System Administration Guide, Volume 1

Automatic Configuration of Devices

The kernel, consisting of a small generic core with a platform-specific component and a set of modules, is configured automatically in the Solaris environment.

A kernel module is a hardware or software component that is used to perform a specific task on the system. An example of a loadable kernel module is a device driver that is loaded when the device is accessed.

The platform-independent kernel is /kernel/genunix. The platform-specific component is /platform/`uname -m`/kernel/unix.

The kernel modules are described in the following table.

Table 24-2 Description of Kernel Modules


This Directory Contains ... 

/platform/`uname -m` /kernel

Platform-specific kernel components 


Kernel components common to all platforms that are needed for booting the system 


Kernel components common to all platforms within a particular instruction set 

The system determines what devices are attached to it at boot time. Then the kernel configures itself dynamically, loading needed modules into memory. At this time, device drivers are loaded when devices, such as disk and tape devices, are accessed for the first time. This process is called autoconfiguration because all kernel modules are loaded automatically when needed.

You can customize the way in which kernel modules are loaded by modifying the /etc/system file. See system(4) for instructions on modifying this file.

Features and Benefits

The benefits of autoconfiguration are:

The autoconfiguration process is used by a system administrator when adding a new device (and driver) to the system. At this time, the administrator performs a reconfiguration boot so the system will recognize the new device.

What You Need for Unsupported Devices

Device drivers needed to support a wide range of standard devices are included in the Solaris environment. These drivers can be found in the /kernel/drv and /platform/`uname -m`/kernel/drv directories.

However, if you've purchased an unsupported device, the manufacturer should provide the software needed for the device to be properly installed, maintained, and administered.

At a minimum, this software includes a device driver and its associated configuration (.conf) file. The .conf files reside in the drv directories. In addition, the device might be incompatible with Solaris utilities, and might require custom maintenance and administrative utilities.

Contact your device manufacturer for more information.