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Project 008: A Block Device Drivers Development

Program Overview

Offering a course on Linux block device driver development involves covering theoretical concepts, practical programming skills, kernel architecture understanding, and hands-on experience with Linux kernel code. The course is structured to guide learners from basic to advanced topics, ensuring they gain a solid foundation in kernel development and specific knowledge related to block device drivers. Here's a proposed outline for such a course...

Target Audience

Professionals: Embedded systems engineers, kernel developers, and hardware engineers interested in Linux driver development.
Students: Advanced computer science or engineering students with a strong interest in low-level programming and operating systems.
Hobbyists: Tech enthusiasts with a background in Linux and programming, looking to expand their skills into driver development.


* 15 sessions, each lasting 1 hour, delivered over 5 weeks.
* The course will conclude with a project that leverages cloud network architecture and cloud-based servers for a real-world application.

Learning Objective

This course aims to equip participants with the knowledge and skills necessary to develop and debug block device drivers in the Linux kernel. It covers kernel programming basics, Linux device model, block subsystem architecture, data structures, and interfaces essential for block device driver development. Through a combination of theoretical instruction and practical exercises, participants will learn how to create, optimize, and maintain block device drivers for Linux.


Proficiency in C programming
Basic understanding of Linux/Unix command line usage
Familiarity with operating system concepts
Experience with kernel or driver development is must
The participant must have already implemented character device driver...

Course Curriculum

Dive into Block Device Drivers
Block Device Driver Architecture: Detailed examination of how block device drivers fit into the Linux kernel, including their role, structure, and interaction with other kernel components.
Device Registration: Steps for registering a block device within the kernel, including allocating major and minor numbers and understanding the gendisk structure.
Initialization of Block Devices: Setting up the block device's gendisk, the request queue, and handling module parameters for dynamic configuration.
Data Management and I/O Scheduling
Understanding Bio Structures: Deep dive into bio structures, which represent block I/O operations in the kernel, including how they are created, submitted, and processed.
Request Queues: How block I/O requests are managed and scheduled in the kernel, including the role of request queues and how they interact with bio structures.
I/O Schedulers: Overview of the different I/O schedulers available in the Linux kernel, their characteristics, and how to select and configure them for specific workloads.
Advanced Topics in Block Device Drivers
Direct Memory Access (DMA): How DMA is used in block device drivers to improve I/O efficiency by transferring data directly between device memory and user space, bypassing the CPU.
Asynchronous I/O Operations: Techniques for implementing asynchronous I/O in block device drivers to enhance performance and responsiveness.
Caching and Writeback Strategies: Understanding the kernel's caching mechanisms and how block device drivers can implement writeback strategies to manage data integrity and performance.
Project Work
Project Assignment: Participants will start by designing a simple block device driver, such as a RAM disk, that can perform basic read/write operations.
Development Phase: Participants will implement their design, focusing on initializing the block device, handling I/O requests, and ensuring data integrity.
Testing and Debugging: Emphasis on practical debugging techniques specific to kernel development, including the use of printk, kdb, and kgdb for troubleshooting driver issues.
Project Presentation and Review
Presentation: Participants will present their block device driver projects, outlining the design, implementation challenges, and solutions.
Code Review: In-depth code review sessions to provide constructive feedback, discuss optimization strategies, and reinforce best practices in kernel module development.
Course Wrap-Up: Final discussions on maintaining and contributing to Linux kernel code, including how to stay updated with the latest kernel developments and participate in the open-source community.
Course Delivery
Online: Utilize a custom Learning Management System (LMS) for a wider reach.
In-person: Conduct classes in a classroom setting, which is particularly beneficial for hands-on labs and real-time debugging sessions.
Hybrid: Combine online theory sessions with in-person or virtual labs for flexibility and hands-on experience.
Training Methodology
Lectures: Develop slides and lecture notes that cover both theoretical concepts and practical applications.
Hands-On Labs: Design lab exercises and projects that give students hands-on experience in writing, debugging, and testing drivers.
Reading Assignments: Curate a list of resources, such as kernel documentation, books, and articles on driver development.
Videos: Create or curate video tutorials to demonstrate key concepts and coding techniques.
Participants will gain hands-on experience with:
The intricacies of block device driver architecture and operation within the Linux kernel.
Implementing, managing, and optimizing I/O operations and scheduling for block devices.
Advanced kernel programming techniques, including DMA and asynchronous I/O.
Developing, debugging, and maintaining block device drivers in a Linux environment.
This course structure is designed to quickly immerse participants in the complexities of block device driver development, providing a rich, hands-on learning experience that prepares them for real-world challenges in Linux kernel development.



A Block device driver provides access to the block devices that transfer randomly accessible data in fixed size of blocks .All the mass storage devices are Block devices so they all need block driver i.e. Pen drive, hard disk .A block is a fixed size of junk of data determined by the linux kernel . Blocks are generally 4096 of bytes generally but their size depends on the architecture and the file system type . Block drivers are conduit between core memory and secondary storage because modern systems with virtual memory shift unneeded data to the secondary storage . Similarly a Sector is small size of block which size is usually determined by the underlying hardware . Today block devices becomes necessary part to store large amount of data .

About Linux Block Device Driver. click here ...

Training and Project Resources. click here...

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