genl - Linux


genl is a tool that generates Linux kernel code for generalized Netlink families. It simplifies the process of defining, manipulating, and interacting with custom Netlink protocols.


genl [options] <family name>


  • -h, –help: Display usage information.
  • -v, –version: Print version information.
  • -a, –all-families: Generate code for all registered Netlink families.
  • -i, –include-impl: Include implementation code in generated files (default: false).
  • -o, –output-file: Specify output filename (default: ".h").
  • -s, –select: Select specific families to generate code for (comma-separated).


Generate code for a new Netlink family "myfamily":

genl myfamily

Generate code for all registered families, including implementation:

genl -a --include-impl

Generate code for multiple specific families:

genl -s family1,family2,family3

Common Issues

  • Generation fails due to duplicate definitions: Ensure that the Netlink family name is unique and not already used by another protocol.
  • Missing dependencies: Check that the necessary kernel headers and libraries are installed and included in make commands.


genl-generated code can be integrated with other tools and commands:

  • Kernel modules: The generated header files can be used in kernel modules to communicate with the Netlink family.
  • User space applications: Libraries can be created using the generated header files to interact with the Netlink family from user space.

Related Commands

  • make: Used to compile the generated code.
  • insmod: Used to insert kernel modules created with genl.
  • dmesg: Used to display debug messages generated by Netlink communication.