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Design and Implementation of a Userspace Net Card Driver

Honggang Yang, Distributed and Embedded System Lab School of Information Science and Engineering Lanzhou University, China
Nicholas McGuire, Distributed and Embedded System Lab School of Information Science and Engineering Lanzhou University, China

 

In safety-critical area, if a application relies on the Linux kernel network stack, the entire Linux kernel network stack has to be verified, because it is a safety-related part. Since the network subsystem is one of the largest kernel components, its complexity makes the verification work very difficult. However, in practice, we often only need simple receive and transmit operations. So we can implement a userspace network driver based on the UIO framework of the Linux kernel which can bypass the Linux kernel network stack, but also meet our requirements. This will greatly simplify our safety certification work. Meanwhile, there are other advantages. The userspace driver error will never crash the kernel, and the maintenance of the userspace driver is easier than the in-kernel one, for example. This article introduces the design and implementation of a userspace RTL8139 network card driver.