are signed, as was the case in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4. On Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 kernels, however, it is no longer possible to load a signed module from another kernel build.
This means that a module shipped with the initial Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 distribution cannot be loaded in future updated kernels. This helps prevent users from loading unsupported modules on a system. Red Hat only supports modules that are signed and included in a distribution.
If you want to load an older module, you can try rebuilding it without a signature. Alternatively, you can remove the signature from the binary file using the following command:
objcopy -R .module_sig <module name>-mod.ko <module name>-nosig.ko
It is recommended that you consult with a designated Red Hat Global Support Representative before attempting to load unsigned modules.