[PATCH V8 2/6] thermal: bcm2835: add thermal driver for bcm2835 soc

Eduardo Valentin edubezval at gmail.com
Fri Nov 18 20:22:51 PST 2016

Hello Martin,

Thanks for your patience to take the time to explain to me how the
firmware/linux split is done in your platform. Still, one thing is not
clear to me.

On Fri, Nov 18, 2016 at 09:32:47AM +0100, kernel at martin.sperl.org wrote:

> The way that firmware works on the RPI is quite different from most others I guess.
> in principle you got 2 different CPUs on the bcm2835:
> * ARM, which runs the linux instance
> * VideoCore 4, which runs the firmware (loading from SD initially) and
>   then booting the ARM.
> So this Firmware on VC4 is the one that I am talking about.
> Without the working firmware linux can not boot on arm.

Given that "without the working firmware linux can not boot on arm",


> As far as I understand the conversion is continuous (as soon as the HW is
> configured). This case is there primarily to handle the situation where
> we initialize the HW ourselves (see line 226 and below), and we immediately

and around line 226 we have the comment:
+       /*
+        * right now the FW does set up the HW-block, so we are not
+        * touching the configuration registers.
+        * But if the HW is not enabled, then set it up
+        * using "sane" values used by the firmware right now.
+        */

> want to read the ADC value before the first conversion is finished.

then, does the firmware initializes the device or not?

What are the cases you would load this driver but still get an
uninitialized device? That looks like some bug workaround hidden
somewhere. Do system integrators/engineers need to be aware of this w/a?
Would the driver work right aways when the subsystem is loaded during
boot? How about module insertion?

Who has the ownership of this device?

> The above mentioned “configuration if not running” reflect the values that
> the FW is currently setting. We should not change those values as long as the
> Firmware is also reading the temperature on its own.

hmm.. that looks like racy to me. Again, How do you synchronize accesses to
this device? What if you configure the device and right after the
firmware updates the configs? How do you make sure the configs you are
writing here are the same used by the firmware? What if the firmware
version changes? What versions of the firmware does this driver support?

Would it make sense to simply always initialize the device? Do you have
a way to tell the firmware that it should not use the device?

Or, if you want to keep the device driver simply being a dummy reader,
would it make sense to simply avoid writing configurations to the
device, and simply retry to check if the firmware gets the device

> > 
> >> So do you need another version of the patchset that uses that new API?
> > 
> > I think the API usage is change that can be done together with
> > clarification for the above questions too: on hardware state,
> > firmware loading, maybe a master driver dependency, and the ADC
> > conversion sequence, which are not well clear to me on this driver. As long as
> > this is clarified and documented in the code (can be simple comments so
> > it is clear to whoever reads in the future), then I would be OK with
> > this driver. 
> So how do you want this to get “documented” in the driver?
> The setup and Firmware is a generic feature of the SOC, so if we would put
> some clarifications in this driver, then we would need to put it in every
> bcm283X driver (which seems unreasonable).

I think a simple comment explaining the firmware dependency and the
expected pre-conditions to get this driver working in a sane state would
do it.

A better device initialization would also be appreciated. Based on my
limited understanding of this platform, and your explanations, this
device seams to have a serious race condition with firmware while
accessing this device.

> Thanks,
> 	Martin

More information about the linux-rpi-kernel mailing list