[PATCH V2] video: implement a simple framebuffer driver

Laurent Pinchart laurent.pinchart at ideasonboard.com
Thu Apr 11 16:06:47 EDT 2013

Hi Stephen,

On Thursday 11 April 2013 10:06:49 Stephen Warren wrote:
> On 04/11/2013 03:56 AM, Laurent Pinchart wrote:
> > On Monday 08 April 2013 17:16:37 Andrew Morton wrote:
> >> On Wed,  3 Apr 2013 20:39:43 -0600 Stephen Warren wrote:
> >>> A simple frame-buffer describes a raw memory region that may be rendered
> >>> to, with the assumption that the display hardware has already been set
> >>> up to scan out from that buffer.
> >>> 
> >>> This is useful in cases where a bootloader exists and has set up the
> >>> display hardware, but a Linux driver doesn't yet exist for the display
> >>> hardware.
> >>> 
> >>> ...
> >>> 
> >>> +config FB_SIMPLE
> >>> +	bool "Simple framebuffer support"
> >>> +	depends on (FB = y) && OF
> >> 
> >> It's sad that this simple little thing requires Open Firmware.  Could
> >> it be generalised in some way so that the small amount of setup info
> >> could be provided by other means (eg, module_param) or does the
> >> dependency go deeper than that?
> > 
> > I second that request. I like the idea of a simple framebuffer driver if
> > it helps deprecating fbdev in the long term, but I don't want it to offer
> > an excuse not to implement a DRM/KMS driver. In particular adding DT
> > bindings would force us to keep supporting the ABI for a (too) long time.
> The platforms I intend to use this with only support device tree. Adding
> support for platform data right now would just be dead code. If somebody
> wants to use this driver with a board file based system rather than a DT
> based system, it would be trivial do modify the driver to add a platform
> data structure at that time.

What about using module parameters instead of DT bindings and platform data ? 
As this is a hack designed to work around the lack of a proper display driver 
the frame buffer address and size could just be passed by the boot loader 
through the kernel command line, and the device would then be instantiated by 
the driver.

> Adding support for a platform data structure won't remove the need for
> DT support in the driver; any platform that uses DT will always
> configure this driver through the DT binding irrespective of whether
> some other platform could configure it using platform_data.
> I don't believe the DT bindings imply that they must be implemented by
> an FB driver rather than a KMS driver. It's just that it's much simpler
> to do so at present. If the whole FB subsystem goes away at some time,
> it should be possible to implement a simplest-possible KMS driver that
> supports the same DT binding. I didn't do it this way because supporting
> a pre-allocated FB in DRM/KMS apparently means implementing a custom
> memory allocator for this in the driver, which would be a lot of code
> overhead when right now the driver can just use the FB subsystem and
> simply return the address directly. The simplest possible FB driver
> appears much simpler (less code size, less maintenance) than the
> simplest possible KMS driver.
> My inclination is that for many platforms, the bootloader support for
> graphics output will appear first (before the kernel's), and this driver
> will allow for the kernel to have a graphical console, allowing a more
> complete/useful system to be available earlier. In many cases, that
> window may be small; a DRM/KMS driver may appear soon after the basic
> CPU/board/... support, and then people can switch to using it if they want.
> That said, I also don't really see a problem not implementing a DRM/KMS
> driver for a platform; a dumb frame-buffer works perfectly well for my
> needs. Nobody would be forced to continue using it once a better
> alternative existed.


Laurent Pinchart

More information about the linux-rpi-kernel mailing list