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Samsung GPL’s flash memory drivers

Feb 22, 2006 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive
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Samsung Electronics has released an open source driver for its “OneNAND” flash memory technology, positioned as a fusion between NAND and NOR flash storage devices. The company says it hopes the move will make its OneNAND products “sought after by designers using the new Linux 2.6 operating system.”

NOR flash is preferred for program storage and execution in embedded devices due to its EPROM-like random access architecture. Ordinary NAND flash, on the other hand, is not suitable for program execution but offers higher density at lower costs, making it a favorite for solid-state disk-like data storage. (Further background is available in a whitepaper on the tradeoffs between NAND and NOR flash.)

Samsung says its OneNAND flash products mate a single-level-cell NAND core with “logic elements to emulate a NOR interface,” the company says, resulting in read times fast enough for NOR-style executable storage, along with write times fast enough for NAND-style data storage.

OneNAND integrates up to 5KB of buffer RAM, a logic controller, and ECC

Samsung claims OneNAND can sustain read speeds of 108MB/sec, or about four times faster than conventional NAND Flash. Claimed write speeds are 10MB/sec, or about 60 times faster than multi-level-cell NOR storage.

Samsung launched OneNAND Linux support in June of 2004, along with a proprietary “Robust File System” (RFS) driver claimed to be 10 times faster than JFFS2, and four times faster than YAFFS. OneNAND has been used in more than 100 consumer electronics design wins, the company claims.

Samsung's SVP of technical marketing, Jon Kang, stated, “Open source code has become one of the main forces driving the accelerated pace at which consumers are embracing mobility. Samsung's move will [provide] the code needed to quickly incorporate OneNAND's operational instructions.”


OneNAND “low level driver” (LLD) sourcecode files for Linux 2.6.15 are available for download under a fairly brief end-user license agreement at Samsung's website. The source files can also be browsed at LinuxHQ. They are integrated with the MTD (memory technology device) subsystem introduced with Linux 2.4.

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