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

Internal design

A word on the reality of the internal implementation of the mutex lock deep within the kernel fabric: Linux tries to implement a fast path approach when possible.

A fast path is the most optimized high-performance type of code path; for example, one with no locks and no blocking. The intent is to have code follow this fast path as far as possible. Only when it really isn't possible does the kernel fall back to a (possible) "mid path", and then a "slow path", approach; it still works but is slow(er).

This fast path is taken in the absence of contention for the lock (that is, the lock is in an unlocked state to begin with). So, the lock is locked with no fuss, pretty much immediately. If, however, the mutex is already locked, then the kernel typically uses a mid path optimistic spinning implementation, making it more of a hybrid (mutex/spinlock) lock type. If even this isn't possible, the "slow path" is...