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SubjectRe: [linux-pm] [PATCH 0/8] Suspend block api (version 8)
On Wed, 26 May 2010 15:30:58 -0700
Arve Hjønnevåg <> wrote:

> On Wed, May 26, 2010 at 6:16 AM, Alan Cox <> wrote:
> >> Really, what are you getting at? Do you deny that there are programs,
> >> that prevent a device from sleeping? (Just think of the bouncing
> >> cows app)
> >>
> >> And if you have two kernels, one with which your device is dead after 1
> >> hour and one with which your device is dead after 10 hours. Which would
> >> you prefer? I mean really... this is ridiculous.
> >
> > The problem you have is that this is policy. If I have the device wired
> > to a big screen and I want cows bouncing on it I'll be most upset if
> > instead it suspends.
> We never suspend when the screen is on. If the screen is off, I would
> not be upset if it suspends.

This is policy and platform specific. The OLPC can suspend with the
screen on. Should I write my app to know about this once for Android and
once for OLPC (and no doubt once for Apple). In the OLPC case cows could
indeed suspend to RAM between frames if the wakeup time was suitable.

My app simply should not have to know this sort of crap, that's the whole
point of an OS.

> > What you are essentially arguing for is for the
> > kernel to disobey the userspace.
> No I'm not. User-space asked the kernel to suspend when possible.
> Suspend is an existing kernel feature. All opportunistic suspend adds
> is the ability to use it safely when there are wakeup event you cannot
> afford to ignore.

Don't get me wrong - opportunistic suspend isn't the problem. Suspend
blockers are - or more precisely - the manner in which they express
intent from userspace. Opportunistic suspend is wonderful stuff for all
sorts of things and if it persuades people like netbook manufacturers to
think harder, and Linux driver authors to optimise their suspend/resume
paths we all win.

> Our actual stating point is this: Some systems can only enter their
> lowest power state from suspend. So we added an api that allowed us to
> use suspend without loosing wakeup events. Since suspending also
> improves our battery life on platforms that enter the same power state
> from idle and suspend and we already have a way to safely use suspend,
> we would be crazy not to use it.

Opportunistic suspend isn't special. Suspend is just a very deep idle. In
fact some of the low power states on processors look little different to
suspend - the OS executes a whole pile of CPU state saving and cache
flushing. It might be a hardware state machine, it might be buried in
firmware or it might be quite explicit (eg mrst). So we already have
differing degrees of doing additional work in different states.

User triggered suspend is a bit special in that the user is usually right
in that case to override the power management policy.

Note I'm not suggesting we run off and restructure all our power
management code to take this view right now. I'm suggesting we need a
clean 'opportunistic suspend is not special' view by user space. How the
kernel handles this is addressible later without app breakage, but only
if we get the interface wrong to begin with.

> > Sandboxing/Resource Limits: handling apps that can't be trusted. So the
> > phone runs the appstore code via something like
> Sandboxing is problematic on Android since there are a lot of cross
> process dependencies. When a call comes in I don't know where the name
> and picture to display comes from. With suspend blockers we block
> suspend when we get notified that we have an incoming call and we can
> call into any process and get a response.

But you can express user suspend blocking in this manner. Your call
incoming code would say 'I want good latency'. As someone needs good
latency the box won't suspend. If your approach is to start with an
initial 'anyone can set a low latency we don't care' then anyone can
block suspends.

Equally your call handling example is about latency not about suspend.
You want the phone to stay on, to fetch a picture and display it promptly.

So what are expressing

'I am using device 'screen' please keep it live' (which may or may not
block suspend - see OLPC). I guess your display server and kernel support
manage this bit.

'I want the photo to appear in a resonable timescale' (latency). It's
not a suspend question - an imaginary non suspend idle mode with a 20
second latency would be just as annoying yes ?

At the moment we have a very real bigger problem that your problem is
part of.

- Hard real time people want to be able to limit the CPU sleeping
behaviour based upon what tasks are running

- Certain gaming types want their boxes to be good power citizens except
when committing digital mass murder. Right now that involves wrapping
the game in a script with bits occurring as root and that generally
breaks if the game crashes so the script doesn't run nicely on exit

- Virtual machine people desperately want to see latency data to help
schedule stuff in a power efficient manner. In a virtual machine
environment its vital information about how you schedule a virtual
machine, whether now is a good time to live migrate it and how best to
optimise power/performance on the server end.

- Some drivers want to constrain idling because they know
platform/hardware stuff the core power management code doesn't (eg
serial ports at high speed). We want that expressed in a way that keeps
the power management code clean of such device knowledge

Now I don't care if we have an elegant kernel interface and Android uses
it as a big hammer - if that makes Android work well everyone can be
happy. What I don't want is to have a big hammer when it doesn't solve the
underlying big picture problem for everyone.

So my working position is summarised thusly

- Supporting Android needs well good
- Opportunistic suspend good
- Manner in which interface is expressed to userspace bad
- Latency constraint interface would be better
- Your existing behaviour can be implemented by a simplistic use of a
latency constraint interface
- We can fix a pile of other directly connected things at the same time
- Implementation internals I care far less about because we can fix those
- Suspend is just a power state

How does that fit your model and vision ?

> What about platforms that currently cannot enter low power states from
> idle? Do you remove suspend support from the kernel?

I would actually expect a system that can't do any low power states to
support the user API and blissfully ignore it. Applications will ask for
various latency guarantees and of course always get them. The apps will be
portable, the device will be offering it's best behaviour and everyone
will be happy.

If your device only supports full on and suspend I don't see why
opportunistic suspend couldn't be provided assuming sufficient wakeup
support was present. It won't be the most exciting power management
policy to write but it's perfectly doable and the apps again will not need
recoding to handle it.

The latency goal data is also priceless for another consumer - in a
virtual machine environment its vital information about how you schedule
a virtual machine, whether now is a good time to live migrate it and how
best to optimise power/performance on the server end.

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