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EBC Exercise 26 Device Drivers

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Chapter 8 of the text [1] gives a nice example of a minimal device driver. The purpose of this lab is to implement that driver.

Minimal Device Driver Example


Follow the 5 steps given in section 8.1.4 on page 205. You can get a copy of Listing 8-1 here (ECE497_Listings_for_Embedded_Linux_Primer_Chapter_8). Once finished you will have a file called hello1.c in .../drivers/char/examples and have the kernel configure file and Makefile updated for the new driver. See section 4.4 on page 89 for help with modifying the config files.

Note: There is a typo in Listing 8-2.

If you have created the file and sourced it, all you have to do to make the modules is cd to the top of the kernel directory and then:

$ make modules

Mine took a while the first time as it compiles all the modules. The second it only took 31 seconds.

Moving to Beagle

On the beagle edit /lib/modules/2.6.32/modules.dep and add


Then copy the file …/drivers/char/examples/hello1.ko on the host computer to /lib/modules/2.6.32/kernel/drivers/char/examples/ on your Beagle. This can be done with a single command though you may have to mkdir the char/examples directory on the Beagle first.

$ cd …/drivers/char/examples
$ rcp hello1.ko root@beagle:/lib/modules/2.6.32/kernel/drivers/char/examples

I suggest putting the rcp in a file since you may use it several times while developing your code.

Now, on the Beagle, modprobe the module and check the log file.

# /sbin/modprobe hello1
# dmesg | tail -4

You should see your Init message. And then...

# /sbin/modprobe -r hello1
# dmesg | tail -4

should show your Exit message.

Module Parameters

Section 8.1.7 on page 211 of the text shows how to pass a parameter to a module. Modify your hello1.c to take a parameter as shown.

Try passing two parameters.

Module Utilities

Play with the mod utilities listed in section 8.2 on page 212.

Driver Methods

Section 8.3 on page 217 gives a longer example of how to use the file interface with modules. Implement the example. Be sure to fix the unsigned int format error. When compiling the use-hello command be sure you are using the cross compiler for the ARM rather than the x86 compiler. If you sourced the file this should work:

$ ${CROSS_COMPILE}gcc -o use-hello use-hello.c
$ file use-hello

The file command will tell you if you got the right compiler.

Some questions...

  • The major device number 234 is part of a range of unassigned numbers. What is the range?
  • What's the new line added to hello_init do?
  • What does mknod do?
  • Once your device is running try $ cat /proc/devices. Do you see your device?

Optional: Stretch time, see chapter 3 of Linux Device Drivers by Corbet, Rubini and Kroah-Hartman (on dfs) for answers. I though these would be easy, but after reading up on them, they look rather involved.

  • How can your driver find what the minor device number is?
  • Modify the driver to return some characters when /dev/hello1 is read.