Re: [RFC] Add Input IOCTL for accelerometer devices

From: Kim Kyuwon
Date: Mon May 25 2009 - 04:15:37 EST

Jonathan Cameron wrote:
Hi Kyuwon,
Jonathan Cameron wrote:
No, the conclusion was to wait and see if this is practical. It was
kept in
mind during the several iterations of design of IIO, but the focus of
development was always high performance capture and handling all the
of these highly variable sensors as consistently as possible.

I guess now we are in a position to see if it is indeed practical to
add input
Thank you for your clarification.

I can't understand why you inserted ring buffers related stuffs in iio.
Please let me understand in easy words. And please note that in
Because the hardware I have uses hardware ring buffers e.g. VTI
SCA3000 series,
analog adxl345. More and more sensors are moving this way as without
a true
real time os, it's the only way of ensuring high data rate data is
for sophisticated almost real time processing.
How can you be so sure that more and more sensors use h/w ring buffer?
Is there any data or experts who supports your point?
I'm basing this on observation and believe me I use a lot of different
sensors and work with people who use a lot more. I'm not going to waste
my timing getting them to post a series of 'opinions' on this list when
a bit of Googling and looking at release dates of sensors will give you
the same information.

Until recently the only ones I had encountered were VTI's. Now Analog have
started producing a range of sensors with various forms of triggered buffer.
Take a look at their 'new' page. Admittedly some of the newer ones don't
fall easily into my current model so some rethinking of elements of it will
be needed. The reason none of the below is currently supported is that I
haven't been able to get them as yet. I'm particularly interested in the
16240 for some athlete monitoring applications.

We have:

* ADIS16220 (I hadn't even seen this one before) Digital Vibration sensor.
This has a 1024 sample buffer with various possible triggering modes.

* ADIS16240 Impact sensor and recorder 3x8192 sample buffer using triggered events.

* ADXL346 Accelerometer. 32 levels of output data FIFO minimizes host processor

* ADXL335 Analog sensor so unsurprisingly doesn't feature a digital buffer.

If we hit the more button and select products in the last year we also gain the ADXL345 wich yet again provides a fifo to reduce load on the processor.
Before that one, I don't think any of Analog's products featured such buffering.

So we now have only 2 different manufacturers making sensors with ring buffers
on them. One of which has put them onto 5 out of their last 6 products (though
I'll admit the 345 and 346 are extremely closely related). Looks like
they think there is a market.

And although assuming you are right here, STILL only your SCA3000 series
have h/w ring buffer. Thus, I think there is no reason the framework
should have ring buffer feature

You can't afford to have gaps
in your data.

Also, for my primary application (fast, consistent capture
from a number of different sensors) this is the simplest design that
the performance needed. We spent a lot of time trying to do this in
Your words('simplest' and 'spending a lot of time') are subjective.
Yes, ultimately I wrote a system that fulfilled my requirements, not one
that was designed to meet yours. Let me reemphasize that the framework
is very much designed to be modular. If you don't want ring buffers then
you don't have to use them. Their presence has NO effect whatsoever on
drivers that aren't using them. In fact, even when the driver does support
them, I've mostly made it a Kconfig option on a per driver basis.

For my typical application the more esoteric triggering methods are also
vital. If I want to synchronize a linux based mote's capture of an
accelerometer with a high end motion capture system and not miss a single
sample, within an adaptable framework then I need pretty much every element
currently in the IIO system. Likewise, if I want regular 2Khz sampling of
an ADC connected via 400Khz i2c then I need that to be supported. Yes these
aren't your applications, which I'm assuming from your post are control of
a pretty user interface, but they are an import class of applications for
other users within both the academic world and industry.

644 4) Don't over-design.
646 Don't try to anticipate nebulous future cases which may or may not
647 be useful: "Make it as simple as you can, and no simpler."
The are useful. I'm using them in real applications every day. It
might not
be your use case but it is a number of other peoples (some of whom are
Our objective is merging code upstream. We have lots of kernel drivers
and kernel features which we are using everyday However, I know these
are can't be merged kernel.
This is not the place to get into that sort of argument so I'll keep my
reply to this short.

Why not? If you have something that is useful, then why not submit it?

I didn't say we have something useful.

This is particularly true in cases like this were the useful element
doesn't change anything already in kernel and hence if people don't want
it then it won't effect them.

If we submit ugly and messy drivers and kernel features, none would be happy.

The absolutely crucial thing about the design is that if you don't
want ring
buffers, then don't use them (by which I mean don't compile them in -
it's a
modular design so if you don't want them you don't have to have them.)
I'm just thinking the right functions should be located in the right
position. If only SCA3000 series use ring buffer, it should be in the
SCA3000 series driver.
It's not only the SCA3000 series.
Note whilst they may not matter for your applications the support
for software ring buffering in kernel is still absolutely vital to me. Also
see the devices cited above.
In the first instance I probably wouldn't be pushing that element into
the kernel.
As you are illustrating this is controversial and needs a thorough

At that point the whole system reduces to much simpler core which
the sysfs interface registration and management of chrdevs associated
with events.
At this level it's fairly similar to input, but without the event
aggregation and
with things like event escalation and dynamic chrdev allocation.
We already have a nice 'input subsystem'. why not just using 'input
See the original discussion and remember that we are dealing with application
cases beyond using these devices for human input. To quote Dmitry:

I don't think that input subsystem would be the best choice. While we
do support the event-driven mechanism for delivering information to
userspace input is mostly oriented for human interface devices, not
general data acquisition. If anything input_dev is too fat. Another
thing is that input layer anonymizes input devices, makes them
capability-oriented. I.e. we dont really care what model of joystick
we have, we want something that reports ABS_X, ABS_Y, BTN_FIRE and
userpsace can use it whether it a simple analog joystick or something
fancy and USB connected. For your purposes you probably do want to know
what the device is and what exactly being sampled/measured.

I'd go with a lean and mean new subsytem.

Now, you might argue that the resulting subsystem is not lean and mean,
but to my mind it comes down to a case of what code actually runs on a
given event. Large chunks of the core subsystem are concerned with
simplifying shared functionality between different devices,
but in most use cases the run path from events happening to them hitting
userspace is as lean and mean as possible whilst maintaining flexibility
where needed.

If you don't care about he anonymous nature of devices under input then
fine, submit your drivers to their system. Then if the sensor in question
becomes useful to someone who does need some of the additional functionality
that iio provides we will end up with a second driver. It's exactly this
case that lead to the conclusion in the original discussion that there may
be circumstances where a given device has several separate drivers within
the kernel. Conclusion was that if the requirements were different enough
and they could not be easily merged, this may be the best way to go.
I can't understand. Why we should make accelerometer(or sensor)
framework relate to ADC?
There are a couple of reasons:
1) Accelerometers are effectively analog sensors wired up to an ADC.
As such
they share a lot of common features.
2) Many real accelerometer rigs out there actually use a pair of chips,
so as far as Linux is concerned you are talking to an adc not the
on the other side. Handling this case is still an open issue and it
was to this
that I was referring above.
If there is still an open issue, it is difficult to merge this IIO
subsystem to upstream kernel.
I disagree. It's irrelevant to merging the subsystem. You don't have to have every use case and every possible setup handled by a subsystem from
inception. For now, if you really need your adc connected accelerometer
to export 'accel_x accel_y' etc then you can trivially write a driver
for the whole system. This would obviously lead to a certain amount of
code duplication and hence I'm suggesting that the question of whether
this should be a userspace element (similar to lm-sensors config files)
or the linkages should be specified in kernel (similar to ASoC).
My two accelerometer are not in this cases.
Indeed not. But many others are and here we are talking about a general
If really sensors are related to ADC, it's better make this as
library or
That is an open question. There are cases where it would have to be done
in kernel (where both the accelerometer and the adc have separate control
Then you can make another device driver module or API that can help
intercommunicate between two devices.
Yes. That may be the way to go down the line.
Why don't we to be simple. Please let me understand in easy

Let me ask a few question in conclusion.
Firstly thanks for sending this driver, its always enlightening to see
how people have handled such a device. Out of interest, have you
posted this to the input list? I'd be interested to see what their
comments are.
I can't add this driver to input list, because this kxsd9 driver is for
Why does this prevent you posting it there? It is using the input framework
so if it was going anywhere in the kernel it would require a review and ACK
from the relevant people on that list in much the same way as it should also
be posted to the spi / i2c list as appropriate for review.


To. Dmitry,
Can I merge my kxsd9 *accelerometer* driver to input system?

1) Does your iio subsystem have all functions which attached kxsd9
driver has? i.e.
a. works in polling mode
b. works in interrupt mode
No, but only because I was utilizing it as an example of a minimalist
See the lis3l02dq driver in the git tree for how it would be extended.

Firstly, beware, the interrupt case for this chip is very different to
the more
common cases where the interrupt in question indicates the
availability of a new

As a more general comment, I'd also argue that the reading you
take on interrupt is irrelevant. The event was the threshold pass, not
value of the reading. It should be up to userspace to decide if it
cares what
the reading is and if it does, it has a polling mode with which to
read it.
As I read the data sheet, the device isn't storing the accelerations at
interrupt, so the value you are reading is not relevant to the event
at all, but
typically will be another reading.

I like the code you have for bringing it up from low power mode to
grab a current
value and then go back to sleep. I haven't seen this functionality in
many chips.

There are a couple of ways that it could be handled.
1) Register the MOTLat event to be passed up to userspace and let
userspace take
a reading via the normal poll modes. (pretty much what would happen
in input)

2) Configure this as and IIO trigger which would allow it to be used
to 'trigger'
the reading of a number of other sensors as well as the acceleration.

It should be possible to support both of these but as per your earlier
about not adding features until they are needed, I'd advocate only
supporting the
first option until the someone needs the second.

c. provide an interface to user space in order setting a few parameters
and read x, y, z variances.
Yes, via sysfs.
2) How long will it take to your iio subsystem is merged into mainline?
Not sure - I still don't have enough reviewers. As far as I'm
concerned, bar
changes relating to reviews it's been ready for merging for a couple of
months. Since the last posting that got almost no responses the only
have been minor changes and comment clean ups.
My intention is to shortly seek advice on how to go about doing this, but
my current feeling is that it will have to be done in stages. The idea
is that each stage will involve a relatively small code base and hence
be easier for reviewers to handle. The white paper was written to assist
with this process by providing an overview of how everything links
without reviewers having to read the full code.

1) The core functionality. This gives us something very close to
input with
the principal changes as described above.

2) A set of example drivers

At this point we will have a common framework against which to merge
new drivers.

3) The advanced features (triggering and ring buffering)

4) The drivers for devices requiring 3.
I have quick review of you iio subsytem. Sorry but I think it' somewhat
complicated and have a lot of functions which are still not needed.
By you - I repeat that I have been using this system in anger for about 6
months now. I only know of one bit of functionality in there that I'm
currently using (the first of the trigger lists) and that is simply
I haven't completed the driver that uses it as yet and dropping it
would be
a trivial change.
it seems like your coding style doesn't look like Linux coding style
that I'm familiar with.
As far as I know the code absolutely conforms to every coding style
convention of the kernel. The version in the 'mess' branch has a few
clean ups as a result of checking the kernel doc comments. If you have
specific examples please send them on and I'll be happy to clean them up.
For instance, please
drivers/industrialio/ -exec ./scripts/ --file {} \;
Ok, I'm seeing a couple of minor formatting errors which I typically only
clean up properly when I am posting a set to lkml. Those sets are always
verified with checkpatch. What you are looking at is my development tree
not one that I've carefully checked before posting. Some of the errors
are entirely deliberate. I frequently use c99 comments in order to
indicate that I need to clarify them before formally posting patches for
reviews (precisely because checkpatch ensures I don't forget to do it!)

Your development tree is opened to other developers and other developers would evaluate you though the code in your development tree. You can use enough c99 comments and other checkpatch errors just in your local repo.

If that's what you mean by 'your coding style doesn't look like Linux coding
style' then you are massively exaggerating.

I said "For instance".

If these sort of things really cause you trouble then look at the formal
submissions to lkml. If I hadn't wanted to make the latest and most stable
version of our internal code available as it was relevant to this discussion
then I would have waited until I had time to clean up trivial formating

I just hope we can add some accelerometer feature into mainline kernel
as soon as possible ;)
I agree. The stop gap solution (which a number drivers have taken) is
to put
them in drivers/misc on the basis that when we do have an agreed
system we can
then move them over at a later date. I have already offered to do the
conversions for a number of such drivers when iio gets merged.


Are you OK if someone trys making another framework for input(?)-sensor
or accelerometer.
Of course I have no objections.


If people want a unified framework useful for all the common applications
of these devices then it will need to contain equivalents of what IIO does, if
as previously discussed it makes more sense to have separate drivers then
go ahead. I'd advocate posting your current driver to the input list and
inquiring what their opinions are on the matter.

My personal opinion on this is:

1) The way accelerometers are currently used for input is very simple, much
more complex systems using information derived from multiple sensors will
become common in the future (similar to the new wii remotes) or the stuff
done by companies like Xsens. This sort of stuff will require some elements
similar to IIO (principally synchronized triggered capture from multiple

2) For the level of device support you are talking about, there is no direct
reason it shouldn't go into the main input system. There is no need for a new
subsystem. Over to Dmitry to point out what I'm missing. For example, the lis3lv02
driver (in hwmon) does exactly this. That driver was accepted
by the input guys. Perhaps a drivers/input/accelerometer directory makes sense
to group the drivers.

I really respect your enthusiasm.
Thank you
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