[RFC] ath10k: silence firmware file probing warnings

Arend van Spriel arend.vanspriel at broadcom.com
Thu Jul 28 12:23:48 PDT 2016

On 23-07-16 00:15, Luis R. Rodriguez wrote:
> On Fri, Jul 22, 2016 at 12:26:00PM +0200, Stanislaw Gruszka wrote:
>> On Fri, Jul 22, 2016 at 10:38:24AM +0200, Arend Van Spriel wrote:
>>> + Luis
>>> On 21-7-2016 13:51, Stanislaw Gruszka wrote:
>>>> (cc: firmware and brcmfmac maintainers)
>>>> On Thu, Jul 21, 2016 at 06:23:11AM -0400, Prarit Bhargava wrote:
>>>>> On 07/21/2016 04:05 AM, Stanislaw Gruszka wrote:
>>>>>> On Thu, Jul 21, 2016 at 10:36:42AM +0300, Emmanuel Grumbach wrote:
>>>>>>> On Thu, Jul 21, 2016 at 10:09 AM, Stanislaw Gruszka <sgruszka at redhat.com> wrote:
>>>>>>>> On Tue, Jul 19, 2016 at 03:00:37PM +0200, Michal Kazior wrote:
>>>>>>>>> Firmware files are versioned to prevent older
>>>>>>>>> driver instances to load unsupported firmware
>>>>>>>>> blobs. This is reflected with a fallback logic
>>>>>>>>> which attempts to load several firmware files.
>>>>>>>>> This however produced a lot of unnecessary
>>>>>>>>> warnings sometimes confusing users and leading
>>>>>>>>> them to rename firmware files making things even
>>>>>>>>> more confusing.
>>>>>>>> This happens on kernels configured with
>>>>>>>> CONFIG_FW_LOADER_USER_HELPER_FALLBACK and cause not only ugly warnings,
>>>>>>>> but also 60 seconds delay before loading next firmware version.
>>>>>>>> For some reason RHEL kernel needs above config option, so this
>>>>>>>> patch is very welcome from my perspective.
>>>>>>> Sorry for my ignorance but how does the firmware loading work if not
>>>>>>> with udev's help?
>>>>>> I'm not sure exactly, but I think kernel VFS layer is capable to copy
>>>>>> file data directly from mounted filesystem without user space helper.
>>>>> Here's the situation: request_firmware() waits 60 seconds for udev to do its
>>>>> loading magic via a "usermode helper".  This delay is there to allow, for
>>>>> example, userspace to unpack or download a new firmware image or verify the
>>>>> firmware image *in userspace* before providing it to the driver to apply to the HW.
>>>>> Why 60 seconds?  It is arbitrary and there is no way for udev & the kernel to
>>>>> handshake on completion.
>>>>>>> As you can imagine, iwlwifi is suffering from the
>>>>>>> same problem and I would be interested in applying the same change,
>>>>>>> but I'd love to understand a bit more :)
>>>>>> Yes, iwlwifi (and some other drivers) suffer from this. However this
>>>>>> happen when the newest firmware version is not installed on the system
>>>>>> and CONFIG_FW_LOADER_USER_HELPER_FALLBACK is enabled. What I suppose
>>>>>> it's not common.
>>>>> request_firmware_direct() was introduced at my request because (as you've
>>>>> noticed) when CONFIG_FW_LOADER_USER_HELPER_FALLBACK=y drivers may stall for long
>>>>> periods of time when starting.  The bug that this introduced was a 60 second
>>>>> delay per logical cpu when starting a system.  On a 64 cpu system that meant the
>>>>> boot would complete in a little over one hour.
>>>>>> I started to see this currently, because that option was enabled on 
>>>>>> RHEL kernel. BTW: I think Prarit iwlwifi thermal_zone problem was
>>>>>> happened because of that, i.e. thermal device was not functional
>>>>>> because f/w wasn't loaded due to big delay.
>>>>>> I'm not sure if replacing to request_firmware_direct() is a good
>>>>>> fix though. For example I can see this problem also on brcmfmac, which
>>>>>> use request_firmware_nowait(). I think I would rather prefer special
>>>>>> helper for firmware drivers that needs user helper and have
>>>>>> request_firmware() be direct as default.
>>>>> The difference between request_firmware_direct() and request_firmware() is that
>>>>> the _direct() version does not wait the 60 seconds for udev interaction.  The
>>>>> only userspace check performed is to see if the file is there, and if the file
>>>>> does exist it is provided to the driver to be applied to the hardware.
>>>>> So the real question to ask here is whether or not the ath10k, brcmfmac, and
>>>>> iwlwifi require udev to do anything beyond checking for the existence and
>>>>> loading the firmware image.  If they don't, then it is better to use
>>>>> request_firmware_direct().
>>>> They don't need that, like 99% of the drivers I think, hence changing the
>>>> default seems to be more reasonable. However changing 3 drivers would work
>>>> for me as well, and that change do not introduce risk of broking drivers
>>>> that require udev fw download.
>>>> iwlwifi and ath10k are trivial, bcrmfmac is a bit more complex as it
>>>> use request_firmware_nowait(), so it first need to be converted to
>>>> ordinary request_firmware(), but this should be doable and I can do
>>>> that.
>>> I am going bonkers here. This is the Nth time a discussion pops up on
>>> firmware API usage. I stopped counting N :-( So the first issue was that
>>> the INIT was taking to long as we were requesting firmware during probe
>>> which was executed in the INIT context. So we added a worker and
>>> register the driver from there. There was probably a reason for
>>> switching to _no_wait() as well, but I do not recall the details. The
>>> things is I don't know if I need user-space or not. I just need firmware
>>> to get the device up and running. We have changed our driver a couple of
>>> times now to accommodate something that in my opinion should have been
>>> abstracted behind the firmware API in the first place and now here is
>>> another proposal to change the drivers. Come on!
>> I understand you dislike that :-) Just to clarify the issue here:
>> Some drivers (including brcmfmac) request new firmware images, which are
>> not yet available (i.e. development F/W versions) and then fall-back
>> to older firmware version and works perfectly fine.
> The right way to address this of course is to extend the FW API
> so that a batch of firmware files can be hunted for and one can
> easily annotate as a driver developer which are optional and which are
> not. The API then will do everything for you.

That is more or less how I abstracted it in brcmfmac. Our batch only
consists of max two files with binary executable image and rf
calibration data, which may or may not be optional. So we do not have
firmware fallback sequence.

For iwlwifi and ath10k I guess the use-case is that the batch is an
ordered list from newest supported firmware to oldest supported firmware.

> I was considering this as a future extension to the firmware API
> through the new extensible firmware API, the sysdata API. I'd prefer
> to add that as a secondary step, but if someone wants to add support
> for it now feel free to send me some patches against my tree.
>> However with CONFIG_FW_LOADER_USER_HELPER_FALLBACK=y configured, in case
>> of missing F/W image, request firmware involve user space helper and
>> waits 60s (loading_timeout value from drivers/base/firmware_class.c),
>> what delays creating network interface and confuse users.
> Correct, this has been a holy mess. One way to fix this on userspace
> is to upgrade systemd with an exception to the udev kmod helper,
> and avoid the timeout completely for kmod helper which loads drivers.
>> For brcmfmac this looks like this:
>> [   15.160923] brcmfmac 0000:03:00.0: Direct firmware load for brcm/brcmfmac4356-pcie.txt failed with error -2
>> [   15.170759] brcmfmac 0000:03:00.0: Falling back to user helper
>> <snip>
>> [   75.709397] brcmfmac: brcmf_c_preinit_dcmds: Firmware version = wl0: Oct 22 2015 06:16:41 version (r594535) FWID 01-1a5c4016
>> [   75.736941] brcmfmac: brcmf_cfg80211_reg_notifier: not a ISO3166 code (0x30 0x30)
>> Without CONFIG_FW_LOADER_USER_HELPER_FALLBACK first firmware request
>> silently fail and then instantly next F/W image is loaded.
> Yup.
>> Another option to solve to problem would be stop requesting not
>> available publicly firmware. However, I assume some drivers would
>> like to preserve that option.
> No, this seems counter productive given that the firmware is expected
> to land eventually.
>>>> However I wonder if changing that will not broke the case when
>>>> driver is build-in in the kernel and f/w is not yet available when
>>>> driver start to initialize. Or maybe nowadays this is not the case
>>>> any longer, i.e. the MODULE_FIRMWARE macros assure proper f/w 
>>>> images are build-in in the kernel or copied to initramfs?
>>> That is a nice idea, but I have not seen any change in that area. Could
>>> have missed it.
>> I believe this is how the things are already done, IOW switching to
>> request_firmware_direct() in the driver should be no harm.
> We don't stuff firmware as built-in if the driver used MODULE_FIRMWARE()
> and the driver is built-in. What commit did that?
> The right thing to do is distros should avoid
> CONFIG_FW_LOADER_USER_HELPER_FALLBACK and if they are stuck with it, a
> systemd work around is possible. Upstream systemd already increased
> the timeout to 180 seconds. Upstream also added a udevd --event-timeout
> command line option, look into that. Other distros (OpenSUSE) avoids
> the kmod timeout ;)
> The timeout thing was simply a mistake, specially for kmod and it wasn't
> well thought out. I've listed more serious implications for it here:
> http://www.do-not-panic.com/2015/12/linux-asynchronous-probe.html

Thanks. Will read that.


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