[PATCH V2] video: implement a simple framebuffer driver

Stephen Warren swarren at wwwdotorg.org
Thu Apr 11 16:38:21 EDT 2013

On 04/11/2013 02:06 PM, Laurent Pinchart wrote:
> 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.

I'm afraid I strongly dislike the idea of using module parameters. One
of the things that I dislike the most about NVIDIA's downstream Android
kernels is the huge number of random parameters that are required on the
kernel command-line just to get it to boot.

I'd specifically prefer the configuration for this driver to be a device
tree binding so that it /is/ an ABI. That way, arbitrary software that
boots the Linux kernel will be able to target a common standard for how
to pass this information to the kernel. If we move to module parameters
instead, especially with the specific intent that the format of those
parameters is no longer an ABI, we run in to issues where a new kernel
requires a bootloader update in order to generate the new set of module
parameters that are required by the driver. If we say the module
parameters will never change except in a backwards-compatible fashion,
and hence that issue won't arise, then why not just make it a DT binding?

Do module parameters handle the case of multiple device instances?

Also, I really don't see this driver as a hack. It's a perfectly
reasonable situation to have some other SW set up the frame-buffer, and
Linux simply continue to use it. Perhaps that other SW even ran on a
difference CPU, or the parameters are hard-coded in HW design, and so
there's no HW that Linux ever could drive, so it just isn't possible to
create any more advanced driver.

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