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Saturday, 26 October 2013

Linux device driver

Linux Device driver programming 

To develop linux based device drivers you need to know the C language and pointers and  microprocessor programming .

User space and kernel space

When you write device drivers, it’s important to make the distinction between “user space” and “kernel space”.

Kernel space. Linux (which is a kernel) manages the machine's hardware in a simple and efficient manner, offering the user a simple and uniform programming interface. In the same way, the kernel, and in particular its device drivers, form a bridge or interface between the end-user/programmer and the hardware. Any subroutines or functions forming part of the kernel (modules and device drivers, for example) are considered to be part of kernel space.
User space. End-user programs, like the UNIX shell or other GUI based applications (kpresenter for example), are part of the user space. Obviously, these applications need to interact with the system's hardware . However, they don’t do so directly, but through the kernel supported functions.


#include <linux/init.h>
#include <linux/module.h>
#include <linux/kernel.h>

MODULE_LICENSE("Dual BSD/GPL"); // For loading the driver

static int hello_init(void) {
  printk("<1>Driver test by johnson : Hello world!\n");
  return 0;

static void hello_exit(void) {
  printk("<1> Bye, Johnson \n");

Next, you need to generate a makefile. The makefile for this example, which should be named Makefile, will be:

inside make file

obj-m := hello.o

Unlike with previous versions of the kernel, it’s now also necessary to compile the module using the same kernel that you’re going to load and use the module with. To compile it, you can type:

$ make -C /usr/src/kernel-source-2.6.8 M=pwd modules

This extremely simple module belongs to kernel space and will form part of it once it’s loaded.

In user space, you can load the module as root by typing the following into the command line:

# insmod  hello.o

The insmod command allows the installation of the module in the kernel. However, this particular module isn’t of much use.

It is possible to check that the module has been installed correctly by looking at all installed modules:

# lsmod

Finally, the module can be removed from the kernel using the command:

# rmmod  hello

By issuing the lsmod command again, you can verify that the module is no longer in the kernel.

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