FUSD ( Framework for User-Space Devices ) is a project of User Space Device Driver. This is a Fork of the original fusd project. Framework for User-Space Devices

Godzil 56bf9b87fe 5.8 break the driver (yeah again) allow to fail for now. 3 years ago
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include d8fea5550c Remove static function prototypes from kfusd.h and move to kfusd.c and remove useless prototypes and functions. 4 years ago
kfusd 61f72c675d Fix kernel-5.1.y and 5.2.y 4 years ago
libfusd 57ae74c803 Update userspace to have proper protection values for mmap and send the proper flags to the callback function. 4 years ago
.gitattributes 8db24fbd1d small changes 12 years ago
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FUSD: A Linux Framework for User-Space Devices

Build Status

Welcome to FUSD!

This is FUSD snapshot 20110401, released 18 January 2012. This fork is based on the found on the xiph.org SVN tracker. ( http://svn.xiph.org/trunk/fusd ) They seems to no longer update this tool (since 11 January 2007) and since it longer compile with recent Linux kernel (at around 2.6.21) and since I need it in personal project, I ported it to newer version (current version is 2.6.32). It is currently no officialy supporting newer kernel, but changes are currently going on to support newer kernel up to 4.15. It is currently building under this line, but don’t expect it to work.

Some feature are still missing missing or buggy form the Xiph version (due to changes on the kernel source tree), but it is still usable.

The official URL for this fork is:


There is extensive documentation available in the ‘doc’ directory. The FUSD User Manual is available in PDF, Postscript, and HTML format. Most of this documentation dates from earlier versions of fusd; until it is fully updated, it may not cover all features that exist in the current version of fusd.

FUSD is free and open source software, released under a BSD-style license. See the file ‘LICENSE’ for details.


Instructions for the impatient:

  1. Make sure you’re using a system running Linux 2.6.x with udev; this version of fusd is incompatable with the now-deprecated devfs. If the kernel is a packaged version from a distribution, also verify any optional packages needed for building new kernel modules are also installed.

  2. ‘make ; make install’ builds everything including examples, then installs the libraries, includes and kernel module.

  3. Update the udev configuration (usually in /etc/udev/rules.d/) to include the following rule:

     fusd device
     SUBSYSTEM=="fusd",                      NAME="fusd/%k"

    After updating, restart udevd (skill udevd; udevd -d).

  4. Insert the FUSD kernel module (modprobe kfusd)

  5. Verify the fusd devices /dev/fusd/status and /dev/fusd/control exist. If the modprobe succeeds but no fusd devices appear, double-check the udev rule config change and make sure udevd restarted successfully. The kfusd kernel module must be inserted after udev has been correctly configured and restarted.

  6. Try running the helloworld example program (examples/helloworld). When helloworld is running, cat /dev/helloworld should return Hello, world!.

  7. For more information, read the User’s Manual in the ‘doc’ directory.


FUSD (pronounced «fused») is a Linux framework for proxying device file callbacks into user-space, allowing device files to be implemented by daemons instead of kernel code. Despite being implemented in user-space, FUSD devices can look and act just like any other file under /dev which is implemented by kernel callbacks.

A user-space device driver can do many of the things that kernel drivers can’t, such as perform a long-running computation, block while waiting for an event, or read files from the file system. Unlike kernel drivers, a user-space device driver can use other device drivers–that is, access the network, talk to a serial port, get interactive input from the user, pop up GUI windows, or read from disks. User-space drivers implemented using FUSD can be much easier to debug; it is impossible for them to crash the machine, are easily traceable using tools such as gdb, and can be killed and restarted without rebooting. FUSD drivers don’t have to be in C–Perl, Python, or any other language that knows how to read from and write to a file descriptor can work with FUSD. User-space drivers can be swapped out, whereas kernel drivers lock physical memory.

FUSD drivers are conceptually similar to kernel drivers: a set of callback functions called in response to system calls made on file descriptors by user programs. FUSD’s C library provides a device registration function, similar to the kernel’s devfs_register_chrdev() function, to create new devices. fusd_register() accepts the device name and a structure full of pointers. Those pointers are callback functions which are called in response to certain user system calls–for example, when a process tries to open, close, read from, or write to the device file. The callback functions should conform to the standard definitions of POSIX system call behavior. In many ways, the user-space FUSD callback functions are identical to their kernel counterparts.

The proxying of kernel system calls that makes this kind of program possible is implemented by FUSD, using a combination of a kernel module and cooperating user-space library. The kernel module implements a character device, /dev/fusd, which is used as a control channel between the two. fusd_register() uses this channel to send a message to the FUSD kernel module, telling the name of the device the user wants to register. The kernel module, in turn, registers that device with the kernel proper using devfs. devfs and the kernel don’t know anything unusual is happening; it appears from their point of view that the registered devices are simply being implemented by the FUSD module.

Later, when kernel makes a callback due to a system call (e.g. when the character device file is opened or read), the FUSD kernel module’s callback blocks the calling process, marshals the arguments of the callback into a message and sends it to user-space. Once there, the library half of FUSD unmarshals it and calls whatever user-space callback the FUSD driver passed to fusd_register(). When that user-space callback returns a value, the process happens in reverse: the return value and its side-effects are marshaled by the library and sent to the kernel. The FUSD kernel module unmarshals this message, matches it up with a corresponding outstanding request, and completes the system call. The calling process is completely unaware of this trickery; it simply enters the kernel once, blocks, unblocks, and returns from the system call—just as it would for any other blocking call.

One of the primary design goals of FUSD is stability. It should not be possible for a FUSD driver to corrupt or crash the kernel, either due to error or malice. Of course, a buggy driver itself may corrupt itself (e.g., due to a buffer overrun). However, strict error checking is implemented at the user-kernel boundary which should prevent drivers from corrupting the kernel or any other user-space process—including the errant driver’s own clients, and other FUSD drivers.

For more information, please see the comprehensive documentation in the ‘doc’ directory.

Jeremy Elson jelson@circlemud.org
August 19, 2003

Monty monty@xiph.org
January 11, 2007

Godzil godzil@godzil.net
March 01, 2011 / January 18, 2012 (public release on github)