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From: David Brownell <>
To: Haavard Skinnemoen <>
Cc: Dan Williams <>,,
	Shannon Nelson <>,, "Francis Moreau" <>,
	"Paul Mundt" <>,
	"Vladimir A. Barinov" <>,
	Pierre Ossman <>
Subject: Re: [RFC v2 2/5] dmaengine: Add slave DMA interface
Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2008 02:52:49 -0800	[thread overview]
Message-ID: <> (raw)
In-Reply-To: <>

On Wednesday 30 January 2008, Haavard Skinnemoen wrote:
> Ok, I didn't bother to check the specs, as I think your main argument
> is that these options vary from controller to controller, so we need to
> make this extensible.
> Not all options are specific to DMA slave transfers either, although
> most of them are probably more important in this context.

Right ...

> Descriptor-based vs. register-based transfers sounds like something the
> DMA engine driver is free to decide on its own.

Not entirely.  The current interface has "dma_async_tx_descriptor"
wired pretty thoroughly into the call structure -- hard to avoid.
(And where's the "dma_async_rx_descriptor", since that's only TX??
Asymmetry like that is usually not a healthy sign.)  The engine is
not free to avoid those descriptors ...

And consider that many DMA transfers can often be started (after
cache synch operations) by writing less than half a dozen registers:
source address, destination address, params, length, enable.  Being
wildly generous, let's call that a couple dozen instructions, including
saving "what to do when it's done".  The current framework requires
several calls just to fill descriptors ... burning lots more than that
many instructions even before getting around to the Real Work!  (So I
was getting at low DMA overheads there, more than any particular way
to talk to the controller.)

> > Example:  USB tends to use one packet per "frame" and have the DMA
> > request signal mean "give me the next frame".  It's sometimes been
> > very important to use use the tuning options to avoid some on-chip
> > race conditions for transfers that cross lots of internal busses and
> > clock domains, and to have special handling for aborting transfers
> > and handling "short RX" packets.
> Is it enough to set these options on a per-channel basis, or do they
> have to be per-transfer?

Some depend on the buffer alignment and size, so "per-transfer" is the
norm.  Of course, if there aren't many channels, the various clients
may need to recycle them a lot ... which means lots of setup anyway.

That particular hardware has enough of the "logical" channels that each
driver gets its own; one level of arbitration involves assigning those
to underlying "physical" channels.

> > I wonder whether a unified programming interface is the right way
> > to approach peripheral DMA support, given such variability.  The DMAC
> > from Synopsys that you're working with has some of those options, but
> > not all of them... and other DMA controllers have their own oddities.
> Yes, but I still think it's worthwhile to have a common interface to
> common functionality. Drivers for hardware that does proper flow
> control won't need to mess with priority and arbitration settings
> anyway, although they could do it in order to tweak performance.

I wouldn't assume that systems have that much overcapacity on
their critical I/O paths.  I've certainly seen systems tune those
busses down in speed ... you might describe the "why" as "tweaking
battery performance", which wasn't at all an optional stage of the
system development process.

> So a 
> plain "write this memory block to the TX register of this slave"
> interface will be useful in many cases.

That's a fair place to start.  Although in my limited experience,
drivers won't stay there.  I have one particular headache in mind,
where the licensed IP has been glued to at least four different
DMA controllers.  None of them act similarly -- sanely? -- enough
to share much DMA interface code.  Initiation has little quirks;
termination has bigger ones; transfer aborts... sigh

Heck, you've seen similar stuff yourself with the MCI driver.
AVR32 and AT91 have different DMA models.  You chose to have
them use different drivers...

> > For memcpy() acceleration, sure -- there shouldn't be much scope for
> > differences.  Source, destination, bytecount ... go!  (Not that it's
> > anywhere *near* that quick in the current interface.)
> Well, I can imagine copying scatterlists may be useful too. Also, some
> controllers support "stride" (or "scatter-gather", as Synopsys calls
> it), which can be useful for framebuffer bitblt acceleration, for
> example.

The OMAP1 DMA controller supports that.  There were also some
framebuffer-specific DMA options.  ;)

> > For peripheral DMA, maybe it should be a "core plus subclasses"
> > approach so that platform drivers can make use hardware-specific
> > knowledge (SOC-specific peripheral drivers using SOC-specific DMA),
> > sharing core code for dma-memcpy() and DMA channel housekeeping.
> I mostly agree, but I think providing basic DMA slave transfers only
> through extensions will cause maintenance nightmares for the drivers
> using it. 

See above ... if you've got a driver that's got to cope with
different DMA engines, those may be inescapable.

> But I suppose we could have something along the lines of 
> "core plus standard subclasses plus SOC-specific subclasses"...

That seems like one layer too many!

> We already have something along those lines through the capabilities
> mask, taking care of the "standard subclasses" part. How about we add
> some kind of type ID to struct dma_device so that a driver can use
> container_of() to get at the extended bits if it recognizes the type?

That would seem to be needed if the interface isn't going to become
a least-common-denominator approach -- or a kitchen-sink.

- Dave

> Haavard

  reply	other threads:[~2008-01-30 10:53 UTC|newest]

Thread overview: 39+ messages / expand[flat|nested]  mbox.gz  Atom feed  top
2008-01-29 18:10 [RFC v2 0/5] dmaengine: Slave DMA interface and example users Haavard Skinnemoen
2008-01-29 18:10 ` [RFC v2 1/5] dmaengine: Add dma_client parameter to device_alloc_chan_resources Haavard Skinnemoen
2008-01-29 18:10   ` [RFC v2 2/5] dmaengine: Add slave DMA interface Haavard Skinnemoen
2008-01-29 18:10     ` [RFC v2 3/5] dmaengine: Make DMA Engine menu visible for AVR32 users Haavard Skinnemoen
2008-01-29 18:10       ` [RFC v2 4/5] dmaengine: Driver for the Synopsys DesignWare DMA controller Haavard Skinnemoen
2008-01-29 18:10         ` [RFC v2 5/5] Atmel MCI: Driver for Atmel on-chip MMC controllers Haavard Skinnemoen
2008-02-13 18:30           ` Pierre Ossman
2008-02-13 18:47             ` Haavard Skinnemoen
2008-02-14 14:00             ` MMC core debugfs support (was Re: [RFC v2 5/5] Atmel MCI: Driver for Atmel on-chip MMC controllers) Haavard Skinnemoen
2008-02-25 17:12               ` Pierre Ossman
2008-02-13 19:11           ` [RFC v2 5/5] Atmel MCI: Driver for Atmel on-chip MMC controllers Dan Williams
2008-02-13 21:06             ` Haavard Skinnemoen
2008-02-13 23:55               ` Dan Williams
2008-02-14  8:36                 ` Haavard Skinnemoen
2008-02-14 18:34                   ` Dan Williams
2008-02-14 19:21                     ` Haavard Skinnemoen
2008-01-30 18:53         ` [RFC v2 4/5] dmaengine: Driver for the Synopsys DesignWare DMA controller Dan Williams
2008-01-30  7:30     ` [RFC v2 2/5] dmaengine: Add slave DMA interface David Brownell
2008-01-30  9:27       ` Haavard Skinnemoen
2008-01-30 10:52         ` David Brownell [this message]
2008-01-30 12:26           ` Haavard Skinnemoen
2008-01-31  8:27             ` David Brownell
2008-01-31  8:44               ` Paul Mundt
2008-01-31 12:51                 ` David Brownell
2008-01-31 14:12                   ` Haavard Skinnemoen
2008-01-31 13:52               ` Haavard Skinnemoen
2008-02-06 21:08             ` Dan Williams
2008-02-07 17:56               ` Haavard Skinnemoen
2008-01-30 18:28           ` Dan Williams
2008-01-30 20:45             ` David Brownell
2008-01-31  6:35     ` SDIO driver not receiving responses Farbod Nejati
2008-02-07 19:51       ` Pierre Ossman
2008-01-29 20:54 ` [RFC v2 0/5] dmaengine: Slave DMA interface and example users Haavard Skinnemoen
2008-01-30  6:56   ` David Brownell
2008-01-30  8:56     ` Haavard Skinnemoen
2008-01-30 17:39       ` Dan Williams
2008-02-04 15:32         ` Haavard Skinnemoen
2008-02-06 18:46           ` Dan Williams
2008-02-07 17:52             ` Haavard Skinnemoen

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