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Old 05-13-2005, 07:12 AM   #1
Registered: Nov 2003
Location: Bloomington, IL, USA
Distribution: Fedora Core 3
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Device driver code

I'm trying to learn how to write device drivers for kernel 2.6. I cam across the following piece of code, part of a module which is supposed to create a /proc file, and if several processes try to open it at the same time, put all but one to sleep.

static int module_open(struct inode *inode, struct file *file)
	 * If the file's flags include O_NONBLOCK, it means the process doesn't
	 * want to wait for the file.  In this case, if the file is already 
	 * open, we should fail with -EAGAIN, meaning "you'll have to try 
	 * again", instead of blocking a process which would rather stay awake.
	if ((file->f_flags & O_NONBLOCK) && Already_Open)
		return -EAGAIN


	/* If the file is already open, wait until it isn't */
	while (Already_Open) {
		int i, is_sig = 0;

		 * This function puts the current process, including any system
		 * calls, such as us, to sleep.  Execution will be resumed right
		 * after the function call, either because somebody called 
		 * wake_up(&WaitQ) (only module_close does that, when the file 
		 * is closed) or when a signal, such as Ctrl-C, is sent 
		 * to the process
		wait_event_interruptible(WaitQ, !Already_Open);

		 * If we woke up because we got a signal we're not blocking, 
		 * return -EINTR (fail the system call).  This allows processes
		 * to be killed or stopped.

	        for (i = 0; i < _NSIG_WORDS && !is_sig; i++)
			is_sig =
			    current->pending.signal.sig[i] & ~current->

		if (is_sig) {
			return -EINTR;

	/* Open the file */
	Already_Open = 1;
	return 0;		/* Allow the access */
Now, I don't understand when this function module_open is called. How can I demonstrate to myself an example of what this module does? That is, how to "open the file" so that another one can't access it and goes to sleep so that I have to Ctrl-C ?

Old 05-13-2005, 09:02 AM   #2
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The module_open function is called when the module gets installed into the system. Think of this like int main() for kernel modules. Usually you would also have a corresponding module_close function that cleans up when the module is removed from the system.

The Linux Devices Drivers book is a good starting point to learning how drivers work. The free on-line version covers the 2.4 kernel, but the interface is pretty much identical.

The thrid edition is now available as well, and covers the 2.6 kernel specifically.
Old 05-13-2005, 09:20 AM   #3
Registered: Nov 2003
Location: Bloomington, IL, USA
Distribution: Fedora Core 3
Posts: 126

Original Poster
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Thanks for the reply jtshaw. Yeah, I know about Linux Device Drivers and am using it, the 3rd edition (like the previous ones) has also been release for free under GPL!

I have a question: the prupose of this module seems to be that when the file is opened (the module is installed as per what you said) another process should not be able to open the file. What does the author mean by that? Does he mean that another process can't open the file /proc/sleep? I can still open /proc/sleep and the process does not go to sleep :/


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