Which Distro for my old Dell Latitude D810 (32 bit) Laptop?


Well-Known Member
May 3, 2019
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Kernel drivers are of two types (actually there is a 3rd type).
You'll see this when you compile a kernel.

Some driver modules are statically compiled into the kernel. You get them whether
you want them or not. For the most part the distro guys who compile the kernels do a
good job of picking what is statically compiled in.

The second (much more common) way is external modules. dracut/initram go out
and check what kind of hardware you have when installing Linux. These get written
to modules.conf. On UEFI systems, some of these can actually get loaded into the efi
boot partition. That way it doesn't have to wait for the kernel to load before the drivers get loaded.
On legacy/BIOS systems the kernel always gets loaded first.

Now you may think what if I add some new hardware, like a new printer or even plug in a USB
drive. Some of these are "polling" drivers that check every so often to see if anything new
has been added or plugged in.

Finally there is something called akmod/dkms dynamic kernel modules.
These get installed "after the fact". These are dynamic modules that get built "on the fly"
when you add them. Most distro's do this with at least three common packages I am
aware of. nVidia gpu drivers, AMD Radeon gpu drivers, and VirtualBox (I am sure there are others,
these are just the ones I know of off the top of my head). Anytime you do a kernel update
these recompile those modules on the fly (it takes a few seconds).

Newer kernels have more and more drivers. I don't know how many are around today..
thousands. But newer kernels are more compatible with more kinds of hardware.
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