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Today I'm trying to figure out which driver is best for my USB wireless dongle. Everywhere I look I just see Ralink STA but this isn't telling me which module this actually is.

I'm sure there's a way of looking it up but the computer should be able to tell me, shouldn't it?

Meta: This question is open to any piece of hardware, not just my wireless card. It would be helpful if we had a thread of useful diagnostic procedures so that other people can find out what's going on with their hardware.

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2 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

lshw

lshw is a very useful tool for finding details about all your hardware. It it should be able to tell you all sorts of nonsense - some useful, some not. In my case here's what sudo lshw -c network gave me about my wired card:

  *-network
       description: Ethernet interface
       product: RTL8111/8168B PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet controller
       vendor: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd.
       physical id: 0
       bus info: pci@0000:09:00.0
       logical name: eth1
       version: 03
       serial: xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx
       size: 10Mbit/s
       capacity: 1Gbit/s
       width: 64 bits
       clock: 33MHz
       capabilities: pm msi pciexpress msix vpd bus_master cap_list rom ethernet physical tp mii 10bt 10bt-fd 100bt 100bt-fd 1000bt 1000bt-fd autonegotiation
       configuration: autonegotiation=on broadcast=yes driver=r8169 driverversion=2.3LK-NAPI duplex=half latency=0 link=no multicast=yes port=MII speed=10Mbit/s
       resources: ...

The driver is buried in the configuration: section near the end.

If you just want a quick list of the modules in use, you could use this:

sudo lshw | grep -Eo 'driver=[^ ]+' | sort -u | cut -d\= -f2
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If you install the lshw-gtk package, you can use gksu lshw -X to get a GUI for hardware information. –  Lekensteyn Jun 28 '11 at 14:41
    
@Lekensteyn Fixed the package name and command. I'm not as keen on this because the interface is pretty unintuitive. It works but the column navigation is harder to use (IMO, of course) than piping lshw through less. –  Oli Jun 28 '11 at 15:40
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You can install hardinfo and browse the various categories of hardware to get info on which driver each device in the list uses.

Screenshot:
enter image description here

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Ah yes. I've used this before and really like it. Especially as it has a few basic benchmarks to make sure things are running smoothly. –  Oli Jun 28 '11 at 15:36
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