Preface

This is, on the surface, a book about writing device drivers for the Linux system. That is a worthy goal, of course; the flow of new hardware products is not likely to slow down anytime soon, and somebody is going to have to make all those new gadgets work with Linux. But this book is also about how the Linux kernel works and how to adapt its workings to your needs or interests. Linux is an open system; with this book, we hope, it is more open and accessible to a larger community of developers.

This is the third edition of Linux Device Drivers. The kernel has changed greatly since this book was first published, and we have tried to evolve the text to match. This edition covers the 2.6.10 kernel as completely as we are able. We have, this time around, elected to omit the discussion of backward compatibility with previous kernel versions. The changes from 2.4 are simply too large, and the 2.4 interface remains well documented in the (freely available) second edition.

This edition contains quite a bit of new material relevant to the 2.6 kernel. The discussion of locking and concurrency has been expanded and moved into its own chapter. The Linux device model, which is new in 2.6, is covered in detail. There are new chapters on the USB bus and the serial driver subsystem; the chapter on PCI has also been enhanced. While the organization of the rest of the book resembles that of the earlier editions, every chapter has been thoroughly updated.

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