Linux 5.14 Set To Retire The Long-Deprecated RAW Driver For Direct I/O Access

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Storage on 7 June 2021 at 03:00 AM EDT. Add A Comment
Linux's RAW driver (RAW_DRIVER) for providing direct I/O access to block devices is finally set to be removed with the Linux 5.14 kernel this summer since its deprecation all the way back in the mid 2000s and its use has been discouraged even longer.

The RAW driver has allowed for direct unbuffered I/O to block devices for the Linux kernel but it hasn't been relevant in well over a decade since using the O_DIRECT flag when opening a block device can achieve the same behavior. The block devices in the raw mode were exposed through /dev/raw/. While O_DIRECT has been the preferred approach, some legacy workloads weren't maintained/unable to just use the O_DIRECT approach that led to the RAW driver being obsolete for all this time.

Now queued this past week into char-misc-next is finally removing the RAW driver.

Any impact should be fairly minimal and a surprise at this point, but just more old kernel cruft finally getting removed to focus on the modern interfaces.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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