Subject: Re: Device Properties: The Next Generation
To: None <>
From: Chris G. Demetriou <>
List: tech-kern
Date: 03/07/2001 10:27:22 writes:
> 	In the current implementation, children of indirect-config busses are
> 	responsible for filling in members of their 'aux' structures to
> 	indicate the actual location of the device if some locators weren't
> 	completely specified.  (This is often used for I/O sizes, memory
> 	sizes, IRQs, etc.)
> The children are filling out the `aux'?  Well, that's certainly
> not the way it's described in Torek's config paper.

"What Jason said."

Chris did address indirect config, but he did not provide an example.

The only real discussion of the 'aux' meaning that i could find ws on
p.15 (s 5.3), which say that it "[allows] parents and children to
communicate private configuration other than through data variables."
I (did and do) read that as two way communication.

In 4.4-Lite (and Lite2), the only port converted to use Torek's config
was the sparc port, and the set of peripherals supported there was
relatively limited (e.g., no VME), So it's not surprising that there
wasn't great need for use of indirect-config at the time.

Other early uses of new-config were ours and BSDI's.  As far as I
recall, we and BSDI used indirect config in approximately the same
way.  (We had a slight detour, but at least in the 'filling in aux'
respect it was the same.)

Anyway, as should have been obvious, Chris Torek's 4.4BSD
autoconfiguration documentation is interesting background, but does
_not_ describe the state of autoconfiguration in NetBSD.

At minimum, we've added a bunch of things and changed a bunch of
interfaces, as we adapted the system to conditions that, as far as I
can tell, were either not thought of, or thought of and not handled in
the original design.  (I think one of the reasons for that may be
because of the ... limited configuration environment provided on
sparcs.  Everything looks the same, pretty much.  It's not a good
example, as far as demonstration of configuration on many system
types, but for sparc it probably makes sense.)

Perhaps now you understand the reason that I was so adamant that there
be a way to protect properties from being written (accidentally): it's
not just an out-of-the-blue bug.  It's appropriate to clobber them in
some circumstances, but not in others.

> 	(This kinda concerns me: you're not planning to go down the OFW-style
> 	multi-value properties path, are you?  I could see some minor desire
> 	for that, but it's not the path that we've taken with locators in the
> 	config files up to this point... and you shouldn't start randomly
> 	diverging from what the existing configuration code does.)
> There's nothing to preclude multi-valued properties.  A few
> multi-values properties are faster and easier to handle than
> lots of single-values properties.  But I was not planning
> to use multi-valued properties for locators. 

Right, so, once you go down that road, you start having to worry about
typing (especially if you want to represent them to users in some sane

> 	> It may also make sense to combine all the locators as (name,
> 	> value) pairs in a single property called `locators' so they
> 	> can be easily extracted.
> 	_easily_?  what would make that easy to extract?  8-)
> How do you distingush a locator property from a non-locator 
> property when trying to dump a device tree to a kernel config
> file?

Hmm.  Yes, good point.

It seems that it would probably be easier and less work to implement
to provide a 'locators' or 'locnames' property which included the
_names_ of the locators (requiring whatever used that to dig them out
on its own).

Another issue here is, if you're going to do this, you need to have
some real correspondence between locator names and names in the config
file.  It's not clear to me that the way multi-value locators are
currently done makes sense if you're really trying to use locators as
names.  (It's a bit difficult to use in code, too, since you don't
really have a loop bound you can use...)

> My plan was to attach the properties to the cfdata the same
> way locators are, only from different fields of the cfdata
> structure so you can distinguish locators from other properites.  
> Then they can be easily attached to the device node inside 
> config_attach().  (Can't think of any reasonn the *match() 
> routines would need access to properties.)

I can, but doing property attachment for match is pretty painful (how
many times do you copy the bloody things?).

A couple of things that pop into mind, which may not actually apply
but probably merit thought...

* debug spew.  It may be desirable to turn on extra buff debugging in
  a driver via a property.  If there's some desire to allow that
  debugging output/logging/whatever to be turned on during probe...
  (I'm not sure that this is kosher, but i can imagine that it'd be

* better "locators."  In the fullness of time, it would be good if
  locators ceased being 'int's.  In particular, at minimum, it can be
  useful to represent integer values at least as wide as bus_addr_t.
  (These might be real locators, described by parent bus being
  attached to.  Absence of a 'real' locator in could file would mean
  no property, i.e. doesn't use that resource at all, and wildcarded
  value could be handled by e.g. 0-length.)

  Also, strings would be good (for matching textual
  strings, e.g. device serial number, product name string, ethernet
  address, etc.  (These would probably be attached to the device
  directly or because of non-attachment-related attributes,
  e.g. 'ether', and control only that device -- so, really, they'd be
  property-ish.  For these, absence from config file is a wildcard,
  since they'll always be meaningful for that device, but it's
  probably best to represent that 'no property.')

  There's some question in my mind about how "real" locators "should"
  be represented, i.e. as a set of properties, the current int-based
  scheme with some adaptatation glue, or some migration of the current
  int-based scheme to something slightly better (e.g. that can handle
  wider addresses).  But it seems fairly obvious that the "property-ish"
  set of things are reasonably represented as properties.

This, and the issue of "What's a locator" from above make me go back
to different ideas...

E.g., devices that have multiple sets of properties, one for
'locators', and one for 'other stuff'.  (or two for locators: one for
real ones, one for device-local ones, plus the rest...) Maybe
distinguished by a flag (rather than some kind of separate

in the case of 'real locators' (which are defined by the bus being
attached to), the parent bus would know to put them in the right set.
In the case of property-ish config-specified values, the _child_ would
know to put them in the right set.

Thinking about the way different busses work, I think you'd want
behaviour that worked something like:

direct config:

    for each device found:

	parent sets up properties for found device, calls
		config_found().  (This attaches "normal properties"
		and "locators" to device.)

	parent submatch compares properties for found device with
		"real" locators for device currently being examined.
		If "compatible," calls device match rtn.  (This
		examines properties of device, and "real" locators.)

	device match routine does whatever it wants with "real"
		locators, otherwise pokes at device, and
		uses "property-ish" locators to verify that the
		device-specific properties (e.g. enet addr)
		match.  (This examines properties of device,
		and property-ish locators.)

	If device match succeeds, config_attach() is called.

	config_attach sets up the device.  It probably makes sense
		to have it copy the property-ish locators to the
		device (otherwise, attach would have to do it).


indirect config:

    for each device in the config file (via config_search()):

	parent submatch/search fn sets up some properties for found
		device,	and copies real locators from cfdata.  it
		invokes child device match.  (attaches properties and
		locators to device, uses cfdata's "real" locators.)

	device match looks at those locators, possibly modifying some
		of them or adding some.  Uses property-ish locators
		to verify that device-specific properties match.

	if device match succeeds, config_attach() is called.  It does
		the same stuff as it does above.


Some notes:

* you could have config_found attach 'property-ish' locators to
devices, if you delete them after every match.  That seems really
painful in terms of efficiency, and code still has to be able to look
up 'real' locators.

* Indirect config is actually easy, since each device struct allocated
basically has a lifetime of one device match fn...  no big inner loops

I'd like to understand how you'd like this scenario to work.

I consider this fairly important, because it's the obvious next
extension to the properties framework (and it's been brought up
previously).  You don't necessarily have to make the code do the right
thing right now (though it's better to overhaul things once rather
than twice), but it's important to understand how this goal would
impact the existing design.

If it doesn't fit without significant modification (code or
conceptual), then that to me is an indication that something's