DMA using data buffer vmapped in kernel space

From: Thomas Koeller
Date: Thu Mar 04 2010 - 16:18:21 EST


I am writing a driver that loads a firmware blob into its device. The driver
calls request_firmware() and gets a struct firmware * that contains a
data buffer pointer in its 'data' member. The buffer is then passed to a
SPI driver to send it to the device.

The SPI driver uses DMA and, in preparation for that, eventually calls
dma_cache_maint() (contained in arch/arm/mm/dma-mapping.c). At this
point, the whole thing goes bad because there is a check:

BUG_ON(!virt_addr_valid(start) || !virt_addr_valid(start + size - 1));

and the address obtained via request_firmware() fails this check.

The request_firmware() function creates the data buffer by allocating a
number of single pages in a loop, places them in an array, and finally
creates a kernel mapping by calling vmap(). The vmap() result is the
buffer address passed to the DMA.

I do not understand the purpose of the failing check. The virt_addr_valid()
macro checks whether its argument is below high_memory. But why would the
virtual address of a DMA data buffer matter at all? After all, the pages
are resident, so I cannot see any problem here. Can anybody explain?


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