Book Image

Linux Kernel Programming Part 2 - Char Device Drivers and Kernel Synchronization

By : Kaiwan N Billimoria
Book Image

Linux Kernel Programming Part 2 - Char Device Drivers and Kernel Synchronization

By: Kaiwan N Billimoria

Overview of this book

Linux Kernel Programming Part 2 - Char Device Drivers and Kernel Synchronization is an ideal companion guide to the Linux Kernel Programming book. This book provides a comprehensive introduction for those new to Linux device driver development and will have you up and running with writing misc class character device driver code (on the 5.4 LTS Linux kernel) in next to no time. You'll begin by learning how to write a simple and complete misc class character driver before interfacing your driver with user-mode processes via procfs, sysfs, debugfs, netlink sockets, and ioctl. You'll then find out how to work with hardware I/O memory. The book covers working with hardware interrupts in depth and helps you understand interrupt request (IRQ) allocation, threaded IRQ handlers, tasklets, and softirqs. You'll also explore the practical usage of useful kernel mechanisms, setting up delays, timers, kernel threads, and workqueues. Finally, you'll discover how to deal with the complexity of kernel synchronization with locking technologies (mutexes, spinlocks, and atomic/refcount operators), including more advanced topics such as cache effects, a primer on lock-free techniques, deadlock avoidance (with lockdep), and kernel lock debugging techniques. By the end of this Linux kernel book, you'll have learned the fundamentals of writing Linux character device driver code for real-world projects and products.
Table of Contents (11 chapters)
Section 1: Character Device Driver Basics
User-Kernel Communication Pathways
Handling Hardware Interrupts
Working with Kernel Timers, Threads, and Workqueues
Section 2: Delving Deeper

Determining which lock to use in practice

So, operating under the t_locked < 2 * t_ctxsw "rule" might be great in theory, but hang on: are you really expected to precisely measure the context switch time and the time spent in the critical section of each and every case where one (critical section) exists? No, of course not that's pretty unrealistic and pedantic.

Practically speaking, think about it this way: the mutex lock works by having the loser threads sleep upon the unlock; the spinlock does not (the losers "spin"). Let's recall one of our golden rules of the Linux kernel: a kernel cannot sleep (call schedule()) in any kind of atomic context. Thus, we can never use the mutex lock in an interrupt context, or indeed in any context where it isn't safe to sleep; using the spinlock, however, would be fine. (Remember, a blocking API is one that puts the calling context to sleep by calling schedule...