2.6-udev hint, v. 2.1

Ryan Reich ryanr at uchicago.edu
Sat Apr 10 08:27:14 PDT 2004

Here's the most improved version of the hint.

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AUTHOR: Ryan Reich
DATE:2004-03-08 (8 March 2004)
PRIMARY URI: http://aptchi.homelinux.org/2.6-udev/
SYNOPSIS: Linux-2.6 and udev for a dynamic /dev
DESCRIPTION: This will describe how to install Linux-2.6 on your LFS system
		 and set up dynamic device management with udev.


In this hint, I will explain how to turn your plain ol' LFS system into a
shiny new Linux-2.6 LFS system, without doing a whole lot of recompiling.
There may be downsides to this, but I haven't noticed any with ordinary
desktop use. The main reason I wrote this, though, was to describe how to use
udev/sysfs as a replacement for devfsd/devfs, since I find the documentation
available to be a little lacking.


You need to get the following:

		Linux 2.6.*:

	Grab the newest one.


	This package replaces modutils since the module format changed in 2.6.
	Grab the latest stable version. You're living enough on the edge using
	2.6 without getting beta software as well.

		Sysfs init script

	Just a little script to mount sysfs at boot. It's sensitive to the
	2.4 vs. 2.6 issue, so it doesn't generate irritating messages if you
	boot into 2.4 with it.


	The userspace daemon which handles /dev dynamically, which devfs also
	did once upon a time, before it was deprecated. This thing is still
	under development, but the recent versions work fine and if something
	doesn't work, it's probably a sysfs problem. Just get the latest

		Hotplug scripts

	Udev relies upon hotplug to do its work, so you need these.

		Busybox (Optional)

	An all-in-one utility which incorporates miniscule versions of standard
	Unix tools. In a major breakthrough, they have almost released version
	1; get that. You only need this if you want to take the initrd approach
	to udev. These days memory isn't much of an issue, so it's not strictly
	necessary to shrink-wrap the initrd...but large kernels and initrds
	have a way of crashing on boot, and you would be surprised how large
	this can get if you have to include the shared libraries and everything.

		linuxrc (Optional)
	A very basic initrd init script, which you only need if you are doing
	the initrd approach.

		udev init script (Optional)

	A pared-down version of the init script provided with udev, which also
	does the tmpfs filesystem which I describe.  Only necessary if you are
	NOT doing the initrd approach.


The first thing you need to do is upgrade your module utilities.  In
particular, you want to be really careful that you don't overwrite your old
ones so that, in the very likely event you need to boot back into 2.4 because
something in 2.6 doesn't work right the first time, you actually can do this
still. Hence the somewhat extended build process:

	tar xjvf module-init-tools-*.tar.bz2
	cd module-init-tools-*/
	./configure --prefix=/
	make moveold
	make install
	./generate-modprobe.conf /etc/modprobe.conf

		Command explanations:

./configure --prefix=/

Unlike almost everything else in LFS, this is a system utility probably
required at boot and must reside in /sbin.

make moveold

This copies modprobe, insmod, rmmod, and depmod to *.old (it also does this
for the man pages). This way, the new modprobe will check first to see your
kernel version; if you are using 2.4, it calls the .old modprobe instead of
proceeding itself. Hence no hassle.

./generate-modprobe.conf /etc/modprobe.conf

module-init-tools has a much different system for the modules configuration
file than did modutils, and correspondingly it is kind enough to give you a
new file. It will even incorporate definitions you made in your old
modules.conf, which it will of course leave where it was so that modprobe.old
can find it if necessary.


Reading the man page for modprobe and modprobe.conf is recommended, but the
gist of the changes is that all those confusing and complicated aboves and
belows and whatnot that went in modules.conf have been replaced with but two
commands: install and remove. alias still exists, of course. The following
are thus equivalent (for example):

	below snd-intel8x0 snd-pcm-oss (modules.conf)
	install snd-intel8x0 /sbin/modprobe snd-pcm-oss; /sbin/modprobe \
		--ignore-install snd-intel8x0 (modprobe.conf)

This means that if you execute `modprobe snd-intel8x0` in 2.6, modprobe will
literally run the sequence `modprobe snd-pcm-oss; modprobe snd-intel8x0`. The
--ignore-install means to ignore the line in the config file when running the
second modprobe, for of course to do otherwise would result in an endless
loop. remove works similarly; in general, this syntax is infinitely


Now to compile a new kernel. The developers really spent a lot of time
improving even the build procedure in 2.6, so that numerous conveniences have
been introduced. For one, it will try to interpret the .config of your
current kernel, if it's located in /boot/config-`uname -r` (i.e.
/boot/config-2.4.22 if you are running linux-2.4.22). For two, there are now
two GUI config interfaces, xconfig and gconfig, using qt and gtk,
respectively, both better than the original xconfig. You should do:

	tar xjvf linux-2.6.*.tar.bz2
	cd linux-2.6.*/
	make mrproper
	make *config
	make modules_install
	cp arch/$(ARCH)/boot/bzImage /boot/image
	cp System.map /boot/mapfile

		Command Explanations:

make mrproper

Always make mrproper the first time you use a tree. You never know what might
have snuck in.

make *config

I like xconfig, personally, but then, I use KDE also. Draw your own
conclusions. When configuring, do a very careful run-through because the
options have changed dramatically from 2.4. The CPU selection is different,
for example, and you really don't want the kernel compiled for the wrong CPU.

Another thing to watch out for is CONFIG_HOTPLUG. In kernels up through
2.6.3, it's in Bus options -> Hot-pluggable devices near the top of the base
config menu. In 2.6.4, it's under "General Setup". If you don't have this,
the hotplug scripts are useless and you can't use udev.

Also, if you plan to use the initrd approach to udev, make sure you enable
support for an initial ramdisk in the configuration. It's under Device
Drivers -> Block devices and you need to enable RAM disk support. Since you
will have an initrd, you might also want to look into the bootsplash patch
and utilities located at http://www.bootsplash.org. Their 2.6 patch is
outdated, almost as though they didn't look at their own link; a much newer
(and for the newest kernels, functional) patch is at ftp.suse.com, which is
right on the same page.

Finally, read the post-halloween docs at
http://www.codemonkey.org.uk/docs/post-halloween-2.6.txt to get incredibly
detailed information on what changed from 2.4. Really.  Do this.


What? Did you say I forgot make dep? No, I didn't; it got cut. You don't have
to specify bzImage either, since Image and zImage have gone the way of the
dodo. Just make will do. Oh, and they recommend you use gcc-2.95.3 to
compile; the instructions for this are in the BLFS book, so if you want to
use this compiler, just specify make CC=/opt/gcc-2.95.3/bin/gcc (path is as
given in BLFS-5.0).

cp stuff places

Here $(ARCH) is your machine's architecture, likely i386. If it's not, you
don't need this explanation.

Call the image and System.map whatever you like, so long as System.map is
called System.map-2.6.*. Yes, now the kernel supports VERSIONED map files, so
that you don't have to switch stuff around every time you boot into a
different kernel. Just append the version to the System.map and the kernel
will find it at boot.

	Sysfs Init Script

You could do the rest in 2.4, but since udev won't work without sysfs, you
may as well reboot. You may also wish to update your init scripts to mount
sysfs. I have written a simple init script that should do this; place it in
/etc/rc.d/init.d, give it 754 permissions, and link it:

	ln -nsf ../mountsys /etc/rc.d/rcsysinit.d/S30mountsys

The number, of course, depends on your setup; it should go after mountproc,
however, since I put in a line that checks /proc/filesystems to detect
kernels (like pre-2.5) that do not support sysfs.

Sysfs exports various device-related data; in fact, it exports so much it's
impossible to figure out what to do with it all. Some of it is useful for
configuring udev to correctly identify unusual or transientdevices, like USB
thingies. It's new, though, so I am not sure if anything else uses it aside
from udev.

	Hotplug scripts

Anyway, now you're running 2.6. The hotplug scripts are easy to install:

	tar xjvf hotplug-*.tar.bz2
	cd hotplug-*/
	make install

They're just shell scripts, after all. The README has other suggestions that
are not strictly necessary. One of the scripts installed is a boot script,
placed in /etc/rc.d/init.d/hotplug, which you may wish to run at boot. Sadly,
their script is not LFS-style and is quite hard to make LFS-style, so you
won't get any nice colored notifications when it runs. Put it somewhere at
the beginning of the runlevel queue so that it loads your USB, etc. drivers
before you need them.


And finally, we have udev.

	tar xjvf udev-*.tar.bz2
	cd udev-*/
	make USE_LOG=false DEBUG=false USE_KLIBC=true INSTALL_DIR=/usr/bin udevdir=/dev
	make install

		Command Explanations:

make ...

I used to have a patch for this, but it wasn't worth its weight in typos. The
options are self-explanatory, except USE_KLIBC, which refers to a special
linux-kernel version of the C library. Greg K-H recommends you use it.


This is the fun part. Configuring udev itself is an exercise best left to the
reader; the man page is actually pretty helpful.  Configuration in this case
means telling udev what to name which devices and what permissions to give
them; the work is figuring out which device you are trying to name. The
information you use is drawn from sysfs; in addition, pciutils and usbutils
are quite helpful (they aren't given in the BLFS book, however).

In order to make /dev truly dynamic, you want to have as little in it as
possible which is permanent. There are two possibilities for this: to
maintain a minimal static /dev from which the kernel can boot and then fill
it up later, or to create the initial /dev from an initrd (of course, you'll
need a small, static /dev there, but conceptually it is more elegant. Make
sure you compiled your kernel with initrd support (as suggested above).

	The Non-Initrd Method

First, though, the non-initrd way. This is easy: download my udev boot
script, put it some place in your boot process after the mountsys script, and
watch it work. It creates a tmpfs filesystem on /dev of maximum size 100k
(this is a dramatic overestimate; since device files take up no space, /dev
will always be 40k. However, each file needs a whole block, and you want
enough blocks to cover most eventualities.  You also don't want the tmpfs to
be too large, or else it will hog your memory) and runs udevstart, a
wonderful program which completely obviates the udev init script distributed
with the source code. If you want /dev/pts and /dev/shm mounted (and you do)
make sure that mountfs, or whatever script you have them mounted in, runs
after the udev script.

	The Initrd Method

Note in the following that we construct the initrd in a real directory and
only at the end "burn" it into a separate filesystem. This is for two
reasons: one, so that you can make mistakes. If you did it all on the
separate filesystem, every wrong turn would unzero part of the filesystem and
it wouldn't compress as well. Of course, this isn't a boot disk and it sort
of doesn't mater how big the compressed image is...but it's aesthetic. And
second, you have more room if you do it on disk.


Busybox has a menuconfig like the linux kernel, which makes it easy to choose
the utilities you want. Those are, for us,

     * "Build as a static binary" in "Build Options"
     * chroot, ln, and mkdir in "Coreutils"
     * ash with "Optimize for size" and "Hide message" in "Another
       Bourne-like Shell"
     * freeramdisk, pivot_root, mount, and umount in "Linux system utilities"

Nothing else is necessary. If you plan to use the initrd to load modules as
well, throw in insmod, rmmod, and modprobe too. Finally, specify an
installation directory in "Installation options", which will be where we
construct the initrd. I use /tmp/tmp-initrd. Then make dep && make &&

	Udev for Initrd

Since we'll be using udev to do the work, you need to get it onto the ramdisk
also. However, I have had issues with it looking for the config file in the
wrong place, even though (allegedly) you can specify UDEV_CONFIG_FILE as an
environment variable. I suggest recompiling:

	make clean
	make USE_LOG=false DEBUG=false USE_KLIBC=true udevdir=/new-root/dev
	mkdir -p /tmp/tmp-initrd/{etc/udev,new-root}
	cp etc/udev/udev.{conf,rules,permissions} /tmp/tmp-initrd/etc/udev
	cp udev udevstart /tmp/tmp-initrd/sbin

We don't need any other files and they hog space, so we just copy these five.
Make sure they say what you want them to. In particular, make sure udev.conf
has the devices directory correct, and remember it's relative to

	Building the Initial Ramdisk

Now create your linuxrc. As explained (confusingly, if you ask me) by the
initrd manpage, it's what the kernel runs as init when the initrd is loaded.
I have provided one which does the same thing as the init script, except also
does the maintenance operations that an initrd needs to do. Finally, I have
left a marker @root-dev@ which denotes your root device, and another @fstype@
on the same line which denotes its filesystem. Kindly replace them with a
real device and filesystem.

Finally, create /tmp/tmp-initrd/dev and put a few files in it. You need
console, hd?/hs?, null, ram0, tty[1-9], which you can either create by hand
or, as a test of your udev installation, using udevstart. The disk is, of
course, the device on which your root filesystem is located. Just chroot .
/bin/sh and run udevstart. Exit the chroot environment (which was necessary
because of the paths we hardwired into udev) and delete the devices you don't

If you want to use the initrd for module loading, put them in now and modify
the linuxrc to suit them. Make sure you have no spare files lying around in
the initrd tree and figure out using du -sh how big it is. Mine is on the
order of 600k. Create a zeroed-out filesystem as follows:

	dd if=/dev/zero of=initrd-udev bs=640k count=1
	mke2fs -F -m0 initrd-udev
	mkdir /initrd
	mount -o loop initrd-udev /initrd

		Command Explanations

dd if=/dev/zero of=initrd-udev bs=640k count=1

The blocksize of course depends on how big your tree is. What matters here is
the number of inodes, since it limits how many files you can include, so I
used more space than necessary.

mke2fs -F -m0 initrd-udev

The -F disables an annoying question, and the -m0 says not to reserve space
for the superuser, who won't need it.

mount -o loop initrd-udev /mnt

If you are a current udev user following this section to get the initrd up,
beware that you may not have loop device support if you compiled it as a
module. Since udev doesn't do automatic module loading like devfs did and
since loop devices aren't hardware and hence not detected by hotplug, the
module probably isn't in. Load it first. The /initrd directory is necessary
for the boot process.

Now cp -a tmp-initrd/* /initrd, make sure your filesystem really was large
enough by observing any error messsages, unmount /initrd, and gzip -9
initrd-udev. Put the zipped initrd in /boot

When you boot, make sure the options include "root=/boot/initrd-udev.gz
init=/linuxrc". linuxrc calls the real init when it's done.

	Closing Remarks

Be careful with your udev.conf in all the sections in which you install one
(depending on whether you use the initrd, there may be two).  If you used my
make command you should have the right entries for the path and all; however,
the default permissions are unnecessarily restrictive: 0600.  You probably
want to change those to 0666, or else (for example) your sound will probably
not work.

And speaking of sound: it has been observed that udev doesn't play well with
the alsa boot script.  In my case, it appeared that the problem was udev
being slow, or rather, being a process.  The alsa script will load your sound
card module if necessary, which will create the appropriate data in /sys and
signal /sbin/hotplug, which will call udev to make the nodes.  However, this
is all happening in sync with the rest of the bootscript; alsactl doesn't
know that the devices are being created so it will check as soon as modprobe
exits, and of course probably not find any devices since there's a rather
lengthy chain of events occuring in their creation.  The gist of this is that
I solved the problem by manually running modprobe, then `sleep 1`, and then
alsactl.  Similar issues may occur with other bootscripts in similar
situations: the point is that udev is not a kernel filesystem like devfs was,
and therefore actual time elapses between the end of the modprobe and the
creation of device nodes.

Also, be aware that sysfs is not yet completely implemented for all drivers,
and the most glaring exception is the parallel-port driver. If you have a
parallel-port printer and you want to use it, you must (for now) manually
create /dev/lp0:

	mknod -m 666 /dev/lp0 c 6 0

If you have other printers you would change the 0 to the appropriate number.
This necessity is obviously a wart on sysfs at the moment, but remember that
linux-2.6 is still in its infancy.

In addition, those devices for which sysfs IS implemented often appear in
places you may not be used to.  To wit: the mouse device appears in
/dev/input, not /dev or /dev/misc.  This is actually a default rule and not
kernel policy, but the effect is the same.  So either change your
XF86Config-4 file or change the rule.  Also, I believe there may be issues
regarding "legacy" BSD tty's.  I don't use them, so I don't know if they
should appear; however, my brother reports that they do not, so if you rely
on them, you might want to consider moving over to Unix98 tty's.

Finally, in the continuing spirit of backwards-compatibility, if you
currently use devfs you have more work. Obviously you can't mount both devfs
and ramfs on /dev and expect both to work, and anyway, udev replaces devfs. I
suggest, therefore, that in configuring the kernel way back above, you make
sure to disable devfs entirely. Then, modify your devfs boot script:

	mount -t devfs devfs /dev || exit 0

Thus, if devfs is not supported by the kernel (like it is not in your 2.6
kernel), the script will quit without mounting it and without giving an

That's it! Hopefully your system boots without too much complaining.


None, I hope. However, inevitably I make a typo in a script or forget some
technicality, so please tell me if I've done this somewhere.


* Changed version to 2.1
* Corrected numerous not-really-fatal errors

* Changed version to 2.0
* Updated location of CONFIG_HOTPLUG for kernel 2.6.4
* Added warning about /dev/lp0
* Removed the udev-lfs patch
* Created the (optional) udev bootscript
* Implemented the (optional) initrd procedure

* Changed filename to 2.6-udev.txt (from 2.6-udev.hint, to be in
  compliance with the Guidelines).
* Shortened the synopsis
* Stylistic changes
* Removed references to .tar.gz -- who uses these anyway?
* Added version number 1.1
* Improved some command explanations
* Removed reference to `make install`; I do not understand it, I do not use
  it, and it appears to make assumptions about your system's layout that may
  not correspond to the LFS layout.
* Removed the depmod command; silly me, make modules_install does it.
* Created the mountsys init script
* Created the udev-lfs patch and simplified the build commands
* Added the ERRORS section
* Added a paragraph about the minimal /dev
* Added a suggestion regarding the use of an initrd

* Created the hint.
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mount -n -t sysfs none /sys
mount -n -t @fstype@ @root-dev@ /new_root
mount -n -o size=100k -t tmpfs udev /new_root/dev
ln -snf /proc/self/fd /new_root/dev/fd
ln -snf /proc/self/fd/0 /new_root/dev/stdin
ln -snf /proc/self/fd/1 /new_root/dev/stdout
ln -snf /proc/self/fd/2 /new_root/dev/stderr
ln -snf /proc/kcore /new_root/dev/core
mkdir /new_root/dev/pts
mkdir /new_root/dev/shm
umount /sys 2>/dev/null
cd new_root
pivot_root . initrd
exec chroot . /sbin/init <dev/console >dev/console 2>&1
umount /initrd
freeramdisk /dev/ram0
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# Begin /etc/rc.d/init.d/mountsys

# Init script to mount sysfs on /sys for Linux-2.6.*
# Based on the init script template in LFS-5.0

source /etc/sysconfig/rc
source ${rc_functions}


if grep -q 'sysfs' /proc/filesystems; then
	echo "Mounting sysfs on ${SYSDIR}..."
	if [ ! -e ${SYSDIR} ]; then
		mkdir ${SYSDIR} || exit;
	mount -n -t sysfs sysfs ${SYSDIR} >/dev/null 2>&1
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# A much shortened version of the udev init script

source /etc/sysconfig/rc
source ${rc_functions}

if ! [ -e /sys/block ]; then exit; fi

echo "Populating /dev..."
mount -t tmpfs -o size=100k udev /dev
mkdir /dev/pts
mkdir /dev/shm
ln -snf /proc/self/fd /dev/fd
ln -snf /proc/self/fd/0 /dev/stdin
ln -snf /proc/self/fd/1 /dev/stdout
ln -snf /proc/self/fd/2 /dev/stderr
ln -snf /proc/kcore /dev/core

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