[PATCH RFC 0/7] Adding core support for wire-MSI bridges

Marc Zyngier marc.zyngier at arm.com
Fri Oct 16 01:03:14 PDT 2015

On 15/10/15 20:16, Arnd Bergmann wrote:
> On Thursday 15 October 2015 17:01:02 Marc Zyngier wrote:
>> "Preconfigured" is the key word. While you can do something like that if
>> your hardware treats MSIs just as if they were wired interrupts
>> (something like GICv2m), it becomes far more hairy if the target of MSIs
>> is something like a GICv3 ITS (which is the case for HiSilicon mbigen).
>> The main reason is that the ITS relies on "translation tables" kept in
>> memory, which the OS has to configure, and handing over pre-configured
>> tables is not something I'm looking forward to doing. From a CPU point
>> of view, this is akin entering the kernel with the MMU already on and no
>> idmap...
>> The approach taken here is to make the MSI-ness explicit at the irqchip
>> level, and keep the interrupting device oblivious of that feature. Also,
>> this relies on the fact that we can have one MSI per wire, meaning that
>> we don't have to multiplex anything (no nested irqchip), and that we can
>> rely on hierarchical domains, which simplifies the code (at least for
>> the irqchip).
> Thanks, that already makes things much clearer. Just one more question:
> why can't those translation tables be configured statically by the
> irqchip driver? Is this all about being able to cut a few cycles
> in case of virtualization? 

Having a static configuration, while doable, complicates things for
everybody else. The LPI number used by the irqchip would need to be put
an some "exclusion list" to make sure it is not reallocated for other
subsystems (e.g PCI). The translation tables also define the target CPU,
which could cause interesting problems once combined with CPU hotplug if
the ITS is not completely in control of it.

I'm not really getting your point about virtualization though.

> I would assume that once you have gone through the overhead of having
> both an MSI and a normal interrupt line (with the need for
> serialization vs DMA), you can just as well trap to user space to
> deliver an IRQ to a guest.

The whole idea behind this bridge is to move wired interrupts to the
periphery of a SoC. I don't think virtualization was part of the
equation, but of course I can't speak for the "geniuses" behind the idea.

Or maybe I'm reading your question the wrong way, which is entirely
possible given the lack of caffeine.


Jazz is not dead. It just smells funny...

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