i want to write a device driver but not able to find the header file can someone please help me find them?Also if someone can point out some important site links that would be really appreciated

5 Answers 5


You should be able to install the kernel header files for the currently running kernel by running the following in a terminal:

sudo apt-get install linux-headers-$(uname -r)

In general, the kernel header packages are named linux-header-* where "*" indicates the version & variant (generic, server, etc.).

  • 3
    hey thanks but could you tell me what does generic, server, etc means i want to write (kernel driver)
    – coder
    Commented Nov 6, 2011 at 3:39
  • 15
    This won't install the headers for future updates automatically and you'll have to re-run this command every time. Therefore, it's recommended to install the metapackage instead, as described in another answer.
    – gertvdijk
    Commented Jun 25, 2013 at 21:13
  • Note: this doesn't put them in the GCC include path, you still need -I. Commented Aug 8, 2015 at 7:34
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    Note: For this to work, the line appropriate deb-src line must be present in /etc/apt/sources.list.
    – Vorac
    Commented Oct 24, 2016 at 11:38
  • I'm sorry for it doesn't work at which the version of my kernel is 4.19.57-v7+. How come? Commented Jul 2, 2020 at 7:33

You can just type:

sudo apt-get install linux-headers-generic

if you are on a Desktop installation. The apt-get will solve the dependencies and install the correct version of kernel headers.

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    and Ubuntu will also update them when a new version comes out
    – Csq
    Commented May 5, 2013 at 7:38
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    Or linux-headers-virtual if your running a VM in an Openstack instance...
    – BSchlinker
    Commented Sep 18, 2013 at 6:41
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    In Debian Wheezy I get the error message "Package linux-headers-generic is not available, but is referred to by another package. [...] E: Package 'linux-headers-generic' has no installation candidate"
    – IQAndreas
    Commented Apr 27, 2015 at 3:10
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    @IQAndreas the linux-headers-generic package is ubuntu specific. On Debian you should use sudo apt-get install linux-headers-$(uname -r) Commented Apr 28, 2015 at 16:00
  • I have linux-headers-generic installed on 18.04 but still don't have the headers for the newest and current kernel version. Maybe it's just a bug with this version, I've compiled kernel modules in earlier versions so I must've had the correct headers back then. Commented Jan 19, 2023 at 10:11

Case of Obsolete kernel package

This should cover another problem when: the currently running kernel is obsolete, meaning it's not in the repository anymore neither its headers. So the best thing to do is to update the kernel to last version in the repository.

linux-generic is a meta package to keep current version of the kernel & its headers:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install linux-generic

Note: Depending on your Ubuntu edition, See if you need linux-lowlatency (Ubuntu Studio), linux-signed-generic or linux-virtual.

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    None of the other solutions worked for me when trying to install a driver. Thanks you. Commented Jan 5, 2016 at 3:33
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    an almost equivalent for debian is called linux-headers-amd64 (for amd64 systems, obviously)
    – hanshenrik
    Commented Apr 20, 2017 at 23:24
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    Amazing, linux-headers-amd64 did the job for me for my Gitlab pipelines! The linux-headers-$(uname -r) did not work though. Voting up.
    – Dr_Zaszuś
    Commented Mar 8, 2022 at 9:47

Or if you have aptitude installed: sudo aptitude install linux-headers-$(uname -r)

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    Essentially the same thing.
    – retrixe
    Commented Sep 28, 2015 at 11:38

these commands should work:

sudo apt-get dist-upgrade -y
systemctl reboot
sudo apt-get install linux-headers-$(uname -r)
sudo apt-get upgrade linux-headers-$(uname -r)

for better instruction checkout this video

  • 2
    He is just asking how to install headers, why would you recommend upgrading the distribution? Do not follow these steps if you just want to download the headers.
    – AFP_555
    Commented Nov 25, 2020 at 16:58

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