Driver Kit Usage

SUSE driver kits are bundles of packages and documentation that have been prepared, tested, and validated for enabling distinct specific third party products with SUSE Linux Enterprise. The driver kits are typically targeted for specific versions of SUSE Linux Enterprise.

This document describe the components of a SUSE driver kit and how they are used.

Components of a Driver Kit

SUSE driver kits consist of at least the following parts:


Every driver kit contains an install-readme.html file that describes the follow:

  • Version of the driver kit
  • Whether the driver kit is “Bootable” and/or contains a DUD
  • Version of SUSE Linux Enterprise that the driver kit is built for
  • SUSE Partner product that the driver kit is built for
  • Links to the Driver Kit ISO Image and on-line installation repository

ISO Image

The driver kit ISO image provides an add-on installation repository containing the driver kit packages. This image can be used to create optical media source of the driver kit add-on product.

On-line Installation Repository

The add-on installation repository contained on the ISO image is hosted under the install/ directory and can be used directly by those systems having an Internet connection.

On-line Update Repository

Should the need to post bug or security fixes arise, SUSE will populate the on-line update repository of the driver kit with the updated packages.

By adding the update repository to the target system using the YaST2 Software Repositories” module or zypper ar command, or by adding the update repository to a proxy update server like the Subscription Management Tool (SMT) the user can manually or automatically query for updates.

Driver Kit Installation

The Driver Kit can be installed as an “Add-on” product as either during or after the installation of SUSE Linux Enterprise base OS as described in the following sections of the deployment guide:

In both cases the installation can be done by burning the contents of the ISO image to optical media, or copying the contents to other removable media, local directory, or network location and pointing YaST or zypper to the appropriate URI.

Updates For Initial Installation

With the methods described in the previous section, the driver kit updates are only available for use post OS installation.

In cases where updates are required during this initial installation phase (e.g. to enable required storage or network devices) a driver kit may be designed to provide updates during this initial phase. The possible methods are Driver Update Disk and/or Bootable Driver Kit

Driver Update Disk

Some driver kit ISO images include a Driver Update Disk1 (DUD) structure that can used to install updates just before launching the YaST installer. The updates will then be used during execution of the SUSE Linux Enterprise installation process. Consult the install-readme.html document of the driver kit to determine if the driver kit contains a DUD structure. *[NOTE: The contents of the DUD will be located in a directory named /linux at the base of the ISO image.]

Optical Media: Write the ISO image to an empty optical media and start your installation by passing the following boot option:


That option shall be entered directly at the boot screen. The installation program will then prompt you to insert the driver update media and load the drivers contained there for installation.

USB Storage Device: Alternatively, mount the ISO image and copy the complete /linux directory to the root of a USB storage device. By having this device attached while initiating the installation, the DUD will be automatically detected and used. Passing a boot option is not required for this method.

During SUSE Linux Enterprise installation, the packages will automatically be installed onto your system.

For more information on the Driver Update process see the Update Media Howto

Bootable Driver Kit

If the driver kit is “Bootable” (as indicated in the install-readme.html document), it can be used to kick-off the SUSE Linux Enterprise installation in which case the updated kernel modules, YaST modules or other updates will be used to start and carry out the installation process. In addition providing the same kinds of updates that the Driver Update Disk can provide, the Bootable Driver Kit can also boot using an updated kernel.

Bootable driver kits can be installed from optical media or network (PXE) installation:

Media installation

  1. Burn the ISO image above to an empty CD/DVD media.
  2. Start the installation using the new CD/DVD media, having the standard SUSE Linux Enterprise media at hand or a URL to a network installation server.
    • If doing a network install, enter the URL of the network install source on the boot command line using the install= option.
    • If doing installation from optical media the installer will first boot from the driver kit and then ask to insert CD1 of the SUSE Linux.
  3. An initrd containing updated drivers will be used for installation.

PXE boot installation

  1. Download the ISO image above.
  2. Mount the ISO image for access to the contents.
  3. Copy the kernel and initrd images from the driver kit iso image to the appropriate location on your tftp boot server. The initrd and kernel image are found under the /boot/x86_64/loader directory.
  4. Copy the contents of the ISO image to a location on your installation server. (The /boot directory may be omitted)
  5. Add the URL of the driver kit location on the installation server to the boot command of the pxelinux config file using the ‘addon=’ option.
  6. An updated kernel will be used for installation and installed onto the system.

Example pxelinux config file section:

# Install SLES 11 SP1 with Bootable Driver Kit

label install-bdk
kernel linux-bdk
append initrd=initrd-bdk splash=silent vga=0x314 showopts \
       install=http://installserver/SLES-11-SP1-x86_64 \

kISO (Kernel Update ISO)

A kISO is similar to a Bootable Driver Kit and can be used to provide an updated kernel for SUSE Linux Enterprise installation to be used when installation fails on specific hardware configurations because the kernel from the standard installation media panics or hangs.

To install SUSE® Linux Enterprise products using a kISO:

  1. Boot using the kISO image and the normal boot/installation screen will appear.
  2. Configure installation options as usual and continue with the install.
  3. After the kernel and initial ram disk from the KISO are loaded, the install process will prompt for disk 1 of the SUSE Linux Enterprise media to be inserted.
  4. Insert the proper media and select “OK” to continue.
  5. At this point the install will continue as normal.

After package installation and before the first boot of the newly installed OS, the standard installed kernel will be updated to the version provided by the kISO.