In this paper, linear stability analysis on a Newtonian fluid film flowing under the effect of gravity over an inclined porous medium saturated with the same fluid in isothermal condition is carried out. The focus is placed on the effect of the anisotropic and inhomogeneous variations in the permeability of the porous medium on the shear mode and surface mode instabilities. The fluid–porous system is modelled by a coupled two-dimensional Navier–Stokes/Darcy problem. The perturbation equations are solved numerically using the Chebyshev collocation method. Detailed stability characteristics as a function of the depth ratio (the ratio of the depth of the fluid layer to that of the porous layer), the anisotropic parameter (the ratio of the permeability in the direction of the basic flow to that in the direction transverse to the basic flow) and the inhomogeneity functions are presented.