How to determine which device drivers to use in Linux

A question came up in the comments of one of my past entries that raised a good question: When you can’t get a device to work, how do you determine which kernel module (Unix-speak that roughly translates to “device driver”) to use to get the hardware working?
Linux has a virtual file at /proc/pci that lists every PCI device it finds in the system. So you can just more /proc/pci to page through a system inventory and find out what video card, NIC, motherboard chipset, IDE and/or SCSI controller, and other devices are in the system.

If you’re in the process of installing when you need this information (highly likely), use ALT-F2 to get to a text console–or CTRL-ALT-F2 to get to a text console from a GUI installer–and issue the commands.

To get back to your installer, hit ALT-F1 to get back to a text-based installer, or CTRL-ALT-F7 to get back to a GUI installer. If CTRL-ALT-F7 doesn’t get you back to the GUI, try the other CTRL-ALT-function combinations.

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