[PATCH 00/10] Enhance /dev/mem to allow read/write of arbitrary physical addresses

Américo Wang xiyou.wangcong at gmail.com
Sun Jun 19 22:42:47 EDT 2011

On Fri, Jun 17, 2011 at 5:55 PM, Petr Tesarik <ptesarik at suse.cz> wrote:
> Dne Pá 17. června 2011 11:30:32 Ingo Molnar napsal(a):
>> * Petr Tesarik <ptesarik at suse.cz> wrote:
>> > This patch series enhances /dev/mem, so that read and write is
>> > possible at any address. The patchset includes actual
>> > implementation for x86.
>> This series lacks a description of why this is desired.
> Hi Ingo,
>> My strong opinion is that it's not desired at all: /dev/mem never
>> worked beyond 4G addresses so by today it has become largely obsolete
>> and is on the way out really.
>> I'm aware of these current /dev/mem uses:
>>  - Xorg maps below 4G non-RAM addresses and the video BIOS
>>  - It used to have some debugging role but these days kexec and kgdb
>>    has largely taken over that role - partly due to the 4G limit.
> It is still used as a "memory source" by Dave Anderson's crash utility for
> live examination of a running system. Redhat has "overcome" the /dev/mem
> deficiencies by writing an out-of-tree re-implementation of /dev/mem, which
> uses /dev/crash instead. As it is an "unnecessary duplication of an existing
> driver", this method was rejected by the project manager here at SUSE.
> The suggested alternative was to enhance (or fix) the existing driver. Without
> this patch series there is no way to access high memory. In conjunction with
> CONFIG_HIGHPTE, it makes the crash utility near to useless on anything with
> high memory, because crash can no longer translate virtual to physical
> addresses.

How about /proc/kcore? AFAIK, it can access highmem, but Dave didn't consider
it for some reason.

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