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Information about MINIX 3 USB support

We are using the driver portability layer called Device Driver Environment kit to provide support for USB host on the MINIX 3 operating system. The Device Driver Environment was developed for reuse of legacy device drivers. It defines an operating system agnostic kernel application programming interface (API) and provides Linux 2.6.29 based legacy drivers for supporting USB-host among other things. DDE with USB host support has been ported to MINIX 3 by Dirk Vogd.

Functional decomposition


DDEKIT provides a BSD licensed abstraction layer for driver development. This abstraction, defined in includes files, defines the following primitives: data types, memory allocation, paging, threading, semaphores, timers, low level hardware I/O, requesting interrupts and dma access. It is located inside the MINIX3 source tree at /usr/src/minix/include/ddekit and implemented in /usr/src/minix/lib/libddekit.


The dde-linux26 is a GPLv2 package that uses ddekit host Linux device drivers. Using ddekit it replaces key parts of the Linux device driver model to be able to run drivers on a non Linux kernel. It contains large parts of the Linux 2.6.29 source code in the contrib directory and provide abstractions for a the following type of drivers: common, block, common, net, partitions, scsi and usb. This code only depends on ddekit and is not MINIX 3 specific.


The Dde-linux26-usb-drivers use dde-linux26 to implement an USB stack for MINIX.

USB host controller driver (USBD)

The USB host controller driver is a MINIX 3 service that talks to the USB host controller hardware using established standards like EHCI and OHCI and mediates access to USB devices by implementing a virtual host controller driver.


For new device notification


MINIX bus driver implementation using usbcore


Linux library to implement host controllers


Standard way of talking to the usb host controller


the support library for things like platform_device creation

USB class driver (mass storage/hid)

The USB drivers in MINIX3 will communicates with USB devices host controller over a virtual host controller interface provided by USBD. The class drivers uses the DDE kit and Linux drivers like SCSI to implement Their service.


implements a minix interface like block device

DDE helpers::

helpers like the  SCSI lib part in case of the USB mass storage class


Virtual host controller as also used to provide usb over ethernet. This
driver talks to USBD using grants and messages.

Device manager (DEVMAN)

Devman is a device manager who's main goal is to enable hot-plugging of hardware. Based on events from USBD and a configuration file it will create device nodes and start or stop USB class drivers.

There are two parts to devman. One is a MINIX3 service and the second one is a userland daemon.

Startup sequence for mass storage

The initialization is as follow

  • The RC script starts the devman
  • The RC script start devmand
  • devmand read it's configuration and starts listening for events from devman
  • Usbd is started via the extended RC scripts that look in /usr/pkg/etc/rc.d.
  • The stub driver inside usbd notifies devman about new usb devices found
  • devman exports this information over sysfs and devmand reads about a new configurations
  • devman starts the mass_storage service based on it's configuration
  • the mass_storage service binds to the interface over the virtual host controller
  • After some time the device is ready to be mounted.

Shutdown sequence

The shutdown sequence is the following

  • umount usb file systems
  • stop devmand ( also stops the running services like usb_storage)
  • stop usbd
  • umount /sys
  • stop devman

Running and developing

The device manager is located in the MINIX 3 sources but the remaining components are lotacted outside of this source tree and are referred from the pkgsrc tree. To get the code working go to /usr/pkgsrc/minix/dde-linux26-usb-drivers run bmake install and reboot. To develop we suggest your first run bmake install and after that run bmake build-env in either the dde-linux26-usb-drivers or dde-linux26 directory. running “bmake && bmake install” after that will directly install the libraries in the correct location. The code for dde-linux26 and dde-linux26-usb-driver is hosted on

Updating the DDEKIT package

To perform an update of the code you need to do a few things:

ddekitusb.txt · Last modified: 2014/11/11 14:58 by lionelsambuc