Friday, May 20, 2011



Q] Why ioctl() operation is removed form Linux Kernel 2.6.36?
Ans: When ioctl was executed, it took the Big Kernel Lock (BKL), so nothing else could execute at the same time. This is very bad on a multiprocessor machine, so there was a big effort to get rid of the BKL. First, unlocked_ioctl was introduced. It lets each driver writer choose what lock to use instead. This can be difficult, so there was a period of transition during which old drivers still worked (using ioctl) but new drivers could use the improved interface (unlocked_ioctl). Eventually all drivers were converted and ioctl could be removed.
compat_ioctl is actually unrelated, even though it was added at the same time. Its purpose is to allow 32-bit userland programs to make ioctl calls on a 64-bit kernel. The meaning of the last argument to ioctl depends on the driver, so there is no way to do a driver-independent conversion