ACPI vs DT at runtime

Alexander Holler holler at
Mon May 5 08:29:47 PDT 2014

Am 05.05.2014 16:41, schrieb Arnd Bergmann:
> On Monday 05 May 2014 09:06:14 Alexander Holler wrote:
>> A bit late (I don't follow the ML (or what happens in the ARM world)
>> closely, but as I've recently read that ARM64 will go UEFI and ACPI, I
>> wonder what was the reasoning behind that decision.
>> Does anyone really assume we will become high quality UEFI and ACPI
>> blobs from vendors? And such with reasonable support/update periods?
>> For me that sounds like someone asked dreamers and was unable to adjust
>> those answers in regard to reality.
> Where did you read that? It's simply not true and we should make sure
> people stop spreading dangerous misinformation.

I've recently read Grant Likely's blog entry about armv8 servers: (I've read the disclaimer too ;) )

> Regarding UEFI, I don't expect that to change much for Linux, since
> it has very little visibility at runtime. UEFI makes sense for some
> systems, and we can support that easily. The license is a bit problematic,
> since it allows shipping a system without bootloader sources, but other
> boot loaders allow that as well, and a lot of companies ship pirated
> u-boot without sources, too.
> ACPI is a lot harder to support, as it conflicts with the normal DT
> probing method, and will be visible to a lot of drivers. I expect
> that we will see systems shipping with ACPI at some point, but
> so far, nobody has made a serious submission for supporting that,
> so it's likely a few years out, and it will only be a small subset
> of the shipping systems: basically anything that tries to look like
> an x86 PC server rather than an embedded system.
> There is ongoing work from Linaro to provide a base enablement of
> ACPI on ARM64. Those patches are looking harmless enough, but the
> current plan is to not merge them until there is an actual user
> who is submitting their platform specific code based on that, and
> not before we have clear rules about what systems should or should
> not be using ACPI.
> For all embedded systems, DT remains the way to pass data about
> nondiscoverable devices on arm64, and I expect that to include
> "server" machines based on embedded SoCs.

I usually avoid to talk about embedded systems as something different 
(e.g. than servers). I think such differentations don't make much sense 
anymore in times where people are getting in need of an administrator 
for their phones. ;)

The problem I see is that if ARM requires UEFI and ACPI for general 
purpose ARMv8 servers, SOC vendors and the kernel will have to support 
that (I make the maybe silly assumption every ARMv8 SOC vendor wants to 
play in the server market). That means the kernel has to support it too.

And nobody likes to support two types of something. So there is a 
requirement (on paper) for UEFI and ACPI (both likely closed blobs), but 
none for the open stuff. And when I now start to think about paper 
loving vogons, I don't need much imagination which type will be 
streamlined away.


Alexander Holler

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