Linux Device Drivers, 3rd Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Released: February 2005
Pages: 640

Device drivers literally drive everything you're interested in--disks, monitors, keyboards, modems--everything outside the computer chip and memory. And writing device drivers is one of the few areas of programming for the Linux operating system that calls for unique, Linux-specific knowledge. For years now, programmers have relied on the classic Linux Device Drivers from O'Reilly to master this critical subject. Now in its third edition, this bestselling guide provides all the information you'll need to write drivers for a wide range of devices.

Over the years the book has helped countless programmers learn:

  • how to support computer peripherals under the Linux operating system
  • how to develop and write software for new hardware under Linux
  • the basics of Linux operation even if they are not expecting to write a driver
The new edition of Linux Device Drivers is better than ever. The book covers all the significant changes to Version 2.6 of the Linux kernel, which simplifies many activities, and contains subtle new features that can make a driver both more efficient and more flexible. Readers will find new chapters on important types of drivers not covered previously, such as consoles, USB drivers, and more.

Best of all, you don't have to be a kernel hacker to understand and enjoy this book. All you need is an understanding of the C programming language and some background in Unix system calls. And for maximum ease-of-use, the book uses full-featured examples that you can compile and run without special hardware.

Today Linux holds fast as the most rapidly growing segment of the computer market and continues to win over enthusiastic adherents in many application areas. With this increasing support, Linux is now absolutely mainstream, and viewed as a solid platform for embedded systems. If you're writing device drivers, you'll want this book. In fact, you'll wonder how drivers are ever written without it.

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oreillyLinux Device Drivers, 3rd Edition
 
3.2

(based on 10 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

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        Reviewed by 10 customers

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        (10 of 18 customers found this review helpful)

         
        2.0

        This book is only a starting point

        By Vish

        from Dallas, TX

        About Me Designer, Developer

        Verified Reviewer

        Pros

        • Concise
        • Well-written

        Cons

        • Not comprehensive enough
        • Too basic

        Best Uses

        • Novice

        Comments about oreilly Linux Device Drivers, 3rd Edition:

        I love Oreilly books in general. But I feel this book does not delve enough into practical examples. I feel it is too much theory and worse it does not cover enough concepts in the kernel. For example, it does not cover how input devices work, how frame buffer drivers work, how audio drivers work etc.

        I think "Essential Linux Device Drivers by Sreekrishnan Venkateswaran, Prentice Hall" is a much better book for kernel developers.

        I hope the next version of this book takes giving practical examples seriously and also include input/audio/framebuffer/graphics drivers as well.

        (9 of 14 customers found this review helpful)

         
        4.0

        this sample code is not practical.

        By chiajui

        from Taipei, Taiwan

        About Me Developer

        Pros

          Cons

          • Not comprehensive enough

          Best Uses

            Comments about oreilly Linux Device Drivers, 3rd Edition:

            the sample code of this book is not very practical.
            Lack of serial port driver sample. only has a very poor tty driver sample.

            (13 of 14 customers found this review helpful)

             
            2.0

            was great, but now out of date

            By ee

            from Irvine, CA

            About Me Developer

            Verified Reviewer

            Pros

            • Accurate
            • Concise
            • Easy to understand
            • Helpful examples
            • Well-written

            Cons

              Best Uses

                Comments about oreilly Linux Device Drivers, 3rd Edition:

                It used to be that the Linux kernel kept major changes for major number revisions (2.4, 2.6 etc). No longer. Texts like this have no hope at all keeping up. It was a great text however for the early 2.6 kernels, and I mourn it's passage into obsolescence. I dearly wish it could be updated quarterly.

                (0 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                3.0

                Short and general comments

                By Logicman112

                from Undisclosed

                Comments about oreilly Linux Device Drivers, 3rd Edition:

                Disk and storage stack is not dealt with. It is better to draw a picture of the kernel subsystems, logical and physical drivers first...

                (9 of 9 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                High-water mark for LDD development books

                By Janaka

                from Undisclosed

                Comments about oreilly Linux Device Drivers, 3rd Edition:

                Introduction

                I picked this book up as an experience embedded software engineer who wanted to explore and learn about Linux device drivers. With a background in real-time embedded software development(with some RTOS experience) and years of Linux/nix user/developer experience this book nicely matched my learning path.

                Layout of the book:

                The chapters are layed out in a logical and incremental fashion where introductory chapters stick to the big picture stuff while later on chapters delve deep in to the internals.

                Contents and Examples:

                Book takes the approach of explaining the subjects in concise manner with examples and interesting incite. However the code examples in many cases are incomplete, and duly so. I say this because the lot of examples, in their entirety, are provided on their web/ftp site.

                Currentness and compatibility:

                The book uses x86 as its platform and for its examples. I found some minor differences in API interfaces on other platforms(ppc). Also some of the latest kernels have altered some of the APIs slightly.

                For who:

                In my opinion this book is for software engineers/developers who has experience in C and Makefiles. Any embedded development experience will help understand why things are done the way they are and the deeper issues of concurrency and timing.

                Conclusion:

                This book is the benchmark for Linux device driver books. It is well set out and a easy read. To get the maximum out of the book you will need to play around with the examples/ideas that are covered in this book.

                (1 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                3.0

                Spotty Coverage of Mapping Device Memory

                By Kent

                from Undisclosed

                Comments about oreilly Linux Device Drivers, 3rd Edition:

                I was hoping to use the information in this book to

                help me write a driver to map some memory on a PCI

                Express card to user space. While the book has lots

                of partial examples that discuss how this could be

                done, there is no complete example of a driver that

                does this. I found this more than a little disappointing since it appears that there is a relatively complex sequence of events needed to pull this off.

                (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                4.0

                Very bad spanish translation

                By jlz

                from Undisclosed

                Comments about oreilly Linux Device Drivers, 3rd Edition:

                My english is not good, so I will buy spanish version of the book. The book is good but the spanish translation is very, very ,very bad. I hope more for a 44 book.

                Thanks.

                (2 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                3.0

                Disappointing but no alternative

                By Anonymous

                from Undisclosed

                Comments about oreilly Linux Device Drivers, 3rd Edition:

                This book has negative and positive sides:

                Negative: the 3rd editions contains many wrong references to non-existing paragraphs etc. Very annoying if you want to follow the discussions. Many code snippets are unnecessary complicated which makes the general line of thought sometimes difficult to follow. For people with low knowledge of the kernel this will be a stopper. All listings are incomplete, but the online examples are no help either: it's an unordered set of files, sometimes not working or at least too little explanatory text.

                There are not many alternative texts on this subject with all these details, so the book is a must-have for anybody who starts to write kernel modules. A very good outline of kernel characteristics wrt writing modules etc. Read it without a bottom-up approach in mind - you will need a lot more information, but this can be easily found on internet.

                It was nice to see that many of the 2.4 kernel issues have been refreshed for 2.6.

                (1 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                1.0

                A little disappointed

                By Anonymous

                from Undisclosed

                Comments about oreilly Linux Device Drivers, 3rd Edition:

                I bought this book, after having very good experiences with the first two editions and now I'm a bit disappointed.

                The main reason for buying was the "Backwards compatibility" section of each chapter, which contained some very nice hints and suggestions in the last two editions.

                Although being a nice book for kernel 2.6 only development, this book is not the book I wanted to buy, since I do still have to compare between several sources in order to get the information I need.

                (6 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                Can't Work Without It

                By John

                from Undisclosed

                Comments about oreilly Linux Device Drivers, 3rd Edition:

                As a professional developer with Linux drivers deployed in the field, I can honestly say there is no way I could do it without this book; or at least not without a lot of headache, guesswork, uncertainty, inefficiency, and more time than any manager is willing to allot for a project! From the 1st edition to the 3rd, "Linux Device Drivers" is the bible of Linux device driver development.

                My only criticism of the book (all editions) is Chapter 2, which describes the build process. This is the chapter that always leaves the most questions unanswered. For the 3rd edition in particular, the content is certainly sufficient for small-scale projects and hobbyists, but it is not sufficient for production environments with large development trees. For anything significant, be prepared to resort to trial and error.

                On the other hand, I'd hate to try to build even the simplest driver without the information that is presented in Chapter 2!

                Not only is this book a "must-read" for any Linux driver developer, but it is also an indispensible desk resource that will be referred to often... and frequently borrowed by colleagues throughout the office! This book isn't a dust collector.

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