USB Drivers

USB support was added to the Linux kernel in the 2.3.x development kernel series, then back-ported to 2.2.x, minus support for USB mass storage devices (due to SCSI changes in 2.3.x). The back-port was included in the 2.2.18 kernel release.


There is no kernel USB support in 2.0.x and earlier.

The Linux kernel USB drivers fall into three categories:

Host controller drivers

The USB host controller drivers include usb-ohci.o (OHCI driver), usb-uhci.o (UHCI driver), uhci.o (old “alternate” UHCI driver), and ehci-hcd.o (EHCI driver).

Class drivers

The USB class drivers include hid.o, usb-storage.o (mass storage driver), acm.o (Automated Control Model [ACM] communications class driver, which deals with modems that emulate the standard serial modem AT command interface), printer.o, and audio.o.

Other device drivers

There are many drivers for devices that either don’t fit into one of the standard USB classes or don’t work with one of the standard class drivers. Examples include rio500.o (the driver for the Diamond Rio 500 MP3 player) and pwc.o (the driver for various Philips webcams).

The Linux drivers implement USB support in layers. At the bottom is usbcore.o, which provides all of the generic USB support for the higher-level drivers as well as USB hub support. The host controller drivers load in the middle of the stack. On top are the device and class drivers and any modules they require.

The following is an example of what you might see in /proc/modules (or from the output of ...

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