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- Notes on Linux SCSI Generic (sg) driver
- ---------------------------------------
- 20020126
-The SCSI Generic driver (sg) is one of the four "high level" SCSI device
-drivers along with sd, st and sr (disk, tape and CDROM respectively). Sg
-is more generalized (but lower level) than its siblings and tends to be
-used on SCSI devices that don't fit into the already serviced categories.
-Thus sg is used for scanners, CD writers and reading audio CDs digitally
-amongst other things.
-Rather than document the driver's interface here, version information
-is provided plus pointers (i.e. URLs) where to find documentation
-and examples.
-Major versions of the sg driver
-There are three major versions of sg found in the linux kernel (lk):
- - sg version 1 (original) from 1992 to early 1999 (lk 2.2.5) .
- It is based in the sg_header interface structure.
- - sg version 2 from lk 2.2.6 in the 2.2 series. It is based on
- an extended version of the sg_header interface structure.
- - sg version 3 found in the lk 2.4 series (and the lk 2.5 series).
- It adds the sg_io_hdr interface structure.
-Sg driver documentation
-The most recent documentation of the sg driver is kept at the Linux
-Documentation Project's (LDP) site:
-This describes the sg version 3 driver found in the lk 2.4 series.
-The LDP renders documents in single and multiple page HTML, postscript
-and pdf. This document can also be found at:
-Documentation for the version 2 sg driver found in the lk 2.2 series can
-be found at A larger version
-is at:
-The original documentation for the sg driver (prior to lk 2.2.6) can be
-found at
-and in the LDP archives.
-A changelog with brief notes can be found in the
-/usr/src/linux/include/scsi/sg.h file. Note that the glibc maintainers copy
-and edit this file (removing its changelog for example) before placing it
-in /usr/include/scsi/sg.h . Driver debugging information and other notes
-can be found at the top of the /usr/src/linux/drivers/scsi/sg.c file.
-A more general description of the Linux SCSI subsystem of which sg is a
-part can be found at .
-Example code and utilities
-There are two packages of sg utilities:
- - sg3_utils for the sg version 3 driver found in lk 2.4
- - sg_utils for the sg version 2 (and original) driver found in lk 2.2
- and earlier
-Both packages will work in the lk 2.4 series however sg3_utils offers more
-capabilities. They can be found at: and
-Another approach is to look at the applications that use the sg driver.
-These include cdrecord, cdparanoia, SANE and cdrdao.
-Mapping of Linux kernel versions to sg driver versions
-Here is a list of linux kernels in the 2.4 series that had new version
-of the sg driver:
- lk 2.4.0 : sg version 3.1.17
- lk 2.4.7 : sg version 3.1.19
- lk 2.4.10 : sg version 3.1.20 **
- lk 2.4.17 : sg version 3.1.22
-** There were 3 changes to sg version 3.1.20 by third parties in the
- next six linux kernel versions.
-For reference here is a list of linux kernels in the 2.2 series that had
-new version of the sg driver:
- lk 2.2.0 : original sg version [with no version number]
- lk 2.2.6 : sg version 2.1.31
- lk 2.2.8 : sg version 2.1.32
- lk 2.2.10 : sg version 2.1.34 [SG_GET_VERSION_NUM ioctl first appeared]
- lk 2.2.14 : sg version 2.1.36
- lk 2.2.16 : sg version 2.1.38
- lk 2.2.17 : sg version 2.1.39
- lk 2.2.20 : sg version 2.1.40
-The lk 2.5 development series has recently commenced and it currently
-contains sg version 3.5.23 which is functionally equivalent to sg
-version 3.1.22 found in lk 2.4.17 .
-Douglas Gilbert
-26th January 2002