This document presents a Linux-USB "Gadget" kernel mode API, for use within peripherals and other USB devices that embed Linux. It provides an overview of the API structure, and shows how that fits into a system development project. This is the first such API released on Linux to address a number of important problems, including:
Supports USB 2.0, for high speed devices which can stream data at several dozen megabytes per second.
Handles devices with dozens of endpoints just as well as ones with just two fixed-function ones. Gadget drivers can be written so they're easy to port to new hardware.
Flexible enough to expose more complex USB device capabilities such as multiple configurations, multiple interfaces, composite devices, and alternate interface settings.
USB "On-The-Go" (OTG) support, in conjunction with updates to the Linux-USB host side.
Sharing data structures and API models with the Linux-USB host side API. This helps the OTG support, and looks forward to more-symmetric frameworks (where the same I/O model is used by both host and device side drivers).
Minimalist, so it's easier to support new device controller hardware. I/O processing doesn't imply large demands for memory or CPU resources.
Most Linux developers will not be able to use this API, since they have USB "host" hardware in a PC, workstation, or server. Linux users with embedded systems are more likely to have USB peripheral hardware. To distinguish drivers running inside such hardware from the more familiar Linux "USB device drivers", which are host side proxies for the real USB devices, a different term is used: the drivers inside the peripherals are "USB gadget drivers". In USB protocol interactions, the device driver is the master (or "client driver") and the gadget driver is the slave (or "function driver").
The gadget API resembles the host side Linux-USB API in that both use queues of request objects to package I/O buffers, and those requests may be submitted or canceled. They share common definitions for the standard USB Chapter 9 messages, structures, and constants. Also, both APIs bind and unbind drivers to devices. The APIs differ in detail, since the host side's current URB framework exposes a number of implementation details and assumptions that are inappropriate for a gadget API. While the model for control transfers and configuration management is necessarily different (one side is a hardware-neutral master, the other is a hardware-aware slave), the endpoint I/0 API used here should also be usable for an overhead-reduced host side API.