Book Image

Linux Kernel Programming

By : Kaiwan N. Billimoria
Book Image

Linux Kernel Programming

By: Kaiwan N. Billimoria

Overview of this book

Linux Kernel Programming is a comprehensive introduction for those new to Linux kernel and module development. This easy-to-follow guide will have you up and running with writing kernel code in next-to-no time. This book uses the latest 5.4 Long-Term Support (LTS) Linux kernel, which will be maintained from November 2019 through to December 2025. By working with the 5.4 LTS kernel throughout the book, you can be confident that your knowledge will continue to be valid for years to come. You’ll start the journey by learning how to build the kernel from the source. Next, you’ll write your first kernel module using the powerful Loadable Kernel Module (LKM) framework. The following chapters will cover key kernel internals topics including Linux kernel architecture, memory management, and CPU scheduling. During the course of this book, you’ll delve into the fairly complex topic of concurrency within the kernel, understand the issues it can cause, and learn how they can be addressed with various locking technologies (mutexes, spinlocks, atomic, and refcount operators). You’ll also benefit from more advanced material on cache effects, a primer on lock-free techniques within the kernel, deadlock avoidance (with lockdep), and kernel lock debugging techniques. By the end of this kernel book, you’ll have a detailed understanding of the fundamentals of writing Linux kernel module code for real-world projects and products.
Table of Contents (19 chapters)
Section 1: The Basics
Writing Your First Kernel Module - LKMs Part 2
Section 2: Understanding and Working with the Kernel
Kernel Memory Allocation for Module Authors - Part 1
Kernel Memory Allocation for Module Authors - Part 2
Section 3: Delving Deeper
About Packt

An example of using memory barriers in a device driver

As one example, take the Realtek 8139 "fast Ethernet" network driver. In order to transmit a network packet via DMA, it must first set up a DMA (transmit) descriptor object. For this particular hardware (NIC chip), the DMA descriptor object is defined as follows:

//​ drivers/net/ethernet/realtek/8139cp.c
struct cp_desc {
__le32 opts1;
__le32 opts2;
__le64 addr;

The DMA descriptor object, christened struct cp_desc, has three "words." Each of them has to be initialized. Now, to ensure that the descriptor is correctly interpreted by the DMA controller, it's often critical that the writes to the DMA descriptor are seen in the same order as the driver author intends. To guarantee this, memory barriers are used. In fact, the relevant kernel documentation – the Dynamic DMA mapping Guide ( – tells us to ensure that...