[zfs-discuss] Correct location for kernel modules?

John Allen johnbenallen at gmail.com
Thu Jan 14 07:06:41 EST 2016

I've been experimenting with different ways to update manually ZoL to on a machine running Debian testing. The manual update is
interesting because it seems that Debian testing is not currently supported
by the normal ZoL packaging for Debian (

I first tried the guidance on building generic DEBs (
http://zfsonlinux.org/generic-deb.html), using the KMOD approach and
pulling the source directly from Github. In this case, the kernel modules
ended up installed to a hierarchy of directories like this:

zfs : /lib/modules/4.3.0-1-amd64/extra/zfs/zfs/zfs.ko
spl : /lib/modules/4.3.0-1-amd64/extra/spl/spl/spl.ko

and the other 6 modules related to zfs (avl, nvpair, zcommon, splat,
unicode, zpios) were installed in separate directories under
/lib/modules/4.3.0-1-amd64/extra/zfs/ or

zcommon : /lib/modules/4.3.0-1-amd64/extra/zfs/zcommon/zcommon.ko

Everything seemed to be working fine.

As I was still interested to figure out how to use DKMS in future, and just
for my own education, I then tested running in the spl and zfs source
directories a simple

make install

to see what would happen.

In this case the kernel modules have been installed to different locations:

zfs : /lib/modules/4.3.0-1-amd64/extra/zfs/zfs.ko
spl : /lib/modules/4.3.0-1-amd64/extra/spl/spl.ko

and the other 6 modules have been installed in their own directories
directly under .../extra/,

zcommon : /lib/modules/4.3.0-1-amd64/extra/zcommon/zcommon.ko

My questions are:
- which of these directory hierarchies is correct for ZoL in Debian?
- why do the 2 approaches (generic DEBs, direct compilation) give different

Thanks for any insights.


John Allen
Bofferdange, Luxembourg
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