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From: Benjamin Herrenschmidt <>
To: Rob Herring <>
Cc: Andrew Jeffery <>,
	Mark Rutland <>,,
	Greg Kroah-Hartman <>,,,
	"" <>,
	Joel Stanley <>,,
	OpenBMC Maillist <>,
Subject: Re: [RFC PATCH v2 1/4] dt-bindings: misc: Add bindings for misc. BMC control fields
Date: Thu, 19 Jul 2018 09:58:18 +1000	[thread overview]
Message-ID: <> (raw)
In-Reply-To: <>

On Wed, 2018-07-18 at 13:50 -0600, Rob Herring wrote:
> > So Rob, I think that's precisely where the disconnect is.
> > 
> > I think we all (well hopefully) agree that those few tunables don't fit
> > in any existing subystem and aren't likely to ever do (famous last
> > words...).
> > 
> > Where we disagree is we want to make this parametrized via the DT, and
> > you want us to hard wire the list in some kind of SoC driver for a
> > given SoC family/version.
> > 
> > The reason I think hard wiring the list in the driver is not a great
> > solution is that that list in itself is prone to variations, possibly
> > fairly often, between boards, vendors, versions of boards, etc...
> Can we separate the list of what's enabled from the details of the
> registers?  Even if we put all this into DT, we may still want to have
> some separation for dts file structure. Some portion of this has to be
> SoC specific because you are simply exposing SoC registers.

Not sure I understand what you mean by "what's enabled".

The goal here is to expose register "fields" (nor raw values, some
registers need locking for RMW etc... the kernel would handle that via
syscon locking I expect), so basically named "tunables" to userspace.

Userspace is the one that knows the values for a given system.

> > We can't know for sure every SoC tunable (out of the gazillions in
> > those chips) are going to be needed for a given system. We know which
> > ones we do use for ours, and that's a couple of handfuls, but it could
> > be that Dell need a slightly different set, and so might Yadro, or so
> > might our next board revision for that matter.
> That's very hand wavy. Do you have some concrete examples (i.e. dts
> files) showing the differences.

We could list what we have on the pile for some of our IBM systems
today, but we would need Dell and Yadro to chime in with what they

I still, from experience with that stuff and gut feeling, am pretty
sure it's going to be a moving list, and updating the kernel driver
constantly isn't going to fly.

> One problem I'm having with this is you are still going to need per
> board specifics in userspace.

Yes. Userspace is ultimately the one that knows what needs to be done
on a given machine.

>  You may be moving some of details out,
> but moving to DT is not going to completely eliminate that. 

We aren't trying to either. We are trying to make sure we don't need to
change the *kernel* all the time, in part bcs we are pushing hard for
OpenBMC vendors to use upstream with, if possible, no vendor changes.

So userspace has to know the board specific tunables anyways. Today in
many systems, it does that by whacking /dev/mem. I guess you can
understand why that is bad :-)

> I agree
> that not using /dev/mem is a good thing, but there are several ways
> you could do that independent of any DT binding.

Such as ? The only other option is to have one or more kernel drivers
that have built-in the precise and complete list of those tunables that
need to be exposed.

It's not impossible, but I worry that it's not going to scale terribly
well, and that vendors will constantly "fork" that driver to add
different things to that list.

I might be wrong here, so I'd like for Eugene (Dell) and Alexander
(Yadro) to chime in, but experience with BMCs has shown that we
regularily , as we add a feature or rewrite something, need to find
another new magic SoC tunable the HW manufacturer hid somewhere that
will make our stuff work.

> > Now, updating the device-tree in the board flash with whatever vendor
> > specific information is needed is a LOT easier than getting the kernel
> > driver constantly updated. The device-tree after all is there to
> > reflect among other things system specific ways in which the SoC is
> > wired and configured. This is rather close...
> Sadly, updating my kernel is easier than updating my PC firmware
> (though packaged firmware on my current laptop changes that). I can
> assure you that ARM boards are generally much worse in that regard.
> BTW, you may want to pay attention to EBBR[1][2]. Not sure how much
> you care for BMCs, but there may be some interest.

You are conflating your host kernel and your BMC here. The BMC kernel
is part of the "firmware", as is its DTS and the BMC userspace.

(Again this isn't the host DTS, this is the BMC DTS).

They get all updated together. My point isn't about the ease or
difficulty for a *user* to udpate their BMC, in that case the solutions
above are equivalent.

The point is from a system vendor perspective. A system vendor using
OpenBMC will *customize* their BMC build in various ways. Typically
they *will* have a custom DT since this is what represents their
specific system and they will have some specific userspace bits.

However, we are trying very hard for them *not* to fork the kernel, and
if possible move OpenBMC towards a fully upstream kernel (still working
on getting all the SoC drivers cleaned up and pushed up but it's moving
in the right direction).

So from a vendor perspective, such as us IBM, we *alread* have custom
DTs and customized userspace, that's part of the normal flow of
deploying a BMC.

However, we are trying *NOT* to have a custom kernel (and we don't, at
the moment there is an OpenBMC kernel accross vendors, though it's not
*yet* fully upstream).

So if the solution proposed is prone to requiring frequent changes to a
kernel driver, that solution makes the above a lot more difficult and
will encourage vendors to keep forking kernels.

This is what we are trying to avoid.


> Rob
> [1]
> [2]

  reply	other threads:[~2018-07-18 23:59 UTC|newest]

Thread overview: 31+ messages / expand[flat|nested]  mbox.gz  Atom feed  top
2018-07-11  5:31 [RFC PATCH v2 0/4] sysfs interface to miscellaneous BMC controls and fields Andrew Jeffery
2018-07-11  5:31 ` [RFC PATCH v2 1/4] dt-bindings: misc: Add bindings for misc. BMC control fields Andrew Jeffery
2018-07-11 20:04   ` Rob Herring
2018-07-12  0:14     ` Benjamin Herrenschmidt
2018-07-12  0:53     ` Andrew Jeffery
2018-07-12 15:11       ` Rob Herring
2018-07-13  0:55         ` Benjamin Herrenschmidt
2018-07-13  6:31           ` Andrew Jeffery
2018-07-13 15:14             ` Alexander Amelkin
2018-07-13 18:49               ` Eugene.Cho
2018-07-13 19:03                 ` Greg KH
2018-07-13 19:06                   ` Eugene.Cho
2018-07-15 14:21                     ` Avi Fishman
2018-07-16  0:57               ` Andrew Jeffery
2018-07-16 13:55             ` Rob Herring
2018-07-17  1:04               ` Andrew Jeffery
2018-07-17  4:56               ` Benjamin Herrenschmidt
2018-07-17 23:28                 ` Andrew Jeffery
2018-07-18 19:07                   ` Rob Herring
2018-07-19  1:57                     ` Andrew Jeffery
2018-07-18 19:50                 ` Rob Herring
2018-07-18 23:58                   ` Benjamin Herrenschmidt [this message]
2018-07-19  2:28                     ` Andrew Jeffery
2018-07-19  4:35                       ` Benjamin Herrenschmidt
2018-07-20  0:07                         ` Andrew Jeffery
2018-07-20  4:56                           ` Benjamin Herrenschmidt
2018-08-10  0:22                             ` Kun Yi
2018-08-23 15:32                           ` Alexander Amelkin
2018-07-11  5:31 ` [RFC PATCH v2 2/4] Documentation: ABI: Add sysfs-devices-platform-field to testing Andrew Jeffery
2018-07-11  5:31 ` [RFC PATCH v2 3/4] misc: Add bmc-misc-ctrl Andrew Jeffery
2018-07-11  5:31 ` [RFC PATCH v2 4/4] dts: aspeed-g5: Describe VGA, SIO scratch and DAC mux fields Andrew Jeffery

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