Apparently mainline kernel 3.8.5 is compiled without support for recent Atheros Communications Inc. AR8161 Gigabit Ethernet card. I know it is supplied in recent kernels with the module name alx.

Compilation of Driver Backports Wiki

The backporting mechanism doesn't work here since and it fails during compiling (and no wonder, since it is written that it is compatible with no later than 3.6 kernels).

I could use compat-drivers, but they fail to build.

What are my options (except from recompiling the whole kernel) to add alx module?

(I need a recent kernel because I'm playing with btrfs).

By the way I use ASUS N56VZ notebook.


Unified alx driver strategy attempt for Linux and FreeBSD did compile, but it didn't install the driver. (No errors in process, but ultimately no network eighter.

I did put sudo make linux-install after compilation. But after reboot the the alx module is still not present.)

1 Answer 1


You have two options.

1) Try this ppa


You download the kernel you want to try and install it with dpkg

sudo dpkg -i linux-image-3.8.5-030805-generic_3.8.5-030805.201303281651_amd64.deb

change the name to the kernel you download. If you are building modules you will need the headers as well.

See also: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Kernel/MainlineBuilds

Note these kernels are intended for testing only and no support is available.

2) Compile a kernel yourself.


Once you build a few kernels it is not too hard. Start with localmodconfig and then check to see the alx module is going to be compiled.


  • Thank you for your answer. The first option is exactly what doesn't work. And precisely because the mainline kernel doesn't have this device I ever asked that question. And 2. I know that compiling would help, but it is impractical to recompile the kernel every few weeks, when new version is available. I just thought, that maybe because the Linux kernel has modular structure, there is a way to compile only the driver itself. Just like with compat-drivers, except that they don't compile. Apr 4, 2013 at 16:50
  • although you can compile just a single module, you would need to do so for each kernel. You do not "need" to compile a kernel every few weeks, stay with a working one. Last, on anything resembling a modern machine, with localmodconfig, compiling a kernel should take 10-15 minutes tops. Up to you, it is your hardware.
    – Panther
    Apr 4, 2013 at 16:54
  • Thank you for your patience. Maybe indeed I see it the wrong way. Apr 4, 2013 at 17:37

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