In this chapter
One of the more challenging aspects of system design is partitioning functionality in a rational manner. The familiar device driver model found in UNIX and Linux provides a natural partitioning of functionality between your application code and hardware or kernel devices. In this chapter, we develop an understanding of this model and the basics of Linux device driver architecture. After reading this chapter, you will have a solid foundation for continuing your study of device drivers using one of the excellent texts listed at the end of this chapter.
This chapter begins by presenting Linux device driver concepts and the build system for drivers within the kernel source tree. We examine the Linux device driver architecture and present a simple working example driver. We introduce the user space utilities for loading and unloading kernel modules. We present a simple application to illustrate the interface between applications and device drivers. We conclude this chapter with a discussion of device drivers and the GNU Public License.