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Linux driver - binary builder kit (BBK)

1. Introduction

The Linux loadable kernel module / LKM (driver) is viewed as an 'abomination' by the Linux kernel developer's community.

A choice is given to LKM to:
1. either come and humbly join the linux kernel
2. or, suffer eternally through the pains and hell of rebuilding thousands of times for each combination of ->
build[system hardware][kernel release][distribution]

Taking the first choice will lead to reveling the source code of the driver, putting it to the scrutiny of the kernel developer's community, and eventually incorporating it in the kernel.

The initial developer - individual or a company, may get being listed in the 'credits' section of a specific source, however no longer will own or control the code.

In exchange for the benefit of being supported on any kernel, the code becomes a commodity which may be exploited by anyone - including competitors of the initial developer.

Taking the second choice means that a unique binary of the driver has to be build, and this binary can load and work only on the same or an identical computer system.

Any difference in the computer hardware - for ex. different motherboard, and the driver binary is not going to load, even when the kernel and distro are the same.

Any difference in the Linux kernel - for ex. a patch or the next release, and the driver binary is not going to load, even when the hardware and distro are the same.

Any difference in the distribution - for ex. a patch or the next release, and the driver binary is not going to load, even when the computer and the kernel are the same.

Solutions to this issue place limitations to both - the provider/company, and customer/user:
- the user can get the source code to build the driver however has to sign a NDA
- or, the company will sell a complete system which includes the hardware
- or, a single or a team of driver developers has to constantly deal with updating and patching customers

Is there another way:
- where a driver binary, once built on one environment will load and work on many other Linux environments?
- and, where the source code of the driver will be proprietary, kept outside of the Linux kernel?
- and, it will be quick and easy for the driver developer to add features, verify the work and provide driver updates?
- and where the customer will have the freedom to do updates of the hardware or the system software - kernel / distro, any time they wish?

We, ARS Technologies are providing the - 'Linux driver binary builder kit' product to do all of the above and more.

II. How does 'Linux driver binary builder kit' work?

'Linux driver binary builder kit (BBK)' is a software package containing - utilities, samples, and Linux kernel releases.

There are 2 phases of in the use of the kit -
- development phase
- deployment phase

In the first phase the driver developer who uses the BBK will boot different Linux releases, and build and produce a binary of a driver - for ex. 'abcd.ko' .

Having several 32bit and 64bit binaries of the 'abcd.ko' driver the developer uses utilities of the 'Linux binary driver builder kit' to check the binaries against multiple kernels.
Issues are pointed out and ways of solving them are suggested.

When issues are solved the driver developer builds an image which includes one or more driver binaries. This image and one of our utilities are included in the Linux release software of the driver developer's company.

During the second phase - deployment, the installation software for the Linux release calls our utility, which selects one driver from the image, and produces a file which will load on the current Linux build combination of ->
build[system hardware][kernel release][distribution]

In addition to plain Linux kernels (pL), the Android Linux (aL) kernels are covered as well, on both x86 (32/64b), and ARM hardware systems.

If the customers (users of the re-built driver) do an upgrade of any or all the components of the system, they will need to either re-run the install the Linux release software, or merely call again our utility.

III. Benefits

This presentation is intended for:
- Linux driver developers
- team managers
- COO/CEO/CFO executives
The benefits of using of the 'Linux binary driver builder kit' to the driver developers are:
1. multiple processor architectures
Currently covered are Linux releases for 'x86' (32bit and 64bit) processors and ARM processors, pL and aL kernels;

2. cross platform development
Our utilities work on 3 platforms - Linux, Mac OS X, Windows;
once several x86 and/or ARM driver binaries are produced, the driver developer can use our utilities with the binaries on a Mac or a Windows system;
if working on a 64bit Linux system, the driver developer can still deal with both x86 (64bit and 32bit) and ARM driver binaries;

2. development speed
verifying of drivers against different kernels takes only minutes of time;
once familiar with the process, a driver developer can produce binaries which verify ok first time ;

After witnessing the benefits experienced by the developers, a team manager can plan accordingly the schedule and completion of projects, and experience:

1. Shorter project completion time
New driver development or updates may takes lot less time.

2. reduced or disappearing customer issues
No longer may be required solving issues as a result of changes or updates of the customer's hardware and software

A driver developer is a special and precious type of a software engineer.
COO/CEO/CFO executives may find that they can accomplish more with their headcount of driver developers, while using of a tool like 'Linux driver binary builder kit'.

IV. Pricing and Ordering

The pricing model for the 'Linux binary driver builder kit' is 'per user', and has initial - one time cost component, and a recurring - on monthly basis component.

What this means is that you will need to estimate the number of deployments of the BBK.
This number will be multiplied to the initial - cost component and will be charged one time.
In addition, the number of deployments will be multiplied to the recurring cost componnet and will be charged monthly .
To place an order please go to -
LD-BBK product page

The 'Linux binary driver builder kit' will evolve continuously with new releases - having solved issues, and adding new features.

We provide free support by e-mail, and have paid support which includes phone support.

In addition, we have - testing services. For example, if you have a specific Linux kernel or distro, we can install and test the BBK with it - 'in house'.
If issues are found we can work for solving them for free, and post them in the next software release.

You can request development of specific features which are outside of the BBK product. If we agree on adding them - we can estimate and charge development time for the work.
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