PCI rework

Jesse Barnes jbarnes at virtuousgeek.org
Sun Apr 30 16:22:30 PDT 2006

On Sunday, April 30, 2006 12:52 pm, Mark Kettenis wrote:
> I'm talking specifically about pci_device_map_region() and
> pci_device_unmap_region().  These interfaces are clearly there
> because the Linux sysfs provides these "regions" as files which you
> can open and then mmap.  Other operating systems don't support this
> view, and there's a good reason not to do it: Many PCI devices put
> mappable memory addresses in config space outside the standard PCI
> BARs.

You mean for ISA legacy port space?  Yes, that's another area that needs 
addressing (I mentioned it in the early threads about libpciaccess), 
but beyond that I'm not sure what you mean?

> What you really need is an interface to read from PCI config 
> space and an interface to map physicall addresses on the pci bus into
> memory.  Some standard helper functions to decode the standard BARs
> is certainly desirable.

In my experience that's the wrong interface.  Reading PCI config space 
isn't enough to tell you what or where memory should be mapped.  Only 
the OS knows enough to actually map things correctly, e.g. in the case 
of PCI bridges of various types (host->pci, pci->pci, etc.).  Hiding 
this knowledge behind a library (ideally one that talks to the OS) is 
the only way to go.

> > Note that the prototype is different in that it takes a full pci
> > info structure rather than just a tag.  This gives arch specific
> > implementations more flexibility and eases porting.
> But a PCITAG is already opaque; there's no reason why you could
> extend it to include the additional information you might need.

It's true that arch implementations could use PCITAG as some sort of 
mapping key, but passing a whole structure makes things easier since 
you can just have an arch specific void * containing an arch specific 

> > I disagree with this, the xf86Pci interface is pretty screwy:
> >   o X does things with PCI devices it has no business doing (e.g.
> >     remapping BARs)
> Remapping as in writing different addresses into them?  X might need
> to do that if the firmware doesn't properly initialize them.  I've
> seen many, many buggy firmware implementations (ok they're mostly
> BIOSes) that don't do this properly.

X shouldn't be working around buggy BIOSes.  If this knowledge belongs 
anywhere, it's in the OS (or at the very least some sort of fairly 
centralized library).

> >   o the distinction between mapping domain and regular PCI memory
> > is arbitrary and should be removed
> I'm not quite sure what is actually meant by a "domain".  I'm
> presuming it's similar to what the ACPI specification calls a
> "segment": a completely seperate PCI bus hierarchy.  Yes, the way the
> current interface handles that is awkward, but it should be easy to
> fix this if you add the domain to the PCITAG.

I'm talking about xf86MapDomainMemory vs. xf86MapPciMem, but it sounds 
like we agree that it's a silly distinction.  PCI domains (or segments 
in ACPI as you mention) need to be dealt with on a high level.

> >   o the PCI device discovery code needed by drivers is
> > unnecessarily complex
> I'm not so sure about that.  Some amount of complexity will be needed
> to deal with badly designed or buggy hardware and firmware.  Most of
> these issues will be specific to particular PCI hardware.  Shoving
> those into the domain of a seperate library, or the further down into
> the operating system isn't a solution.

Well, fundamentally a driver wants to bond to a particular PCI device 
(or class of devices).  The current code makes that more difficult than 
it needs to be (though it's not that bad I suppose).

> >   o ROM mapping is hard to port and buggy in some cases
> By its very nature ROM's are unportable.  I really can't see how
> libpciaccess would alleviate that situation.  The X hardware drivers
> really should try to avoid depending on ROMs.

I agree with the last statement, but ROMs can be supported with 
emulation, and for many devices that's the only way to make them usable 
(i.e. if you don't POST them with a ROM you can't really program them 
at all).  So getting at the ROMs in a portable way is an important 
feature for non-x86 platforms.

> There are not many applications that need a PCI abstraction layer.
> Apart from X and some debugging tools to look at PCI config space I
> can't really think of any applications that need them.

Well, they're out there.  I don't really like the idea of userspace 
drivers in general, but for certain devices a userspace driver is the 
path of least resistance.  And there are quite a few of them out there, 
mostly used for special purpose applications.

> The debugging 
> tools used on Linux, pciutils, already come with their own
> abstraction layer.  So libpciaccess was basically developed just for
> X, and is unlikely to be used for any other software packages.  I
> really don't see your point, especially since adapting them requires
> changes to almost all X drivers, even those that don't abuse the
> current PCI abstraction layer.

Yeah, it's a shame that Ian had to write his own, but pciutils doesn't 
have a license suitable for many projects...


More information about the xorg mailing list