What to do on cdev_add failure

From: Jean Delvare
Date: Wed Jul 13 2016 - 09:46:58 EST

Hi all,

I am currently working on the i2c-dev driver, which has just been
converted to the non-ancestral cdev API. As I am cleaning up the
driver, I would like to switch from static cdev initialization
(cdev_init) to dynamic allocation (cdev_alloc.)

While I was looking at other drivers to figure out how to deal with
error cases, I found that different drivers do different things if
cdev_add fails after cdev_alloc was called successfully. I guess some
of them are right, others are wrong, and I'd like to know which is
which ;-)

* char/virtio_console.c, s390/char/tape_class.c, s390/char/vmur.c,
infiniband/.../qib_file_ops.c, fuse/cuse.c, scsi/sg.c and scsi/st.g
are calling cdev_del(cdev).
* v4l2-core/v4l2-dev.c is calling kfree(cdev).
* s390/char/vmlogrdr.c, uio/uio.c, tty/ty_io.c and __register_chrdev()
are calling kobject_put(&cdev->kobj). The former explicitly says "no
cdev_del here!" in a comment.

My gut feeling is that kobject_put(&cdev->kobj) is correct, even though
it feels strange to have to use a low-level function to clean-up after
a higher level API call.

If cdev_del(cdev) is also correct (and as I read the code it could be,
iff calling kobj_unmap() is a no-op if kobj_map() failed - is it the
case?), then it should be clearly documented as such, as it is
counter-intuitive (to me, at least.)

Anyone wants to comment on this?

On top of this, another thing looks strange to me. cdev_add() only gets
the parent kobj on success. However the release methods
(cdev_default_release and cdev_dynamic_release) will put the parent
kobj unconditionally. So it looks to me that we are over-putting the
parent whenever cdev_add() fails. OTOH I can't see where the parent is
set. If it is NULL then all these get and put are no-ops to start with
and it no longer matters. But why would we be doing that?

Then again, what do I know about kobj black magic...

Jean Delvare
SUSE L3 Support