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Essential Linux Device Drivers (Prentice Hall Open Source Software Development Series)

“Probably the most wide ranging and complete Linux device driver book I’ve read.”

--Alan Cox, Linux Guru and Key Kernel Developer


“Very comprehensive and detailed, covering almost every single Linux device driver type.”

--Theodore Ts’o, First Linux Kernel Developer in North America and Chief Platform Strategist of the Linux Foundation


The Most Practical Guide to Writing Linux Device Drivers

Linux now offers an exceptionally robust environment for driver development: with today’s kernels, what once required years of development time can be accomplished in days. In this practical, example-driven book, one of the world’s most experienced Linux driver developers systematically demonstrates how to develop reliable Linux drivers for virtually any device. Essential Linux Device Drivers is for any programmer with a working knowledge of operating systems and C, including programmers who have never written drivers before. Sreekrishnan Venkateswaran focuses on the essentials, bringing together all the concepts and techniques you need, while avoiding topics that only matter in highly specialized situations. Venkateswaran begins by reviewing the Linux 2.6 kernel capabilities that are most relevant to driver developers. He introduces simple device classes; then turns to serial buses such as I2C and SPI; external buses such as PCMCIA, PCI, and USB; video, audio, block, network, and wireless device drivers; user-space drivers; and drivers for embedded Linux–one of today’s fastest growing areas of Linux development. For each, Venkateswaran explains the technology, inspects relevant kernel source files, and walks through developing a complete example.


• Addresses drivers discussed in no other book, including drivers for I2C, video, sound, PCMCIA, and different types of flash memory

• Demystifies essential kernel services and facilities, including kernel threads and helper interfaces

• Teaches polling, asynchronous notification, and I/O control

• Introduces the Inter-Integrated Circuit Protocol for embedded Linux drivers

• Covers multimedia device drivers using the Linux-Video subsystem and Linux-Audio framework

• Shows how Linux implements support for wireless technologies such as Bluetooth, Infrared, WiFi, and cellular networking

• Describes the entire driver development lifecycle, through debugging and maintenance

• Includes reference appendixes covering Linux assembly, BIOS calls, and Seq files

About the Author

Sreekrishnan Venkateswaran has spent more than a decade working in IBM product development laboratories. He has ported Linux to devices ranging from wristwatches and music players to PDAs, VoIP phones, and even pacemaker programmers. He was a Contributing Editor and kernel columnist for Linux Magazine for more than two years.

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