Proceedings of ISP RAS

Building Programming Interface Specifications in the Open System of Componentwise Verification of the Linux Kernel.

E.M. Novikov.


Nowadays static verification is one of the most promising methods for finding bugs in programs. To apply successfully existing tools for the Linux kernel one needs to perform componentwise verification. Such verification needs an environment model that reflects a real environment of components rather accurately. Development of the complete environment model for Linux kernel components is a very time-consuming task since there are too many programming interfaces in the kernel and they are not stable. The given paper suggests a new approach for building programming interface specifications. This approach allows one to apply static verification tools efficiently (with small number of false alarms but without missed bugs) for checking rules of programming interfaces usage under conditions of the incomplete environment model, if component developers obey a specific coding style. Two implementations of the suggested approach were developed. The first one extended the BLAST static verification tool while the second one utilized C Instrumentation Framework – an aspect-oriented programming implementation for the C programming language. The latter allowed to use various static verification tools, like BLAST, CPAchecker, CBMC, etc., for checking specifications. In practice that implementation helped to reduce the number of false alarms on more than 70% for some rules of programming interfaces usage. The paper shows that to avoid left false alarms one needs to develop more precise environment models and to use more accurate static verification tools. Besides the Linux kernel the suggested approach can be applied for componentwise verification in projects where developers obey the specific coding style.


Linux kernel; kernel component; device driver; rule of programming interfaces usage; specification; environment model; static verification; aspect-oriented programming; C programming language


Proceedings of the Institute for System Programming, vol. 24, 2013, pp. 293-316.

ISSN 2220-6426 (Online), ISSN 2079-8156 (Print).

DOI: 10.15514/ISPRAS-2013-24-13

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