I have recently compiled a kernel, I selected a load of modules to be installed with the kernel/os.

I have installed this kernel/FS on to a usb and it boots fine.

When I use lsmod I see no modules listed.

I go into /lib/modules and see no makefile, I can how ever cat out the module files and they will reference something like: kernel/fs/nls/nls_iso8859-15.ko

I then follow this the path cd linux-4.1.6/fs/nls and I can see the above mentioned file... I try to run the makeFile here and all i get is make: Nothing to be done for `Makefile'.

I try want to get the modules installed with this kernel, but I am lost as to what to do. am I going about everything the wrong way?

  • Modules are a way to unload code that's not currently needed; did you expect the modules to be loaded? You can test manual loading with insmod.
    – Jeff Schaller
    Oct 7, 2015 at 12:47
  • I honestly didnt know what to expect. very new to this level of linux.... at most I use linux as a web developer. I can configure network protocols and your nginx for you in linux... thats about it
    – TheHidden
    Oct 7, 2015 at 13:48

1 Answer 1


lsmod showing no modules is a sign that you compiled drivers statically into the kernel. Make sure you enable loadable modules support when you build your kernel, and you will be able to load files from /lib/modules just fine:

insmod /lib/modules/kernel/fs/nls/nls_iso8859-15.ko

If you need to make an individual kernel module, you need to specify the kernel you're building it for:

 make -C /lib/modules/`uname -r`/build M=$PWD
  • can you expand a bit about static compiling, I am very new to this level of linux. how do i enable this?
    – TheHidden
    Oct 7, 2015 at 9:27
  • 1
    Loadable kernel modules are enabled via one of the first options you see in "Loadable modules support" when running make menuconfig. Whether a particular module is statically compiled into the kernel is configured individually for each module, also in make menuconfig. Oct 7, 2015 at 9:32
  • enable loadable module support is ticked and so is the sub option "module unloading" is also ticked.. do I need to tick anything else? Force module loading?
    – TheHidden
    Oct 7, 2015 at 9:53

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