[PATCH v2 2/5] firmware: annotate thou shalt not request fw on init or probe

Luis R. Rodriguez mcgrof at kernel.org
Thu Aug 25 06:39:01 AEST 2016

On Wed, Aug 24, 2016 at 08:55:55AM +0200, Daniel Vetter wrote:
> On Fri, Jun 17, 2016 at 12:54 AM, Luis R. Rodriguez <mcgrof at kernel.org> wrote:
> > Thou shalt not make firmware calls early on init or probe.

<-- snip -->

> > There are 4 offenders at this time:
> >
> > mcgrof at ergon ~/linux-next (git::20160609)$ export COCCI=scripts/coccinelle/api/request_firmware.cocci
> > mcgrof at ergon ~/linux-next (git::20160609)$ make coccicheck MODE=report
> >
> > drivers/fmc/fmc-fakedev.c: ERROR: driver call request firmware call on its init routine on line 321.
> > drivers/fmc/fmc-write-eeprom.c: ERROR: driver call request firmware call on its probe routine on line 136.
> > drivers/tty/serial/rp2.c: ERROR: driver call request firmware call on its probe routine on line 796.
> > drivers/tty/serial/ucc_uart.c: ERROR: driver call request firmware call on its probe routine on line 1246.
> Plus all gpu drivers which need firmware. And yes we must load them at
> probe

Do you have an upstream driver in mind that does this ? Is it on device
drier module probe or a DRM subsystem specific probe call of some sort ?

> because people are generally pissed when they boot their machine
> and the screen goes black. On top of that a lot of people want their
> gpu drivers to be built-in, but can't ship the firmware blobs in the
> kernel image because gpl. Yep, there's a bit a contradiction there ...

Can they use initramfs for this ?

Also just curious -- as with other subsystems, is it possible to load
a generic driver first, say vesa, and then a more enhanced one later ?
I am not saying this is ideal or am I suggesting this, I'd just like
to know the feasibility of this.

> I think what would work is loading the different subsystems of the
> driver in parallel (we already do that largely)

Init level stuff is actually pretty synchronous, and in fact both
init and probe are called serially. There are a few subsystems which
have been doing things a bit differently, but these are exceptions.

When you say we already do this largely, can you describe a bit more
precisely what you mean ?

>, and then if one
> firmware blob isn't there yet simply stall that async worker until it
> shows up.

Is this an existing framework or do you mean if we add something
generic to do this async loading of subsystems ?

> But the answers I've gotten thus far from request_firmware()
> folks (well at least Greg) is don't do that ...

Well in this patch set I'm adding myself as a MAINTAINER and I've
been extending the firmware API recently to help with a few new
features I want, I've been wanting to hear more feedback from
other's needs and I had actually not gotten much -- except
only recently with the usermode helper and reasons why some
folks thought they could not use direct firmware loading from
the fs. I'm keen to hear or more use cases and needs specially if
they have to do with improving boot time and asynchronous boot.

> Is that problem still somewhere on the radar? 

Not mine.

> Atm there's various
> wait_for_rootfs hacks out there floating in vendor/product trees.

This one I've heard about recently, and I suggested two possible
solutions, with a preference to a simply notification of when
rootfs is available from userspace.

> "Avoid at all costs" sounds like upstream prefers to not care about
> android/cros in those case (yes I know most arm socs don't need
> firmware, which would make it a problem fo just be a subset of all
> devices).

In my days of dealing with Android I learned most folks did not frankly
care too much about upstream-first model. That means things were reactive.
That's a business mind set and that's fine. However for upstream we want
what is best and to discuss. I haven't seen proposals so, so long as
we just hear of "hacks" that some folks do in vendor/product trees,
what can we do ?

In so far as async probe is concerned -- that is now upstream.


In so far as modules are concerned -- this should work without issue now, and
if there is an issue its very likely a bug in the subsystem.  As I noted in the
post, built-in support requires more love. A simple option for you to test this
is to test the two debug patches at the end there and boot. Alternatively inits
can just peg the async request for all modules. Should be an easy change, just
hadn't had a change to do it yet. Maybe its time.

I'm also trying to make more async functionality possible early in boot with
dependencies annotated somehow, and have a bit of work to help with this (refer
to recent linker tables patches) already which may even be possible to used to
facelift our old kernel init levels -- but as I've studied this I've also
observed others working on very similar problems, nothing is quite taking a
large picture of this and trying to generalize this. Its why I proposed it as a
topic for KS.

So .. I agree, let's avoid the hacks. Patches welcomed.


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