DELETE_MODULE(2) Linux Programmer's Manual DELETE_MODULE(2)NAMEdelete_module - unload a kernel module
int delete_module(const char *name, int flags);
Note: There is no glibc wrapper for this system call; see NOTES.
The delete_module() system call attempts to remove the unused loadable
module entry identified by name. If the module has an exit function,
then that function is executed before unloading the module. The flags
argument is used to modify the behavior of the system call, as
described below. This system call requires privilege.
Module removal is attempted according to the following rules:
1. If there are other loaded modules that depend on (i.e., refer to
symbols defined in) this module, then the call fails.
2. Otherwise, if the reference count for the module (i.e., the number
of processes currently using the module) is zero, then the module
is immediately unloaded.
3. If a module has a nonzero reference count, then the behavior
depends on the bits set in flags. In normal usage (see NOTES), the
O_NONBLOCK flag is always specified, and the O_TRUNC flag may addi‐
tionally be specified.
The various combinations for flags have the following effect:
flags == O_NONBLOCK
The call returns immediately, with an error.
flags == (O_NONBLOCK | O_TRUNC)
The module is unloaded immediately, regardless of whether it
has a nonzero reference count.
(flags & O_NONBLOCK) == 0
If flags does not specify O_NONBLOCK, the following steps
* The module is marked so that no new references are per‐
* If the module's reference count is nonzero, the caller is
placed in an uninterruptible sleep state (TASK_UNINTER‐
RUPTIBLE) until the reference count is zero, at which
point the call unblocks.
* The module is unloaded in the usual way.
The O_TRUNC flag has one further effect on the rules described above.
By default, if a module has an init function but no exit function, then
an attempt to remove the module will fail. However, if O_TRUNC was
specified, this requirement is bypassed.
Using the O_TRUNC flag is dangerous! If the kernel was not built with
CONFIG_MODULE_FORCE_UNLOAD, this flag is silently ignored. (Normally,
CONFIG_MODULE_FORCE_UNLOAD is enabled.) Using this flag taints the
On success, zero is returned. On error, -1 is returned and errno is
EBUSY The module is not "live" (i.e., it is still being initialized or
is already marked for removal); or, the module has an init func‐
tion but has no exit function, and O_TRUNC was not specified in
EFAULT name refers to a location outside the process's accessible
ENOENT No module by that name exists.
EPERM The caller was not privileged (did not have the CAP_SYS_MODULE
capability), or module unloading is disabled (see /proc/sys/ker‐
nel/modules_disabled in proc(5)).
Other modules depend on this module; or, O_NONBLOCK was speci‐
fied in flags, but the reference count of this module is nonzero
and O_TRUNC was not specified in flags.
CONFORMING TOdelete_module() is Linux-specific.
Glibc does not provide a wrapper for this system call; call it using
The uninterruptible sleep that may occur if O_NONBLOCK is omitted from
flags is considered undesirable, because the sleeping process is left
in an unkillable state. As at Linux 3.7, specifying O_NONBLOCK is
optional, but in future kernels it is likely to become mandatory.
Linux 2.4 and earlier
In Linux 2.4 and earlier, the system call took only one argument:
int delete_module(const char *name);
If name is NULL, all unused modules marked auto-clean are removed.
Some further details of differences in the behavior of delete_module()
in Linux 2.4 and earlier are not currently explained in this manual
SEE ALSOcreate_module(2), init_module(2), query_module(2), lsmod(8), mod‐
This page is part of release 3.53 of the Linux man-pages project. A
description of the project, and information about reporting bugs, can
be found at http://www.kernel.org/doc/man-pages/.
Linux 2012-11-08 DELETE_MODULE(2)