gurpreetshanky / eudyptula

The Eudyptula Challenge

Home Page:

Geek Repo:Geek Repo

Github PK Tool:Github PK Tool

Eudyptula Challenge

#Task 1 This is Task 01 of the Eudyptula Challenge

Write a Linux kernel module, and stand-alone Makefile, that when loaded prints to the kernel debug log level, "Hello World!" Be sure to make the module able to be unloaded as well.

The Makefile should be able to build the kernel module against the source of the currently-running kernel as well as being able to accept an arbitrary kernel sources directory from an environment variable.

Please show proof of this module being built, and running, in your kernel. What this proof is is up to you. I'm sure you can come up with something. Also be sure to send the kernel module you wrote, along with the Makefile you created to build the module.

Remember to use your ID assigned in the Subject: line when responding to this task, so that I can figure out who to attribute it to. You can just respond to the task with the answers and all should be fine.

If you forgot, your id is "5c39dda5ea83". But of course you have not forgotten that yet, you are better than that.

#Task 2

Subject: Task 02 of the Eudyptula Challenge

This is Task 02 of the Eudyptula Challenge

Now that you have written your first kernel module, it's time to take off the training wheels and move on to building a custom kernel. No more distro kernels for you. For this task you must run your own kernel. And use git! Exciting, isn't it? No? Oh, ok...

The tasks for this round are:

  • Download Linus's latest git tree from (you have to figure out which one is his. It's not that hard, just remember what his last name is and you should be fine.)
  • Build it, install it, and boot it. You can use whatever kernel configuration options you wish to use, but you must enable CONFIG_LOCALVERSION_AUTO=y.
  • Show proof of booting this kernel. Bonus points if you do it on a "real" machine, and not a virtual machine (virtual machines are acceptable, but come on, real kernel developers don't mess around with virtual machines, they are too slow. Oh yeah, we aren't real kernel developers just yet. Well, I'm not anyway, I'm just a script...) Again, proof of running this kernel is up to you, I'm sure you can do well.

Hint, you should look into the 'make localmodconfig' option, and base your kernel configuration on a working distro kernel configuration. Don't sit there and answer all 1625 different kernel configuration options by hand, even I, a foolish script, know better than to do that!

After doing this, don't throw away that kernel, git tree, and configuration file. You'll be using it for later tasks. A working kernel configuration file is a precious thing, all kernel developers have one they have grown and tended to over the years. This is the start of a long journey with yours. Don't discard it like was a broken umbrella, it deserves better than that.

Remember to use your ID assigned in the subject line when responding to this task, so that I can figure out who to attribute it to.

If you forgot, your id is "5c39dda5ea83". But why do I repeat myself? Of course you know your id, you made it through the first task just fine with it.

#Task 3

This is Task 03 of the Eudyptula Challenge

Now that you have your custom kernel up and running, it's time to modify it!

The tasks for this round are:

  • Take the kernel git tree from Task 02 and change the Makefile to modify the EXTRAVERSION field. Do this in a way that the running kernel (after modifying the Makefile, rebuilding, and rebooting) has the characters "-eudyptula" in the version string.
  • Show proof of booting this kernel. Extra cookies when you provide creative examples, especially if done in interpretive dance at your local pub.
  • Send a patch that shows the Makefile modified. Do this in a manner that would be acceptable for merging in the kernel source tree. (Hint, read the file Documentation/SubmittingPatches and follow the steps there.)

Remember to use your ID assigned in the subject line when responding to this task, so that I can figure out who to attribute it to.

If you forgot, your id is "5c39dda5ea83". Surely I don't need to keep saying this right? I know, you wouldn't forget, but someone else, of course they would, so I'll just leave it here for those "others."

#Task 4

This is Task 04 of the Eudyptula Challenge

Wonderful job in making it this far. I hope you have been having fun. Oh, you're getting bored, just booting and installing kernels? Well, time for some pedantic things to make you feel that those kernel builds are actually fun!

Part of the job of being a kernel developer is recognizing the proper Linux kernel coding style. The full description of this coding style can be found in the kernel itself, in the Documentation/CodingStyle file. I'd recommend going and reading that right now. It's pretty simple stuff, and something that you are going to need to know and understand. There is also a tool in the kernel source tree in the scripts/ directory called that can be used to test for adhering to the coding style rules, as kernel programmers are lazy and prefer to let scripts do their work for them...

Why a coding standard at all? Because of your brain (yes, yours, not mine, remember, I'm just some dumb shell scripts). Once your brain learns the patterns, the information contained really starts to sink in better. So it's important that everyone follow the same standard so that the patterns become consistent. In other words, you want to make it really easy for other people to find the bugs in your code, and not be confused and distracted by the fact that you happen to prefer 5 spaces instead of tabs for indentation. Of course you would never prefer such a thing, I'd never accuse you of that, it was just an example, please forgive my impertinence!

Anyway, the tasks for this round all deal with the Linux kernel coding style. Attached to this message are is one kernel module that does not follow the proper Linux kernel coding style rules. Fix this file up, AND fix up the final submission you did for Task 01, and send them back to me as attachments in your response email.

Yes, the logic in attached second module is crazy, and probably wrong, but don't focus on that, just look at the patterns here, and fix up the coding style, do not remove lines of code.

Oh, and before you think "Ah, but I got the coding style right for Task 01, I already know this stuff!", remember that so far only 10 people, out of over 4000, have gotten the coding style exactly right for their Task 01 module. Yes, you could be one of those people, but the odds are not in your favor. You should look at it again just to be sure.

So again, attach 2 files, this one fixed up, and your Task 01 submission. Don't use base64 either, the scripts will instantly reject it, you don't want to get on their bad side.

As always, please remember to use your ID in the subject line when responding to this task, so that I can figure out who to attribute it to. And if you forgot (which of course you have not, we've been through all of this before), your id is "5c39dda5ea83".


#include <linux/module.h> #include <linux/kernel.h> #include <asm/delay.h> #include <linux/slab.h>

int do_work( int * my_int, int retval ) { int x; int y=*my_int; int z;

for(x=0;x< * my_int;++x) {

if (y < 10 )
	// That was a long sleep, tell userspace about it
	printk("We slept a long time!");

z = x * y;

return z;


int my_init (void) { int x = 10;

x = do_work(&x, x);

return x;


void my_exit( void ) { return; }

module_init(my_init); module_exit(my_exit);

This is Task 05 of the Eudyptula Challenge

Yeah, you survived the coding style mess! Now, on to some "real" things, as I know you are getting bored by these so far.

So, two simple tasks this time around:

  • Take the kernel module you wrote for task 01, and modify it so that when any USB keyboard is plugged in, the module will be automatically loaded by the correct userspace hotplug tools (which are implemented by depmod / kmod / udev / mdev / systemd, depending on what distro you are using.)
  • Again, provide "proof" this all works.

Yes, so simple, and yet, it's a bit tricky. As a hint, go read chapter 14 of the book, "Linux Device Drivers, 3rd edition." Don't worry, it's free, and online, no need to go buy anything.

As always, please remember to use your ID, yadda yadda yadda... It's "5c39dda5ea83" of course.

This is Task 06 of the Eudyptula Challenge

Nice job with the module loading macros. Those are tricky, but a very valuable skill to know about, especially when running across them in real kernel code.

Speaking of real kernel code, let's write some!

The tasks this time are:

  • Take the kernel module you wrote for task 01, and modify it to be a misc char device driver. The misc interface is a very simple way to be able to create a character device, without having to worry about all of the sysfs and character device registration mess. And what a mess it is, so stick to the simple interfaces wherever possible.
  • The misc device should be created with a dynamic minor number, no need running off and trying to reserve a real minor number for your test module, that would be crazy.
  • The misc device should implement the read and write functions.
  • The misc device node should show up in /dev/eudyptula.
  • When the character device node is read from, your assigned id is returned to the caller.
  • When the character device node is written to, the data sent to the kernel needs to be checked. If it matches your assigned id, then return a correct write return value. If the value does not match your assigned id, return the "invalid value" error value.
  • The misc device should be registered when your module is loaded, and unregistered when it is unloaded.
  • Provide some "proof" this all works properly.

As you will be putting your id into the kernel module, of course you haven't forgotten it, but just to be safe, it's "5c39dda5ea83".

This is Task 07 of the Eudyptula Challenge

Great work with that misc device driver. Isn't that a nice and simple way to write a character driver?

Just when you think this challenge is all about writing kernel code, this task is a throwback to your second one. Yes, that's right, building kernels. Turns out that's what most developers end up doing: tons and tons of rebuilds, not writing new code. Sad, but it is a good skill to know.

The task this round is:

  • Download the linux-next kernel for today. Or tomorrow, just use the latest one. It changes every day so there is no specific one you need to pick. Build it. Boot it. Provide proof that you built and booted it.

What is the linux-next kernel? Ah, that's part of the challenge.

For a hint, you should read the excellent documentation about how the Linux kernel is developed in Documentation/development-process/ in the kernel source itself. It's a great read, and should tell you all you never wanted to know about what Linux kernel developers do and how they do it.

As always, please respond to this challenge with your id. I know you know what it is. I'll not even include it this time, I trust you. Don't make me feel that is a mistake.

This is Task 08 of the Eudyptula Challenge

We will come back to the linux-next kernel in a later exercise, so don't go and delete that directory, you'll want it around. But enough of building kernels, let's write more code!

This task is much like the 06 task with the misc device, but this time we are going to focus on another user/kernel interface, debugfs. It is rumored that the creator of debugfs said that there is only one rule for debugfs use": "There are no rules when using debugfs." So let's take them up on that offer and see how to use it.

debugfs should be mounted by your distro in /sys/kernel/debug/. If it isn't, then you can mount it with the line: mount -t debugfs none /sys/kernel/debug/

Make sure it is enabled in your kernel, with the CONFIG_DEBUG_FS option, you will need it for this task.

The tasks, in specifics are:

  • Take the kernel module you wrote for task 01, and modify it to create a debugfs subdirectory called "eudyptula". In that directory, create the virtual file called "id".
  • This "id" file, operates just like it did for example 06, and uses the same logic there, the file is to be readable and writable by any user.
  • Submit this task as the first email.
  • Base your work on this submission, and create a new debugfs file called "jiffies".
  • This "jiffies" file is to be read-only by any user, and when read, should return the current value of the jiffies kernel timer.
  • Submit this result as a patch against the first email.
  • Base your work again on that submission, and create a final debugfs file called "foo".
  • The file "foo" needs to be writable only by root, but readable by anyone. When writing to it, the value must be stored, up to one page of data. When read, which can be done by any user, the value that is stored in it must be returned. Properly handle the fact that someone could be reading from the file while someone else is writing to it (oh, a locking hint!)
  • Submit this result as a patch against the second email.
  • When the module is unloaded, all of the debugfs files are cleaned up, and any memory allocated is freed, for all submissions.
  • Provide some "proof" this all works in the first email.

Again, you are using your id in the code, so you know what it is by now, no need to repeat it again.

So, for this task, I expect to see 3 emails, all "linked" somehow, in my mailbox. They should look something like this:

[5c39dda5ea83] Task 08 results
├─>[5c39dda5ea83] [PATCH 01/02] Task 08: add jiffies file
└─>[5c39dda5ea83] [PATCH 02/02] Task 08: add foo file

Or, even better: [5c39dda5ea83] Task 08 results └─>[5c39dda5ea83] [PATCH 01/02] Task 08: add jiffies file └─>[5c39dda5ea83] [PATCH 02/02] Task 08: add foo file

Hint, look at using 'git send-email' as a way to send these files out.

This is Task 09 of the Eudyptula Challenge

Nice job with debugfs. That is a handy thing to remember when wanting to print out some debugging information. Never use /proc/ that is only for processes, use debugfs instead.

Along with debugfs, sysfs is a common place to put information that needs to move from the user to the kernel. So let us focus on sysfs for this task.

The tasks this time:

  • Take the code you wrote in task 08, and move it to sysfs. Put the "eudyptula" directory under the /sys/kernel/ location in sysfs.
  • fix up the permissions of the files to not allow world writable values, but only be able to be written to by root.
  • Provide some "proof" this works.

That's it! Simple, right? No, you are right, it's more complex; sysfs is complicated. I'd recommend reading Documentation/kobject.txt as a primer on how to use kobjects and sysfs.

Feel free to ask for hints and help with this one if you have questions by sending in code to review if you get stuck. Many people have dropped out in the challenge at this point in time, so don't feel bad about asking. We don't want to see you go away just because sysfs is so damn complicated.

This is Task 10 of the Eudyptula Challenge

Yeah, you conquered the sysfs monster, great job!

Now you know you'll never want to mess with a kobject again, right? Trust me, there are easier ways to create sysfs files, and we will get into that for a future task, but for now, let's make it a bit more simple after all of that coding.

For these tasks, go back to the linux-next tree you used for task 07. Update it, and then do the following:

  • Create a patch that fixes one coding style problem in any of the files in drivers/staging/
  • Make sure the patch is correct by running it through scripts/
  • Submit the code to the maintainer of the driver/subsystem, finding the proper name and mailing lists to send it to by running the tool, scripts/ on your patch.
  • Get the patch accepted into the subsystem maintainers git tree.
  • Send a web link back to me of your patch in the public mailing list archive (don't cc: me on the patch, that will only confuse me and everyone in the kernel development community) as well as a pointer to the git commit of your patch in the subsystem tree.

Hopefully this patch will be accepted into the kernel tree, and all of a sudden, you are an "official" kernel developer!

Don't worry, there's plenty more tasks coming, but a little breather every now and again for something simple is always nice to have.

This is Task 11 of the Eudyptula Challenge

You made a successful patch to the kernel source tree, that's a great step!

But, let's not rest, time to get back to code.

Remember that mess of kobject and sysfs code back in task 09? Let's move one level up the tree and start to mess with devices and not raw kobjects.

For this task:

  • Write a patch against any driver that you are currently using on your machine. So first you have to figure out which drivers you are using, and where the source code in the kernel tree is for that driver.
  • In that driver, add a sysfs file to show up in the /sys/devices/ tree for the device that is called "id". As you might expect, this file follows the same rules as task 09 as for what you can read and write to it.
  • The file is to show up only for devices that are controlled by a single driver, not for all devices of a single type (like all USB devices. But all USB mailbox LEDs would be acceptable, if you happen to have the device that that driver controls.)

Submit both the patch, in proper kernel commit form, and "proof" of it working properly on your machine.

And as always, please use your id in the subject line. If you happened to forget it, as it has been a while since I reminded you of it, it is "5c39dda5ea83".

This is Task 12 of the Eudyptula Challenge

Nice job with the driver patch. That took some work in finding the proper place to modify, and demonstrates a great skill in tracking down issues when you can't get a specific piece of hardware working.

Now let's step back from drivers (they are boring things), and focus on the kernel core. To do that, we need to go way back to the basics -- stuff you would learn in your "intro to data structures" class, if you happened to take one.

Yes, I'm talking about linked lists.

The kernel has a unique way of creating and handling linked lists, that is quite different than the "textbook" way of doing so. But, it turns out to be faster, and simpler, than a "textbook" would describe, so that's a good thing.

For this task, write a kernel module, based on your cleaned up one from task 04, that does the following:

  • You have a structure that has 3 fields: char name[20]; int id; bool busy; name this structure "identity".
  • Your module has a static variable that points to a list of these "identity" structures.
  • Write a function that looks like: int identity_create(char *name, int id) that creates the structure "identity", copies in the 'name' and 'id' fields and sets 'busy' to false. Proper error checking for out of memory issues is required. Return 0 if everything went ok; an error value if something went wrong.
  • Write a function that looks like: struct identity *identity_find(int id); that takes a given id, iterates over the list of all ids, and returns the proper 'struct identity' associated with it. If the identity is not found, return NULL.
  • Write a function that looks like: void identity_destroy(int id); that given an id, finds the proper 'struct identity' and removes it from the system.
  • Your module_init() function will look much like the following:

struct identity *temp;

identity_create("Alice", 1);
identity_create("Bob", 2);
identity_create("Dave", 3);
identity_create("Gena", 10);

temp = identity_find(3);
pr_debug("id 3 = %s\n", temp->name);

temp = identity_find(42);
if (temp == NULL)
	pr_debug("id 42 not found\n");


Bonus points for properly checking return values of the above functions.

As always, please send the full module (following the proper kernel coding style rules), and "proof" of it working properly. And remember to use your id of "5c39dda5ea83" in the Subject line properly.


The Eudyptula Challenge


Language:Batchfile 81.3%Language:C 17.3%Language:Makefile 1.5%