Add New System Call to Linux 3.2

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Add New System Call to Linux 3.2

November 24, 2015 | Article | 1 Comment

What is syscall? Syscall is abbreviation from system call, a service provided by kernel to user program who request for it. It may include hardware related services such as hard disk access, creating and executing new process, also communicationg with integral kernel services (like scheduling). System calls is essential interface between a process and the operating system.

At several past article, we have discussed how to compile a new kernel (based on version 3.6.1). This time, we will try to add some kernel syscall. Our own syscall precisely. And yes, this is part of my course homework. Let’s get start to our subject.

For this time why do we use Linux 3.2.29 version? Well it’s part of the homework though. But next time maybe I will write another article of writing syscall for Linux 3.6.1. Please note that the overall kernel structure in linux prior to 3.2 is different to the newer one so adding syscall in 3.6.1 would has different technique than technique discussed here. But by the way, the step for adding system call is similar to previous article (step by step compile kernel 3.6.1)

Now download the kernel we need at website. In this case we need 3.2.29.


The reason I used linux-3.2.29.tar.xz instead of linux-3.2.29.tar.gz or linux-3.2.29.tar.bz2 is simply because of size.

Make sure you move the source to /usr/src/ directory. Do that using root access.

Now extract the source code.

tar -Jxf linux-3.2.29.tar.xz
cd linux-3.2.29

We can take the old configuration as our basis for creating configuration file.

cp /boot/config- .config

In this case I use kernel It can be different in your system so match the version number with your current kernel version.

It’s a wise way to see what we can do by invoking make. A little help could give us hint.

make help

Now, to configure the config file, invoke

make menuconfig

After deciding what configuration you choose, It’s time for compilation. We will using generic way of compilation. It is the standard way provided by kernel and not platform oriented.

Now it’s time to get to our main subject. We will modify some files and do it sequentially and in the last we will test our new syscalls.

I’m going to create 3 syscalls: generate odd random-number, generate even random-number, and a dummy syscall which add input integer with 10.

Now create a new folder in kernel root directory, in this case /usr/src/linux-3.2.29, named randomsys/.

Open and edit file /usr/src/linux-3.2.29/arch/x86/kernel/syscall_table.S. At end of file add 3 entries:

  • .long sys_oddrandom
  • .long sys_evenrandom
  • .long sys_mycall

See number above? The entries is registered with unique numbers as seen above. Our 3 syscalls have id 349, 350, and 351. It’s easy to figure it out :). You can add more or less than this example, just remember what number your syscalls are.

Open and edit file /usr/src/linux-3.2.29/arch/x86/include/asm/unistd_32.h. Locate line with text:

#ifdef __KERNEL__
#define NR_syscalls 349

You see some number on NR_syscalls, right? In this case is 349. Now look upward and then you will see some entries with __NR_ suffix. We will add some entries like those too. Add these entries after the latest entry:

  • #define __NR_oddrandom 349
  • #define __NR_evenrandom 350
  • #define __NR_mycall 351

Now you would be figure out what those numbers are. Yep, that are our unique number we add on syscall_table.S file. Then change number on NR_syscalls with 352.

Next we will open and edit /usr/src/linux-3.2.29/include/linux/syscalls.h. Add following entries before #endif:

  • asmlinkage unsigned int sys_oddrandom();
  • asmlinkage unsigned int sys_evenrandom();
  • asmlinkage int sys_mycall(int i);

Now open and edit /usr/src/linux-3.2.29/Makefile. Locate entries with:

core-y        += kernel/ mm/ fs/ ipc/ security/ crypto/ block/

Add randomsys/ to end of that line. Here randomsys/ is our newly created folder. If you did correctly your entry would be:

core-y        += kernel/ mm/ fs/ ipc/ security/ crypto/ block/ randomsys/

Now create 3 files in directory /usr/src/linux-3.2.29/randomsys/. Those are sys_oddrandom.c; sys_evenrandom.c; sys_mycall.c.

Now open and edit /usr/src/linux-3.2.29/randomsys/sys_oddrandom.c

#include <linux/linkage.h>
#include <linux/kernel.h>
#include <linux/random.h>

asmlinkage unsigned int sys_oddrandom() {
   unsigned int v = 0;
   while( (v=get_random_int()) % 2 != 1 );
   return v;

Now open and edit /usr/src/linux-3.2.29/randomsys/sys_evenrandom.c

#include <linux/linkage.h>
#include <linux/kernel.h>
#include <linux/random.h>

asmlinkage unsigned int sys_evenrandom() {
   unsigned int v = 0;
   while( (v=get_random_int()) % 2 != 0 );
   return v;

Now open and edit /usr/src/linux-3.2.29/randomsys/sys_mycall.c

#include <linux/linkage.h>
#include <linux/kernel.h>

asmlinkage int sys_mycall(int i) {
   return i+10;

Now create and edit file /usr/src/linux-3.2.29/randomsys/Makefile

obj-y    := sys_oddrandom.o
obj-y    += sys_evenrandom.o
obj-y    += sys_mycall.o

Next, compile our kernel and its modules. Invoke this command:


The process could be 1 to 4 hours depending on your system performance. For old machine like mine, it could be around 4 hours to do so. In this step the compiled kernel is stored in binary form as arc/x86/boot/bzImage file. Based on kernel headers it will compile the kernel modules (device driver, filesystem, network, etc) and generate .ko files which are kernel objects. These modules also called Loadable Kernel Modules (LKM).

Next, we will install kernel modules. to do so we can invoke

make modules_install

This step will copy all kernel modules (*.ko) to /lib/modules/<version>/kernel/ folder.

Next we will install the kernel itself. We did that by invoking

make install

This step copy the arch/x86/boot/bzImage to /boot folder and copy the .config to /boot/config-<latest version> and generate file.

Next we need to create initramfs file. Next time I would write article about initramfs, but for this time just do so.

update-initramfs -c -k <version>

Here <version> can be 3.2.29 for this case.

Next we have to update the boot loader. I’m using GRUB so we have to invoke:


This command automatically probe the kernels in /boot folder and add the entries in configuration file, grub.cfg

Restart the system and look at your bootloader entry. choose the new kernel in bootloader. Now open terminal and invoke

uname -r

Congratulations, you have build new kernel with our own syscalls now! Let’s test now.

Create 2 file: testmycall.h and testmycall.c. You can place it anywhere you want.

Now, open and edit testmycall.h

#include <linux/unistd.h>

#define __NR_oddrandom 349
#define __NR_evenrandom 350
#define __NR_mycall 351

unsigned int oddrandom() {
   return syscall(__NR_oddrandom);
unsigned int evenrandom() {
   return syscall(__NR_evenrandom);
unsigned int mycall(int i) {
   return syscall(__NR_mycall,i);

You must have known what those numbers are, aren’t you? 🙂

Now open and edit testmycall.c

#include <linux/unistd.h>
#include <sys/syscall.h>
#include "testmycall.h"

int main() {
   unsigned int v1=0,v2=0;
   int keluar=0;

   v1 = oddrandom();
   v2 = evenrandom();
   keluar = mycall(10);

   printf("v1         = %u\n",v1);
   printf("v2         = %u\n",v2);
   printf("keluar     = %d\n",keluar);

   return 0;

Compile and see the result by yourself 🙂


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A man who is obsessed to low level technology.

1 Comment
  1. Add New System Call to Linux 3.6.1 - Xathrya.ID

    […] to the newer one so adding syscall in 3.6.1 would has different technique than technique discussed earlier. But by the way, the step for adding system call is similiar to previous article (step by step […]

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