Linux kernel driver developer

Who is a Linux kernel driver developer?

A Linux kernel driver developer is someone who’s main job is to program the deepest layer of the Linux Operating system, the Linux kernel. The kernel is basically designed to facilitate the deepest functionalities of a computer which may include memory management, process scheduling and input output processing. All these functions are expected to be performed by the Linux Kernel which is developed by a Linux kernel driver developer.

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As a brief introduction, the Linux Operating system is subdivided into two parts; user space and kernel space basically. The user space is the part where the user interacts with the front end, also known as the graphical user interface of the system. On the other hand Linux Kernel drivers are basically the lowest level included in the hardware which acts as an intermediary which directly communicates with the hardware for any function to be performed. These drivers are basically shared in a common space in the form of a library, every functionality that must be managed by the Linux kernel is stored in these drivers and they make management of routine tasks easy. One of the motivations behind a working Linux operating system is to shroud the idiosyncrasies of the framework’s devices from its stakeholders. For instance the Virtual File System presents a uniform perspective on the mounted file systems independent of the hidden physical hardware devices. The hardware device can only be accessed or communicated with the help of the Kernel layer. 

linux kernel driver developer

The duties of a Linux kernel driver developer are to make sure the drivers he works with are efficient enough to handle multiple processes at a single time and can assist processes concurrently. The low level binaries and libraries used in the development of these Linux kernel drivers are managed by a Linux kernel driver developer. The developer uses basic C language, which is a computer understandable language. Also, the library this developer works with is the lib c library and it is something which doesn’t merely coexist in the kernel. The Linux kernel driver developer manages the single entry and exit point. Once a kernel has been created by him, he uses commands like Lsmod which views the currently loaded kernel, Insmod which loads the current kernel module along with the root permissions, Rmmod which removes the already loaded kernel module. 

Duties of a Linux Kernel Driver Developer:

A Linux driver developer of kernel is responsible of creating and maintaining configurations of the Petalinux such as U-Boot and Linux kernel configuration along with dispatching it. He is also responsible to log storage which is uploaded and streamed and perform remote diagnosis over SATCOM etc.

Along with the creation of configurations, he shall also make sure the configurations created are bug free and make sure proper unit tests are created along with integration testing.

linux kernel driver developer

The duties of this developer also requires him to have a vast knowledge about TCP/IP, IPv4 and IPv6 networking. The duties merely focus on not only developing a Linux kernel driver but also to manage and test it by using both unit and hard in the loop tests.

The Linux driver developer is not only required to develop, but to make sure the designs he creates  meet the highest levels of scalability, flexibility and energy efficiency. Engaging with upstream communities is always a plus point when working with Linux kernel based projects.

How much time does it take to become a Linux kernel driver developer?

The time required to become any programming developer starts basically from the four years computer science degree where the basics of programming are taught. In contrast, it is not very essential to possess a computer science degree; it depends on the state of mind of the person completely. If the programming skills are good enough and the learning pace is significantly fast, becoming a Linux driver kernel developer is no huge task. The requirements of becoming a goof Linux kernel driver developer are as follows:

  1. Learn the C language: Although, anyone wanting to become a Linux kernel driver developer must possess high level knowledge of C language programming as it is the first step and most parts of the Linux kernels ar written in C. If even lower levels are targeted of the Linux kernel, the hardware architecture information must be studied along with assembly language.
  2. Data structure and Algorithms: The second core of the Kernel development of Linux OS is the knowledge of data structures and algorithms. The algorithms here mean the step by step approach to solve any problem, considering all the possible ways and choosing the most efficient one. All these skills must be learned via enrolling in a four year degree program or self-learning, all what matters in the end is not the ‘time’ taken in becoming one, but the knowledge and skills learned in the mean-time. 
  3. Knowledge about OS and competitive programming: Lastly, one shall have vast knowledge about the operating system and its design principles and functionalities. Although the knowledge about aforementioned is enough, experience in competitive programming will definitely be a plus. It is basically solving programming problems where the resources such as time and memory are limited. This is recommended because of the rapidly changing technology where a new bug rises everyday and the developer shall have enough capacity to overcome any emergency. GeeksforGeeks can be used to practice competitive programming.

What type of projects does a he work with?

The Linux Driver developer tends to manage the projects where hardware devices are embedded with device drivers where they’re statically located. An example of a project where a Linux developer would work is:

Digital signal processing in embedded systems: The projects where digital signal processing is done can be of the following types; Speech recognition using digital signal processing, digital camcorder, PDA camera, home networking, or even iSTB. All these devices would require a digital signal processing embedded which would be operated via a Linux kernel developed by a specialized developer in this field.

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