[PATCH] mtd: nand: add option to erase NAND blocks even if detected as bad.

Boris Brezillon boris.brezillon at free-electrons.com
Fri May 12 01:24:07 PDT 2017

On Fri, 12 May 2017 05:16:08 -0300
Mario Rugiero <mrugiero at gmail.com> wrote:

> 2017-05-12 5:12 GMT-03:00 Richard Weinberger <richard.weinberger at gmail.com>:
> > Mario,
> >
> > On Fri, May 12, 2017 at 7:39 AM, Mario J. Rugiero <mrugiero at gmail.com> wrote:  
> >> Some chips used under a custom vendor driver can get their blocks
> >> incorrectly detected as bad blocks, out of incompatibilities
> >> between such drivers and MTD drivers.
> >> When there are too many misdetected bad blocks, the device becomes
> >> unusable because a bad block table can't be allocated, aside from
> >> all the legitimately good blocks which become unusable under these
> >> conditions.
> >> This adds a build option to workaround the issue by enabling the
> >> user to free up space regardless of what the driver thinks about
> >> the blocks.  
> >
> > Hmm, this sounds like a gross hack.  
> It is, but I see no other solution. The NAND chips were used in an
> incompatible way by a hack-n-slash driver made by allwinner, and
> trying to load them with a proper MTD driver fails miserably if this
> is not done.
> If anyone can propose a better solution I'll more than happily implement it.
> I'm open to suggestions, and of course I'm open to rejection of my
> patches if needed.

u-boot provides the nand.scrub command, which does exactly what you're
looking for. And no, I don't think it's a good idea to allow erasing
bad blocks, at least not by default.

If we really want to support this feature in linux, this should be
explicitly enabled through debugfs.

> >  
> >> Example usage: recovering NAND chips on sunxi devices, as explained
> >> here: http://linux-sunxi.org/Mainline_NAND_Howto#Known_issues  
> >
> > What this wiki suggests is not wise.
> > How can you know which blocks are really bad and which not?  
> You don't, at least not without an even grosser hack implementing read
> support for their incompatible format.
> Would that be better? I might attempt it if desired.

No, please don't do that, at least not in the kernel. If you really
want to parse the old format, you should develop a tool that reads NAND
pages in raw mode, stores the list of bad blocks somewhere and then
re-use this list to select which blocks should be forcibly erased.

Not sure it's worth the pain :-).

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