University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Computer Laboratory Computer Architecture Group Meeting > Device Mechanism: Rethinking Driver Development

Device Mechanism: Rethinking Driver Development

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Drivers are the biggest source of errors on operating systems. Despite that every device fulfills a restricted set of functions and can be accessed in a single way, there are multiple driver implementations for the same device. Moreover, programming languages and system libraries for drivers lack native support for structures of device control. We target these lacks in two ways, by the definition of a coherent software device interface, the device mechanism, and by providing a systematic composition method for it in which the control structures of devices have semantic meaning. The device mechanism provides an image of the functions provided by the device while abstracting the device control structures. The systematic composition handles the description and access of the device control structures facilitating the development of the interface. On the example of a driver for a Philips webcam, we show the advantages of explicit semantics for the driver development. With the device mechanism approach, the hardware functionality is completely exported as a software interface easing the development of the remaining driver code specific to an operating system. Finally, with the systematic composition, device structures have native description and their access is standardized and thus, released from driver code.

This talk is part of the Computer Laboratory Computer Architecture Group Meeting series.

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