[splint-discuss] Using Splint on Linux kernel modules

Brian Quinlan brian.quinlan at iolfree.ie
Tue Jan 4 09:53:22 EST 2005

We (Duolog Technologies) use the steps below to use splint on Linux
driver code. This works for us on a 2.4.23 kernel.

Originally, we started off on a different kernel and when we changed to
2.4.23, it broke a few things. These were easy to fix, but it may
indicate that there could be other problems if you try to apply them to
other kernel versions.

We had to make 3 sets of changes to get splint working for Linux kernel

(1) The main problem that we have with using splint for Linux kernel
modules is that splint can't parse some of the gcc specific features
used by the Linux kernel. To get around this we redefine a few things in
our Makefile (see end of email).

It is probably not necessary to give splint a definition of all the
flags defined by gcc, but it was easier than finding out which ones are
actually required. We also redefine asm & __signed__ via our Makefile.
See also:


(2) We also found it necessary to change the implementation of a few
macros (for splint only, not for gcc). This was done by creating and
including a file called SplintLinuxKernelHelper.h (see end of email). It
must be included (AFTER any kernel headers) in any files where the
redefined macros are used. We were lucky that this occurred for
relatively few files - those that dealt specifically with Linux.

(3) Finally, we had to surround lots of calls to kernel functions with
splint annotations because we couldn't put the annotations directly into
the kernel headers. This was a little tedious, but fortunately in our
case it was restricted to relatively few file and in any case was well
worth the tedium because of the number of errors that splint found.

(4) We don't use +gnuextensions because it didn't fix anything for us.
It might fix a few things for you.

(5) It's possible that -sysdirerrors will also help (type "splint -help
sysdirerrors" and "splint -help sysdirs"). We haven't had to try it, so
it might cause other problems with the kernel code that we're not aware
of. See also:


Hope this helps someone. I am subscribed to the list, so if I can I'll
try to answer questions.

Brian Quinlan
Duolog Technologies




# Splint fails to compile code for the Linux kernel largely because it does
# not have some gcc specific features that the kernel code relies on. Defining
# a list of FLAGS for splint that gcc defines by default helps with this.
# Run "gcc -dM -E - < /dev/null" to see a list of gcc defined symbols.
# Note that __GNUC__ is defined to be 2, not 3, because of problems splint has
# when compiling "typedef struct { } spinlock_t;" in <linux/splinlock.h>.
-D__HAVE_BUILTIN_SETJMP__=1            \
-D__unix__=1                           \
-Dunix=1                               \
-D__i386__=1                           \
-D__SIZE_TYPE__="unsigned int"         \
-D__ELF__=1                            \
-D__GNUC_PATCHLEVEL__=0                \
-D__linux=1                            \
-D__unix=1                             \
-D__linux__=1                          \
-D__USER_LABEL_PREFIX__                \
-Dlinux=1                              \
-D__STDC_HOSTED__=1                    \
-D__WCHAR_TYPE__="long int"            \
-D__gnu_linux__=1                      \
-D__WINT_TYPE__="unsigned int"         \
-D__GNUC__=2                           \
-D__GXX_ABI_VERSION=102                \
-Di386=1                               \
-D__GNUC_MINOR__=2                     \
-D__STDC__=1                           \
-D__PTRDIFF_TYPE__=int                 \
-D__tune_i386__=1                      \
-D__REGISTER_PREFIX__                  \
-D__NO_INLINE__=1                      \
-D__i386=1                             \
-D__VERSION__="3.2 20020903 (Red Hat Linux 8.0 3.2-7)"

# Splint flags
# Don't skip ansi headers because this causes linux/signal.h to be excluded,
# which leads to parse errors.
# "asm" is redefined as an empty macro because it would otherwise cause
# parse errors for splint. 
SPLINT_FLAGS = $(SPLINT_KEEP)                \
             -skip-ansi-headers              \
             $(DEFINED_FOR_KERNEL)           \
             -Dasm'('w,x,y,z')'=""           \

SPLINT=Path to splint executable.
SRCS=List of all C source files in your Linux kernel module.
INC_FLAGS=List of all include paths (with -I prefix), e.g.,  -I/usr/src/linux-2.4.23/include -I/my/include/path



 * Filename:    $Id: SplintLinuxKernelHelper.h,v 1.2 2004/03/03 18:30:53 bquinl01 Exp $
 * Description: Helps splint cope with Linux kernel headers.

#ifndef __KERNEL__
#error This header should not be included in a non-kernel module.

#ifdef S_SPLINT_S

#ifdef access_ok
#undef access_ok

#define access_ok(type, addr, size) (addr = addr, TRUE)

#ifdef get_user
#undef get_user

#define get_user(x, ptr) (x = *ptr, 0)

#ifdef put_user
#undef put_user

#define put_user(x, ptr) (x = *ptr, 0)

#ifdef copy_from_user
#undef copy_from_user

#define copy_from_user(to, from, n) (memcpy(to, from, n), 0)

#ifdef copy_to_user
#undef copy_to_user

#define copy_to_user(to,from,n) (memcpy(to, from, n), 0)

#ifdef wait_event_interruptible
#undef wait_event_interruptible

#define wait_event_interruptible(wq, condition)


#define SET_MODULE_OWNER(dev)

#ifdef module_init
#undef module_init

typedef void* __splint_module_fptr;

#define __splint_module_use_fptr(fn)                \
  /*@unused@*/ static                               \
    __splint_module_fptr __splint_module_fptr##fn = \

#define module_init(fn)  __splint_module_use_fptr(fn)

#ifdef module_exit
#undef module_exit

#define module_exit(fn) __splint_module_use_fptr(fn)


#define MODULE_GENERIC_TABLE(gtype,name)	\
static const unsigned long __module_##gtype##_size \
  __attribute__ ((unused)) = (const unsigned long)sizeof(struct gtype##_id); \
static const struct gtype##_id * __module_##gtype##_table \
  __attribute__ ((unused)) = name


#define MODULE_DEVICE_TABLE(type,name)		\

#endif /* S_SPLINT_S */

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