[PATCH v6 0/8] ptp: IEEE 1588 hardware clock support

Richard Cochran richardcochran at gmail.com
Fri Sep 24 03:30:44 EST 2010

Here is the sixth version of my patch set adding PTP hardware clock
support to the Linux kernel. The main difference to v5 is that the
character device interface has been replaced with one based on the
posix clock system calls.

The first three patches add necessary background support in the posix
clock code. The last five add the new PTP hardware clock features.
Previously, I had tried to present the posix clock changes all by
themselves, but commentators asked to see the whole context.

What follows is a rather lengthy discussion of the various design

Table of Contents
1 Introduction 
2 Previous Discussions 
3 Design Issues 
    3.1 Clock Operations 
    3.2 Character Device vs System Calls 
        3.2.1 Using the POSIX Clock API 
        3.2.2 Tuning a POSIX Clock 
        3.2.3 Dynamic POSIX Clock IDs 
    3.3 Synchronizing the Linux System Time 
    3.4 Ancillary PHC Operations 
    3.5 User timers 
4 Drivers 
    4.1 Supported Hardware Clocks 
    4.2 Open Driver Issues 
        4.2.1 DP83640 
        4.2.2 IXP465 

1 Introduction 

  The aim of this patch set is to add support for PTP hardware clocks
  into the Linux kernel. In the following description, we use the
  abbreviation "PHC" to mean "PTP hardware clock." 

  Support for obtaining timestamps from a PHC already exists via the
  SO_TIMESTAMPING socket option, integrated in kernel version 2.6.30.
  This patch set completes the picture by allow user space programs to
  adjust the PHC and to control its ancillary features.

2 Previous Discussions 

  This patch set previously appeared on the netdev list. Since V5 of
  the character device patch set, the discussion has moved to the

  - PTP hardware clock as a character device V5

  - POSIX clock tuning syscall with static clock ids

  - POSIX clock tuning syscall with dynamic clock ids

3 Design Issues 

3.1 Clock Operations 

   Based on experience with several commercially available PHCs, we
   identified a set of essential operations and a set of ancillary

   - Basic clock operations

     1. Set time
     2. Get time
     3. Shift the clock by a given offset atomically
     4. Adjust clock frequency

   - Ancillary clock features

     1. Time stamp external events
     2. Enable Linux PPS subsystem events
     3. Periodic output signals
     4. One shot or periodic alarms, with CPU interrupt

    The patch set includes examples of the first two ancillary
    features, and implementing the third point for a particular PHC is
    fairly straightforward. The fourth point is discussed below.

3.2 Character Device vs System Calls 

   This patch set started out as a class driver that exposes the PHC
   as a character device with standardized ioctls. Since several clock
   operations in the ioctl interface mimic the POSIX clock API, the
   suggestion was made to expose the PHC as a new clockid_t.

   As to other possible clock ids, the standard offers the following

      An implementation may also support additional clocks. The
      interpretation of time values for these clocks is unspecified.

   So as far as the POSIX standard is concerned, offering a clock id
   to represent the PHC would be acceptable.

   From discussions on the lkml, a repeated wish was to ensure that
   any changes in the POSIX clock code would be general enough to
   support other new hardware clocks that might appear in the future,
   not just the particulars of PHCs.

3.2.1 Using the POSIX Clock API 

    Looking at the mapping from PHC operation to the POSIX clock API,
    we see that two of the basic clock operations, marked with *, have
    no POSIX equivalent. The items marked NA are peculiar to PHCs and
    will be discussed separately, below.
      Clock Operation               POSIX function               
      Set time                      clock_gettime                
      Get time                      clock_settime                
      Shift the clock               *                            
      Adjust clock frequency        *                            
      Time stamp external events    NA                           
      Enable PPS events             NA                           
      Periodic output signals       NA                           
      One shot or periodic alarms   timer_create, timer_settime  

    In contrast to the standard Linux system clock, a PHC is
    adjustable in hardware, for example using frequency compensation
    registers or a VCO. The ability to directly tune the PHC is
    essential to reap the benefit of hardware timestamping.

3.2.2 Tuning a POSIX Clock 

    The patch set introduces a new system call which allows tuning of
    a POSIX clock. The function combines the 'struct timex' from the
    NTP adjtimex syscall with a POSIX clock id.

    clock_adjtime(clockid_t, struct timex *);

    Although the timex interface is a bit baroque (John Stultz said:
    "a little crufty"), using it as the basis of the new call allows
    supporting the tried and true NTP semantics.  By adding one
    additional mode flag to the struct timex, the requirements for
    PHCs are also satisfied. In the future, if new clocks appear that
    require more elaborate control, then the padding at the end of the
    struct reserves 44 bytes for new fields.

3.2.3 Dynamic POSIX Clock IDs 

    The reaction on the list to having a static id like CLOCK_PTP was
    mostly negative. However, the idea of generating a clock id
    dynamically seems to have gained acceptance. The general idea is
    to advertise the available clock ids to user space via sysfs. This
    patch set implements two different ways:


    Note: I am not too sure that this is exactly what people imagined,
          but it is my best understanding so far. I gleaned two
          different ideas about where to offer the clock id. In order
          to keep just one way, I will be happy to remove the less
          popular one.

3.3 Synchronizing the Linux System Time 

   One could offer a PHC as a combined clock source and clock event
   device. The advantage of this approach would be that it obviates
   the need for synchronization when the PHC is selected as the system
   timer. However, some PHCs, namely the PHY based clocks, cannot be
   used in this way.

   Instead, the patch set provides a way to offer a Pulse Per Second
   (PPS) event from the PHC to the Linux PPS subsystem. A user space
   application can read the PPS events and tune the system clock, just
   like when using other external time sources like radio clocks or

3.4 Ancillary PHC Operations 

   Most PHCs offer hardware interfaces to the outside world, that is,
   the "real world". It is important to offer support for these
   operations, since leaving them out would defeat the utility of
   having a PHC in the first place. These operations do not map at all
   to the POSIX clock functions, but one could offer them as a
   character device or via sysfs.

   Fearing a lkml debate on the merits of either one, I went ahead and
   implemented both cases. Both approaches adequately cover the needed
   functionality, in my opinion. The code for each is in its own .c
   file, so it will be easy enough to remove one of them. I don't mind
   leaving both ways in, either.

3.5 User timers 

   Using the POSIX clock API gived user space the possibility to
   create and use timers with timer_create and timer_settime. In the
   current patch set the kernel functionality is not implemented,
   since there are some issues to consider first. I see two ways to do
   about this.

   1. Implement the functionality anew. This approach might end up
      duplicating similar code that already exists. Also, looking at
      the hrtimer code, getting user timers right seems to have a
      number of gotchas and thorny issues.

   2. Reuse the hrtimer code. Since the hrtimer code uses a clock
      event device under the hood, it might be possible (in theory) to
      offer capable PHCs as clock event devices. However, the current
      hrtimers are hard-coded to the event device via a per-cpu
      global. Perhaps one could associate an event device with a
      hrtimer via the timer itself.

   At this point I am not optimistic about either approach, and I
   would vote for postponing the timer issue indefinitely. The
   implementation effort would be high, but the utility low.

   If the Linux system time is synchronized to the PHC via the PPS
   method, then using standard hrtimers would be good enough for most
   purposes. Consider the time scales involved. The PHC can be
   synchronized to within 100 nanoseconds of an external time source,
   while timer wakeup latency (even with rt kernels) is tens of

4 Drivers 

4.1 Supported Hardware Clocks 

   + Standard Linux system timer
     This driver exports the standard Linux timer as a PTP clock.
     Although this duplicates CLOCK_REALTIME, the code serves as a
     simple example for driver development and lets people who without
     special hardware try the new API.

   + Freescale eTSEC gianfar
     - 2 Time stamp external triggers, programmable polarity (opt. interrupt)
     - 2 Alarm registers (optional interrupt)
     - 3 Periodic signals (optional interrupt)

   + National Semiconductor DP83640
     - 6 GPIOs programmable as inputs or outputs
     - 6 GPIOs with dedicated functions (LED/JTAG/clock) can also be
       used as general inputs or outputs
     - GPIO inputs can time stamp external triggers
     - GPIO outputs can produce periodic signals
     - 1 interrupt pin

   + Intel IXP465
     - Auxiliary Slave/Master Mode Snapshot (optional interrupt)
     - Target Time (optional interrupt)

4.2 Open Driver Issues 

4.2.1 DP83640 
    In order to make this work, one line must be added into the MAC
    driver. If you have the DP83640 and want to try the driver, you
    need to add this one line to your MAC driver: In the
    .ndo_start_xmit function, add skb_tx_timestamp(skb).

4.2.2 IXP465 
    I do not know how to correctly choose the timestamp "channel"
    based on the port identifier:

+#define PORT2CHANNEL(p)                1
+ * PHYSICAL_ID(p->id) ?
+ * TODO - Figure out correct mapping.
+ */

   Krzysztof, can you help?

Richard Cochran (8):
  posix clocks: introduce a syscall for clock tuning.
  posix clocks: dynamic clock ids.
  posix clocks: introduce a sysfs presence.
  ptp: Added a brand new class driver for ptp clocks.
  ptp: Added a simulated PTP hardware clock.
  ptp: Added a clock that uses the eTSEC found on the MPC85xx.
  ptp: Added a clock driver for the IXP46x.
  ptp: Added a clock driver for the National Semiconductor PHYTER.

 Documentation/ABI/testing/sysfs-ptp             |  107 +++
 Documentation/ABI/testing/sysfs-timesource      |   24 +
 Documentation/powerpc/dts-bindings/fsl/tsec.txt |   57 ++
 Documentation/ptp/ptp.txt                       |   94 +++
 Documentation/ptp/testptp.c                     |  358 +++++++++
 Documentation/ptp/testptp.mk                    |   33 +
 arch/arm/include/asm/unistd.h                   |    1 +
 arch/arm/kernel/calls.S                         |    1 +
 arch/arm/mach-ixp4xx/include/mach/ixp46x_ts.h   |   78 ++
 arch/blackfin/include/asm/unistd.h              |    3 +-
 arch/blackfin/mach-common/entry.S               |    1 +
 arch/powerpc/boot/dts/mpc8313erdb.dts           |   14 +
 arch/powerpc/boot/dts/mpc8572ds.dts             |   14 +
 arch/powerpc/boot/dts/p2020ds.dts               |   14 +
 arch/powerpc/boot/dts/p2020rdb.dts              |   14 +
 arch/powerpc/include/asm/systbl.h               |    1 +
 arch/powerpc/include/asm/unistd.h               |    3 +-
 arch/x86/ia32/ia32entry.S                       |    1 +
 arch/x86/include/asm/unistd_32.h                |    3 +-
 arch/x86/include/asm/unistd_64.h                |    2 +
 arch/x86/kernel/syscall_table_32.S              |    1 +
 drivers/Kconfig                                 |    2 +
 drivers/Makefile                                |    1 +
 drivers/char/mmtimer.c                          |    1 +
 drivers/net/Makefile                            |    1 +
 drivers/net/arm/ixp4xx_eth.c                    |  191 +++++
 drivers/net/gianfar_ptp.c                       |  447 ++++++++++++
 drivers/net/gianfar_ptp_reg.h                   |  113 +++
 drivers/net/phy/Kconfig                         |   29 +
 drivers/net/phy/Makefile                        |    1 +
 drivers/net/phy/dp83640.c                       |  887 +++++++++++++++++++++++
 drivers/net/phy/dp83640_reg.h                   |  261 +++++++
 drivers/ptp/Kconfig                             |   67 ++
 drivers/ptp/Makefile                            |    8 +
 drivers/ptp/ptp_chardev.c                       |  178 +++++
 drivers/ptp/ptp_clock.c                         |  382 ++++++++++
 drivers/ptp/ptp_ixp46x.c                        |  345 +++++++++
 drivers/ptp/ptp_linux.c                         |  165 +++++
 drivers/ptp/ptp_private.h                       |   64 ++
 drivers/ptp/ptp_sysfs.c                         |  235 ++++++
 include/linux/Kbuild                            |    1 +
 include/linux/posix-timers.h                    |   14 +-
 include/linux/ptp_clock.h                       |   79 ++
 include/linux/ptp_clock_kernel.h                |  139 ++++
 include/linux/syscalls.h                        |    2 +
 include/linux/time.h                            |    2 +
 include/linux/timex.h                           |    3 +-
 kernel/compat.c                                 |  136 +++--
 kernel/posix-cpu-timers.c                       |    6 +
 kernel/posix-timers.c                           |   98 +++-
 kernel/time/ntp.c                               |    2 +
 51 files changed, 4624 insertions(+), 60 deletions(-)
 create mode 100644 Documentation/ABI/testing/sysfs-ptp
 create mode 100644 Documentation/ABI/testing/sysfs-timesource
 create mode 100644 Documentation/ptp/ptp.txt
 create mode 100644 Documentation/ptp/testptp.c
 create mode 100644 Documentation/ptp/testptp.mk
 create mode 100644 arch/arm/mach-ixp4xx/include/mach/ixp46x_ts.h
 create mode 100644 drivers/net/gianfar_ptp.c
 create mode 100644 drivers/net/gianfar_ptp_reg.h
 create mode 100644 drivers/net/phy/dp83640.c
 create mode 100644 drivers/net/phy/dp83640_reg.h
 create mode 100644 drivers/ptp/Kconfig
 create mode 100644 drivers/ptp/Makefile
 create mode 100644 drivers/ptp/ptp_chardev.c
 create mode 100644 drivers/ptp/ptp_clock.c
 create mode 100644 drivers/ptp/ptp_ixp46x.c
 create mode 100644 drivers/ptp/ptp_linux.c
 create mode 100644 drivers/ptp/ptp_private.h
 create mode 100644 drivers/ptp/ptp_sysfs.c
 create mode 100644 include/linux/ptp_clock.h
 create mode 100644 include/linux/ptp_clock_kernel.h

More information about the Linuxppc-dev mailing list