Linux Device Drivers
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An Introduction to Kernel Programming
Brief review of basic Linux concepts
  • Protected mode memory management—user space vs. kernel space
  • File system and directory structure
  • Development environment
Introducing device drivers
  • What is a “device driver”?
  • Linux device classes and user space API
  • Kernel space driver API
  • “Hooking” a driver into the kernel
Kernel modules

Debugging kernel modules
  • printk
  • proc files
  • Tracing—strace, Linux trace toolkit
  • Debuggers—gdb, kdb, kgdb
Asynchronous I/O
  • Blocking vs. non-blocking operation
  • Invoking the driver from multiple processes—reentrancy
Kernel memory management

Accessing real hardware
  • Using I/O Ports--“side effects”
  • A parallel port driver
  • Platform dependencies
Interrupt handling
  • How Linux handles interrupts
  • Implementing and installing an interrupt handler
  • Bottom halves -- work queues, and tasklets
Managing Time

Block drivers
  • Registering a block driver
  • Handling requests
  • Mounting and unmounting
Network drivers
  • Sockets
  • Network driver methods
  • NAPI
TuxWhat do we mean when we say “device driver”?

Fundamentally, a device driver implements the interface between a piece of peripheral hardware and the application. In a traditional unprotected, “flat” memory model system, a driver may be little more than a set of functions conforming to a well-defined API and statically linked into an executable image.

But in the context of a protected mode operating system such as Linux, device drivers take on added significance owing to the distinction between User space and Kernel space.  This 3-day hands-on seminar provides an introduction to the wonderful world of programming in Kernel space.  As such, it provides insights not only into device driver programming, but also into the philosophy and design strategies of the kernel itself.

Numerous programming exercises introduce the rich kernel API that offers a multitude of services to driver writers.  You’ll learn how Linux handles asynchronous I/O in a way that is totally transparent to applications.  You’ll examine the unique problems of debugging in Kernel space.  Perhaps most important, you’ll see how much of a device driver involves interactions with the kernel that have nothing to do with accessing physical hardware.

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Copyright 2015 Douglas Abbott