[PATCH 10/11] Add MPC8360EMDS board support

Benjamin Herrenschmidt benh at kernel.crashing.org
Thu Oct 5 09:36:59 EST 2006

On Wed, 2006-10-04 at 10:48 -0400, Dan Malek wrote:
> On Oct 4, 2006, at 2:08 AM, Benjamin Herrenschmidt wrote:
> > It's not that complex and the single binary is not necessarily the  
> > main
> > objective (it's a good practice as it enforce avoiding ugly #ifdef  
> > hacks
> Would you guys please get off of this #ifdefs discussion! :-)
> That's not what this is about.

But it _IS_ in large part ! #ifdefs are ugly and evil. So it's about
that and having a central repository for board specific informations
instead of hacks cluttered around 20 drivers....

> > There is fundamentally little difference between the OCP tables we had
> > before and the device-tree.
> Exactly!  So why has it become such a desire to represent
> stuff in the device tree that was never necessary to represent
> in other table formats before?

For several reasons. One of them is the fact that the previous tables
were too limited, another is that we are converging using the same
mecanism for all platforms.
> > The new device-tree model provides a more flexible and richer semantic
> > for adding all sort of driver or BSP private infos, and for dealing  
> > with
> > address mapping and interrupt mapping.
> Not really, we had all of this before.....  and in a way
> that I didn't have to learn a new syntax to represent.

Ugh ? Look at the #ifdef mess in ibm_emac...

> > When done right, it does simplify the matter. An example that I've  
> > seen
> > internally is embedded boards with all sorts of variety of dodgy
> > interrupt controllers cascaded on each other.
> Good example.  Cascaded interrupt controllers are always
> a challenge.  :-)  It doesn't matter how you present the
> information about their configuration if you don't have
> the code written properly to manage them.  It's the
> _code_ you write the solves the problem, not the
> device tree.

The device-tree allows the code to be much simpler. The -code- becomes
what it should be in the first place: purely a driver for each actual
chip with no need for much knowledge if the general layout. Layout
related (and in general board related) informations are in the
device-tree and the board setup file(s). It's cleaner and simpler.

> It doesn't really make it any simpler for the driver, because
> they have always retrieved that information in some way that
> has been consistent, usually from the old board descriptor
> or platform data. 

No, it's never been consistent.

>  The method of converting that information,
> usually a concern of the boot rom or the boot wrapper or
> compiled in, is what we are changing now.

We are changing the method to make it consistent. Providing the
information is still a concern of the boot rom or the wrapper.
> > There is a great flexibility of putting whatever you want in  
> > there... or
> > not.
> It's the 'or not' part that I am worried about.  Things like
> you mention above make sense.  I'm starting to worry about
> some of this other stuff, and the bscr example is what
> woke me up :-)  I think that's an example of things that
> should be considered not necessary.

I haven't looked at this specific example. I'll try to have a look
later. I jumped into the discussion pointed by somebody else :)

> > It's up to the embedded developper to use that tool, it can be used
> > in a bloated way, or in a smart way, we aren't enforcing any direction
> > here.
> Not really.  To use a particular driver you are going to have
> to provide the proper amount of information.  It's not up to
> me as a consumer of something already written.  I can
> only control that if I'm the developer of the code.

Oh sure, existing drivers will require some amount of information, and
that's good. Better have it in that central place than having board
specific junk in every driver. However, you can use it to add your own
stuffs as well if you feel the need. And when I say used in a simple vs.
a bloated way, it's also up to the driver writer to not require too

> > I think you are a bit too dismissive here. The approach has always  
> > been
> > to provide the choice,
> There isn't a choice.  If I want to use a particular driver
> I have to provide the proper and necessary information
> using a device tree, period.  If I want to change my
> board design for some reason that is advantageous
> to me, and the driver doesn't support it, no possible
> convolution of device tree information is going to make
> that happen.

Then you fix the driver. We are not solving world hunger but we are at
least trying to improve our own food quality here.

> > ...  is hopefully an easier way to create the BSP in the first place,
> Sorry, but I don't see that.  You are either skilled at
> creating a BSP or you are not.  The device tree just adds
> another dimension of information in a syntax and structure
> that you have to learn.

To re-use your own answer to one of my points, I'd say that's
bullshit :) It's easier to have a central place with well defined
bindings to express things like your interrupt routing, device layout
and addresses etc...

> > .... The -ability- to build multi-board
> > kernels is made mandatory for code to be merged upstream,
> Why?  When are people going to realize that the
> ratio of Linux on custom embedded systems to a standard
> workstation is about a million to one?

And ?

>   So what if I
> can boot the same kernel on a couple of obsolete
> PowerPC workstations using drivers that aren't used
> anywhere else?  Or, on a couple of embedded eval
> boards that don't represent how people build products?
> Hell, I tried to build an x86 kernel the other day
> for a PC and still don't have one that boots.  I can't
> seem to figure out what processor configuration
> options or compiler options to use.  Linux doesn't
> even support this on a "standard" PC. :-)

That's what defconfigs are for.

> > ... as it enforces
> > a certain level of quality,
> That's BS and you know it :-)

No, it's not. Look at the inextricable mess arch/ppc is in. We are
trying hard to avoid that for arch/powerpc. If you let people just do
hacks with #ifdef's all over the place for every single board, you end
up with something mostly unmaintainable. Your point would be valid if
the linux kernel was a frozen thing that didn't evolve. However, it
evolves and needs to be actively devleopped/maintained. Having a sane
infrastructure to hook board support in makes it easier and cleaner.

Also, most of the code for embedded that actually gets merged upstream
is code for evaluation boards provided by chip vendors, not end-user
embedded code, you know very well that the actual embedded developpers
never submit anything upstream, they don't care. That means that what
gets merged upstream is what will be used as example code and base for
new board supports. Thus it's important that is has as much flexibility
as possible, including the ability to build kernels with multiple board
supports in a single image. Embedded customers are the end of the chain
might chose to not use that capability, but it shall be provided by the
base/example code in the upstream repository.
> > ....  In fact, you client may be happy, once it's done rev 3 of the
> > board with a 3rd type of wifi chip or a 2nd type of ethernet HUB to  
> > have
> > the ability to easily build, maintain, distribute and test a single
> > kernel image,
> That's not very important.  For high volume products that
> are already in the field, the way the binary image is created
> or if they need different ones on different versions, isn't
> important.  The whole process of tracking, testing, distributing,
> installing, upgrading, reverting makes our development
> tools insignificant to them.  All that is desired is an image
> that when upgraded doesn't turn a million boxes into
> bricks.  If it does, our cleverness to use a device tree to
> support multiple boards better not be the problem, because
> if it is it will never be used again.

That argument too is BS and you know it :)


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