Re: RFC: Platform data for onboard USB assets

From: David Anders
Date: Fri Mar 18 2011 - 14:20:46 EST

On 03/18/2011 12:52 PM, Andy Green wrote:
On 03/18/2011 03:00 PM, Somebody in the thread at some point said:

Hi -

You changed your first opinion about tagging "dynamically probed
devices" with what is effectively platform_data, cool.
I still don't like the idea of attaching platform_data to more
devices, when we try to move people away from that in other
parts of the kernel, because of the known deficiencies.
Whatever way you look at it, data delivered into the driver by Device
Tree is fundamentally the same action as delivering data into the driver
by platform_data. Yes, you query by named element with device context,
but you end up with the same answer as if you dereference a
platform_data member. There are no "known deficiencies" to
platform_data for this action either, at least, not known to me, I don't
think lack of typechecking on the pointer itself is an issue given the
accuracy it can be targeted to a soldered-on-the-board device.

Passing a MAC address in a device tree property is a
well-established method that is used on many drivers, and
is portable across operating systems and architectures.
If you're talking about Device Tree, that itself is not at all "well
established" let alone servicing drivers from it. Like I say I don't
want to seem like I am down on it, but it is very new indeed let's face
it and few drivers are using it for functional configuration information
compared to vast numbers using platform_data.

=====> If Device Tree APIs is mandated to implement functionality fixes
to drivers and platform_data is blocked for this, then we end up with
different, rotting functionality for platform_data basis and drivers
that remain broken on the many, many, platforms that don't have and will
never have Device Tree. That does NOT sound like the right approach.

I guess the grand plan is to eliminate platform_data by overwhelming it
with Device Tree refactoring. But each driver has to be tested and each
board definition file changed... that is a huge, huge undertaking that
will not happen in any kind of medium and perhaps not long term either.

So they will have to coexist for a very long while. A policy of denying
fixes to platform_data users by enforcing introduction of Device Tree
APIs and making platform_data users out as troglodytes does not sound

We don't need to implement the entire binding. My point was that
if we implement a way to attach a device_node to a usb_device, we
should do it in a way that is compatible with that binding, rather
than coming up with a new way.
That document is of no interest outside open firmware / Device Tree
implementation since it is specific to it, and there is no value to
reference it for a platform_data based solution.

My impression so far is that attaching a struct device_node to
static USB devices can be useful in general, but I wouldn't
go so far to suggest using this for dynamically probed devices.
At least we agree there's no point to target pluggable devices with
either solution, in which case platform_data and Device Tree provide the
same end result, plus or minus extra query API.

By the way I intend shortly to extend my patchset to cover Panda WLAN
case via probed MMC / SDIO device in the same way as USB. So there will
then be a second use case for my async platform_data patchset via a
different subsystem. Of course, maybe it just doubles the number of
beatings ^^

To unsubscribe from this list: send the line "unsubscribe linux-kernel" in
the body of a message to majordomo@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
More majordomo info at
Please read the FAQ at

just a note on some of things discussed. the mac address issue applies to many development boards including the BeagleBoard XM which uses the same SMSC LAN9514 with no eeprom.

if you look at the drivers/net/usb/smsc95xx.c you'll find:

static void smsc95xx_init_mac_address(struct usbnet *dev)
/* try reading mac address from EEPROM */
if (smsc95xx_read_eeprom(dev, EEPROM_MAC_OFFSET, ETH_ALEN,
dev->net->dev_addr) == 0) {
if (is_valid_ether_addr(dev->net->dev_addr)) {
/* eeprom values are valid so use them */
netif_dbg(dev, ifup, dev->net, "MAC address read from EEPROM\n");

/* no eeprom, or eeprom values are invalid. generate random MAC */
netif_dbg(dev, ifup, dev->net, "MAC address set to random_ether_addr\n");

this is how the mac address is assigned when no eeprom is present.

if you grep in drivers/net you will find a wide range of network devices that use the random_ether_addr() function:

grep -r -e "random_ether_addr" * | wc -l

Dave Anders

To unsubscribe from this list: send the line "unsubscribe linux-kernel" in
the body of a message to majordomo@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
More majordomo info at
Please read the FAQ at