Re: spi: OF module autoloading is still broken

From: Javier Martinez Canillas
Date: Mon Nov 16 2015 - 12:19:39 EST

Hello Brian and Mark,

Sorry for the delay, I was quite busy at the end of last week and didn't
have time to look at my email closely.

On 11/13/2015 08:48 PM, Brian Norris wrote:
> Hi,
> On Fri, Nov 13, 2015 at 11:14:10PM +0000, Mark Brown wrote:
>> On Fri, Nov 13, 2015 at 02:51:13PM -0800, Brian Norris wrote:
>>> General problem:
>>> ================
>>> The SPI core doesn't use the OF compatible property for generating
>>> uevent/modalias, and therefore can't autoload modules based on the full
>>> compatible property of a device. It *only* can use the 'modalias', which
>>> is a castrated version of the compatible property -- it only includes
>>> part of the 1st entry in 'compatible'.
>>> This forces SPI device drivers to use spi_device_id tables even when
>>> they might be better suited for of_match_tables.

That's correct, the series mentioned by Brian was meant to fix all the
SPI drivers in mainline and the RFC patch changed spi_uevent() to report
an OF modalias if the SPI device was registered through OF. I said that I
would post it once all the fixes for SPI drivers landed. The patches made
it to 4.4-rc1 so I'll repost it (addressing Mark's comments) targeting 4.5.

>> Well, I don't actually see this as that bad a thing - it's good practice
>> to include the Linux ID tables even if you also support DT since not all
>> the world is DT.

Agreed if both DT and board files are supported but if the driver is for an
IP that is only present in DT-only platforms, then there is point for a SPI
ID table IMHO.

> I suppose so, but that's still not the whole story.
> (I believe I avoided this in the first place for mostly-aesthetic
> reasons; technically this allows people to put garbage in their DT, like
> "garbage,spi-nor". It's unclear whether "garbage" becomes part of the
> mythical DT ABI [1].)

I don't believe your examples are part of the mythical DT ABI. What I
understand is that an ABI is whatever is documented in the DT binding
docs but the only document that mentions the m25p80 is:


And doesn't have a list of compatible strings. It points to a file in
the Linux kernel source tree (drivers/mtd/devices/m25p80.c) which IMHO
is wrong since the bindings should be OS agnostic. So instead, a list
of the valid compatible strings (with both manufacturer and model)
should be documented there.

But even that document says:

- compatible : May include a device-specific string consisting of the
manufacturer and name of the chip.

So clearly a DT that is using a compatible string that doesn't have a
valid and documented manufacturer and model, is not following the ABI.

The fact that having compatible = "garbage,valid-model" or "valid-model"
worked was just a fortunate event due how the SPI core currently works.

>>> Specifics for m25p80:
>>> =====================
>>> We support many flash devices and have traditionally been doing so by
>>> simply adding more entries to the spi_device_id table. Recently, we have
>>> tried to get away from adding new entries and aliases for every single
>>> variation by instead supporting a common OF match: "jedec,spi-nor". So
>>> we might expect to see nodes like this:
>>> flash@xxx {
>>> compatible = "vendor,shiny-new-device", "jedec,spi-nor";
>>> ...
>>> };
>>> We may or may not add "shiny-new-device" to the spi_device_id array. But
>>> "jedec,spi-nor" should be sufficient to load the driver and check if the
>>> READ ID string matches any known flash. If "shiny-new-device" isn't in
>>> the spi_device_id array, then we don't get module autoloading.
>> OK, so you're trying to do dynamic enumeration? Then you don't want
>> specific things in any of the ID tables since you'll match it yourself
>> at runtime (which is obviously good).
> Well, we do have to support existing cases (e.g., existing device trees
> without "jedec,spi-nor") so we have to keep some around. But otherwise,
> mostly yes.

Agreed, both "jedec,spi-nor" and the compatible for the devices that don't
support the JEDEC READ ID opcode should be in the OF ID table.

>>> There's also the case of omitting "vendor,shiny-new-device" entirely,
>>> which is probably a little more dangerous, but still legal (and also
>>> won't autoload modules):
>>> flash@xxx {
>>> compatible = "jedec,spi-nor";
>>> ...
>>> };

This case will also be fixed by my patch modifying spi_uevent (more on
that later).

>> My immediate thought is that I'd expect to see spi-nor and (based on a
>> quick scan of the m25p80 driver) nor-jedec to appear in the spi_device_id


>> table since regardless of what happens with Javier's patch we want the
>> autoprobing mechanism to work for board file based platforms too
>> (there's a bunch of architectures that still use them). That'd also
>> have the side effect of solving your immediate problem I think?
> No "nor-jedec" -- that was an intermediate name that got replaced
> mid-release-cycle due to some late DT review comments.

I think the comments in the m25p80 driver should be updated then since I
had the same confusion when reading the spi_device_id table.

> But yes, I suppose adding "spi-nor" back to the spi_device_id table
> fixes *one* of the immediate problems (i.e., 'compatible =
> "jedec,spi-nor"'). That would cover Heiner's report. But it doesn't
> solve:
> compatible = "vendor,shiny-new-device", "jedec,spi-nor"
> I believe that the latter is sometimes the Right Way (TM) to do things
> for device tree, so you have a fallback if auto-probing "jedec,spi-nor"
> ever doesn't suffice.
> (This came up in Heiner's original post: "In case of m25p80 this means
> that "jedec,spi-nor" has to be the first "compatible" value. This
> constraint might be too strict ..")

I don't believe Heiner's statement is correct or maybe I misunderstood how
module alias is reported for OF based platforms. But IIRC what happens is
that the of_device_get_modalias() concatenates all the compatible strings
that are present in the OF node.

So in this particular example the reported modalias would be:


and since the modaliases that will be stored in the module would be:

alias: of:N*T*Cjedec,spi-nor*

the latter will match the former since all compatible strings are in the
reported modalias and the of_device_id .name was not set so is a wilcard.

If there is also a "vendor,shiny-new-device", then the aliases would be:

alias: of:N*T*Cvendor,shiny-new-device*
alias: of:N*T*Cjedec,spi-nor*

so of:N*T*Cvendor,shiny-new-device* will also match

That covers the two use cases for valid compatible strings AFAICT and DT
using invalid compatible strings should not be tried to be supported IMHO.

>> [Snip example with three different prefixes for m25p80 in compatible
>> strings]
>>> All three are supported by SPI's current modalias code, and so are part
>>> of the ABI. Thus, m25p80.c will always contain both a spi_device_id
>>> table and an of_match_table. But I think Javier's patch would break
>>> these three cases.

As I explained above, I don't believe these cases are part of the DT ABI.

>> Right, IIRC I think that sort of thing was what I was looking for in
>> documentation for his patch. Now you mention it I'm not sure we can do

I will of course add a comment to my patch explaining what could break when
the SPI core is modified to report a proper OF modalias but I don't think we
should try to maintain FDTs that were not doing the right thing with regard
to using wrong and undocumented compatible strings.

>> wildcarding with DT which is a bit unfortunate for cases like this.
> Yeah, I expect wildcards are a no-go.
>> Hrm. Not sure and it's getting late on a Friday night...
> :)
> I suspect we'll have to fully support both spi_device_id tables (fully
> supported already; if nothing else, to keep wildcard matching) and
> of_match_tables (not fully supported for module loading), and in some
> cases, the two will have to stay partially in sync.

I remember reading older threads on which the DT maintainers said that
they were against wilcards so I don't think that is an option indeed.

> Brian
> [1] "Device Tree as a stable ABI: a fairy tale?"

Best regards,
Javier Martinez Canillas
Open Source Group
Samsung Research America
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