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Linux Device Drivers, 3rd Edition Paperback – February 14, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 640 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 3 edition (February 14, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596005903
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596005900
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #110,844 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jonathan Corbet got his first look at the BSD Unix source back in 1981, when an instructor at the University of Colorado let him "fix" the paging algorithm. He has been digging around inside every system he could get his hands on ever since, working on drivers for VAX, Sun, Ardent, and x86 systems on the way. He got his first Linux system in 1993, and has never looked back. Mr. Corbet is currently the co-founder and executive editor of Linux Weekly News (http://LWN.net/); he lives in Boulder, Colorado with his wife and two children.

Alessandro installed Linux 0.99.14 soon after getting his degree as electronic engineer. He then received a Ph.D. in computer science at the University of Pavia despite his aversion toward modern technology. He left the University after getting his Ph.D. because he didn't want to write articles. He now works as a free lancer writing device drivers and, um...articles. He used to be a young hacker before his babies were born; he's now an old advocate of Free Software who developed a bias for non-PC computer platforms.

Greg Kroah-Hartman has been writing Linux kernel drivers since 1999, and is currently the maintainer for the USB, PCI, I2C, driver core, and sysfs kernel subsystems. He is also the maintainer of the udev and hotplug userspace programs, as well as being a Gentoo kernel maintainer, ensuring that his email inbox is never empty. He is a contributing editor to Linux Journal Magazine, and works for IBM's Linux Technology Center, doing various Linux kernel related tasks.

Customer Reviews

I specially like the examples, very helpful and illustrative.
Alex Moreno
Most of the time I ended up just searching google, and got better results.
d. time
This is a great book if you want to learn about Linux device drivers.
peluk

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By d. time on July 15, 2010
Format: Paperback
Honestly, I really don't understand how anyone can give this book 5 stars. To start off on a positive tone, I'll say what I liked about it.

1) Lots of information. There is no denying this, it is very informitive. However, this is a double edged swords (will discuss later)

2) The basic drivers are described pretty well. The scull driver is a good way to ease into driver development, imo. Simple enough that it's not too overwhelming and ununderstandable, but not overly simple so that you actually get an idea of what's going on.

3) It's free.

That's it for the positives. Now for a huge list of negatives.

1) Most of the information is irrelevent. I feel like the authors lost focus as the book went on, and forgot they were not writing a general "Linux Kernel" book but a specific book for drivers. Many a time do they spend pages upon pages going on about something, only to mention "but this is never used by read driver developers" at the end. You end up in a really unpleasant situation where you have to sift through a bunch of useless info to get to the useful stuff. Most of the time I ended up just searching google, and got better results.

2) Lack of more complex examples. Let's face it, no one needs to write an extremely simple char driver. However, that's as complex as the examples get. Beyond the scull driver, it's just code fragments. I sincerely hope you don't have to write a serial tty device. Which leads me to my next point.

3) Outdated. Many kernel API changes have been made to the point where the code is no longer compilable (especially on the tty front). Methods used in the book have been done away with in the newer kernel API's.

Honestly, you're much better off just resorting to Google.
Read more ›
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Gregor A. Glawitsch on December 26, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book specifically to learn how to write a block device driver for CentOS 6.3 / RHEL 6.3

Alas, Linux has moved on since the 3rd edition was printed (2009) and kernel functions used in the example code, like elv_next_request(), or macros like blk_fs_request(), have since been *removed* from Linux, rendering this book somewhat obsolete.

For my driver, I need worker threads, and these can be implemented by means of workqueues.
Workqueues are a very important tool for the driver writer - basically, they are the kernel equivalent of user-space pthreads. If you want your driver to do things in parallel, you pretty much have to use workqueues.
Unfortunately, while there is a section on workqueues in this book, this section is rather short - just a few pages long.

All in all, this book did not meet my expectations.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Vijay Venkatraman on October 12, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book is not for Linux (kernel) newbies but for those who already know their way around the kernel and seek detailed info on certain parts of it. This book has some good overviews on different subsystems of the Linux kernel. Some sections, like USB, have been expanded since the second edition of this book. I would have liked to see a section on the new 2.6 scheduler.

If you want to start off with Linux kernel programming, I would recommend Linux Kernel Development by Robert Love. These books, together with articles on the web, should certainly help anyone interested.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Magnus Gille on June 30, 2011
Format: Paperback
This book is becoming dated and it is showing sometimes. Some APIs no longer work or have changed but such is the nature of the Linux kernel and as a device driver developer you should be prepared to face this. Thankfully there hasn't been any major change (such as removing of bottom halves) although there are things on the horizon that will have an impact on this books subject. I wish the authors would consider writing a 4th edition of it, but this is as I said still the best on the subject as far as I know and I use it all the time when I'm developing device drivers.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Yong Zhi on May 8, 2009
Format: Paperback
I have read both this book and Sreekrishnan Venkateswaran's Essential Linux Device Drivers, both are excellent, I prefer this one on generic topics such as:

Chapter 5. Concurrency and race conditions
Chapter 8. Allocating memory
Chapter 10. Interrupt Handling
Chapter 14. The Linux Device Model

How ever Sreekrishnan's book covers video and audio driver which are useful for my work.

As for styles, both keep a good balance of "how" and "why", I think the "why" parts are more important, the whole s/w is all about concepts.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By T. Mikov on December 12, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Even though the third edition is showing its age - it covers kernel version 2.6.10, which is terribly old - in my opinion this is still the best book on the subject.

Generally, it is not possible to create an up to date tutorial for programming the Linux kernel, since it changes constantly. SO, the key is to introduce the reader to the way of thinking necessary in order to understand and develop for the kernel. I think this book succeeds marvelously.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful By pepe guapo on August 1, 2006
Format: Paperback
If you are trying to learn how to write Linux Device drivers from scratch, this is probably not the book for you. I believe I am somewhat C/C++ savvy, and I expect sample code that is less than 10 lines of code to compile correctly.

The sample code did not compile, and although the book has a lot of tidbits of good information, overall it is not very useful for a developer.
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