lang2 lang2 - 1 year ago 76
Linux Question

Accessing physical address from user space

On a ARM based system running Linux, I have a device that's memory mapped to a physical address. From a user space program where all addresses are virtual, how can I read content from this address?

Answer Source

You can map a device file to a user process memory using mmap(2) system call. Usually, device files are mappings of physical memory to the file system. Otherwise, you have to write a kernel module which creates such a file or provides a way to map the needed memory to a user process.

Another way is remapping parts of /dev/mem to a user memory.

Edit: Example of mmaping /dev/mem (this program must have access to /dev/mem, e.g. have root rights):

#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdlib.h>
#include <fcntl.h>
#include <sys/mman.h>
#include <unistd.h>

int main(int argc, char *argv[]) {
    if (argc < 3) {
        printf("Usage: %s <phys_addr> <offset>\n", argv[0]);
        return 0;

    off_t offset = strtoul(argv[1], NULL, 0);
    size_t len = strtoul(argv[2], NULL, 0);

    // Truncate offset to a multiple of the page size, or mmap will fail.
    size_t pagesize = sysconf(_SC_PAGE_SIZE);
    off_t page_base = (offset / pagesize) * pagesize;
    off_t page_offset = offset - page_base;

    int fd = open("/dev/mem", O_SYNC);
    unsigned char *mem = mmap(NULL, page_offset + len, PROT_READ | PROT_WRITE, MAP_PRIVATE, fd, page_base);
    if (mem == MAP_FAILED) {
        perror("Can't map memory");
        return -1;

    size_t i;
    for (i = 0; i < len; ++i)
        printf("%02x ", (int)mem[page_offset + i]);

    return 0;
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