[PATCH 1/1] ARM: Exynos: Add generic compatible string

Arnd Bergmann arnd at arndb.de
Thu Feb 20 12:00:49 EST 2014

On Thursday 20 February 2014, Tomasz Figa wrote:
> On 20.02.2014 05:14, Sachin Kamat wrote:
> > Hi Tomasz,
> >
> > On 19 February 2014 18:15, Tomasz Figa <t.figa at samsung.com> wrote:
> >> Hi Sachin,
> >>
> >> [adding linux-arm-kernel ML to CC list]
> >>
> >>
> >> On 19.02.2014 12:34, Sachin Kamat wrote:
> >>>
> >>> To avoid modifying the kernel every time a new SoC variant
> >>> comes out.
> > <snip>
> >>
> >> Since all Exynos chips can be easily recognized using dedicated chip ID
> >> register, I wonder whether we really need to maintain two distinct board
> >> files for Exynos 4 and 5 series, especially when both of them are doing
> >> mostly the same set up, which can be simply generalized to cover all the
> >> cases.
> >>
> >> Instead of adding just another level of artificially fine grained compatible
> >> strings, I'd rather suggest merging both board files together and adding a
> >> single compatible string identifying all SoCs that can be further
> >> differentiated by using hardware chip ID register.
> >>
> >> What do you think?
> >
> > I agree with your idea of merging both the files as there is very little that is
> > different for now. However I am not really sure if having a single compatible
> > string for all SoCs would be good. What is achieved through compatible string
> > can very well be done using chip ID too. But wouldn't we need to maintain some
> > unique identity for the SoCs in human readable form at the DT level?
> Well, my understanding of Device Tree is that it should provide the 
> information that can't be automatically retrieved from the hardware, not 
> more.
> If you have a PCI or USB bus with enumerable devices, you don't list 
> them in DT, but instead limit the description to just the host 
> controller, if it can't be enumerated.
> Same goes for compatible string. My interpretation of it is that if you 
> can identify the hardware by some automatic means, e.g. querying some ID 
> register, then the compatible should be specific enough to identify the 
> class of devices with the same method of querying such register, with no 
> need for any additional redundant data in DT.

There are some limitations to that, and you also have to apply common
sense and taste. In theory you could argue that a compatible string can
identify a board uniquely the same way that a board number did, and
everything else is implied by that. Clearly that's not what we want.
On the other end of the scale, you could eliminate a lot of compatible
strings if you describe each register or each bit in some cases in
DT properties, and that would be just as wrong.

> Of course nothing stops you from retaining more specific compatible 
> strings. In fact, this is probably the most appropriate solution, 
> because in future you might find out that certain SoCs need some special 
> differentiation, e.g. same ID value on two SoCs.
> So, to apply this to our case, our Exynos 5250 based Arndale board would 
> be changed from
> compatible = "insignal,arndale", "samsung,exynos5260";
> to
> compatible = "insignal,arndale", "samsung,exynos5260", "samsung,exynos";

Right, this would make sense.

> Now, the board file will be able to match simply by "samsung,exynos" 
> compatible string and SoC-specific code in mach-exynos (hopefully none 
> after it gets cleaned up fully) will use soc_is_exynos*() macros (what 
> AFAIK it is already doing at the moment).

On principle, I would not take things out of the match list, if that
would break booting with old DT file that don't list "samsung,exynos"
as compatible. But for new SoCs that would work.

Using soc_is_exynos*() too much of course also isn't good. A lot of
the things tested for should probably be checked from individual DT
properties, but again we have to find the right balance. I wouldn't
mind getting rid of the soc_is_exynos*() macros completely, because
a) we can't use them in device drivers
b) all platform code is supposed to be in drivers
c) both rules are enforced for arm64

> Another benefit of this would be increased safety, because you are 
> reading SoC type from actual hardware, not from externally supplied 
> data. In conjunction with the more specific compatible string (e.g. 
> "samsung,exynos5260") some validation could be performed at boot-up time 
> to make sure that DT for correct SoC is used.

I don't think that's necessary. If you get that part wrong, normally
all your hopes are lost with the rest of the information in DT. ;-)


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