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SubjectRe: USBIP protocol documentation?
Németh Márton wrote:
> matt mooney wrote:
>> On 22:25 Tue 24 May , Németh Márton wrote:
>>> Greg KH wrote:
>>>> I think the code is the "real" documentation.
>> I concur!
>>> If it is, then I need to read it in the right way, through it is not an easy task.
>>> I tried to find the points in the USBIP kernel code where opening, sending,
>>> receiving and closing of the TCP connection takes place. I took all function names
>>> from linux/net.h and I found the following places so far:
>>> $ grep -n -E
> 'sock_wake_async|sock_register|sock_unregister|sock_create|sock_create_kern|sock_create_lite|sock_release|sock_sendmsg|sock_recvmsg|sock_map_fd|sockfd_lookup|sockfd_put|net_ratelimit|kernel_sendmsg|kernel_recvmsg|kernel_bind|kernel_listen|kernel_accept|kernel_connect|kernel_getsockname|kernel_getpeername|kernel_getsockopt|kernel_setsockopt|kernel_sendpage|kernel_sock_ioctl|kernel_sock_shutdown|SHUT_'
>>> linux-2.6/drivers/staging/usbip/*
>>> linux-2.6/drivers/staging/usbip/stub_dev.c:201: kernel_sock_shutdown(ud->tcp_socket, SHUT_RDWR);
>>> linux-2.6/drivers/staging/usbip/stub_dev.c:216: sock_release(ud->tcp_socket);
>>> linux-2.6/drivers/staging/usbip/stub_tx.c:263: ret = kernel_sendmsg(sdev->ud.tcp_socket, &msg,
>>> linux-2.6/drivers/staging/usbip/stub_tx.c:338: ret = kernel_sendmsg(sdev->ud.tcp_socket, &msg, iov,
>>> linux-2.6/drivers/staging/usbip/usbip_common.c:382: result = kernel_sendmsg(sock, &msg, &iov, 1, size);
>>> linux-2.6/drivers/staging/usbip/usbip_common.c:384: result = kernel_recvmsg(sock, &msg, &iov, 1, size,
>>> linux-2.6/drivers/staging/usbip/vhci_hcd.c:845: kernel_sock_shutdown(ud->tcp_socket, SHUT_RDWR);
>>> linux-2.6/drivers/staging/usbip/vhci_hcd.c:858: sock_release(vdev->ud.tcp_socket);
>>> linux-2.6/drivers/staging/usbip/vhci_tx.c:119: ret = kernel_sendmsg(vdev->ud.tcp_socket, &msg, iov, 3, txsize);
>>> linux-2.6/drivers/staging/usbip/vhci_tx.c:189: ret = kernel_sendmsg(vdev->ud.tcp_socket, &msg, iov, 1, txsize);
>>> I guess this is not all, there is also a protocol defined to the user-space world.
>> Very true, and part of what is taking place is a unification of the userspace
>> and kernel protocols. Then there will be some degree of documentation. Mainly in
>> the form of packet diagrams to show on-wire communication.
> Could you please give some hints witch function names to look for and
> where to start "reading" the source code to see how the userspace protocol
> looks like?

I think I found a good way to "read out" from the source code where the userspace
communication takes palce:

$ grep -n DEVICE_ATTR linux-2.6/drivers/staging/usbip/*
linux-2.6/drivers/staging/usbip/stub_dev.c:85:static DEVICE_ATTR(usbip_status, S_IRUGO, show_status, NULL);
linux-2.6/drivers/staging/usbip/stub_dev.c:153:static DEVICE_ATTR(usbip_sockfd, S_IWUSR, NULL, store_sockfd);
linux-2.6/drivers/staging/usbip/usbip_common.c:55:DEVICE_ATTR(usbip_debug, (S_IRUGO | S_IWUSR), show_flag, store_flag);
linux-2.6/drivers/staging/usbip/vhci_sysfs.c:76:static DEVICE_ATTR(status, S_IRUGO, show_status, NULL);
linux-2.6/drivers/staging/usbip/vhci_sysfs.c:132:static DEVICE_ATTR(detach, S_IWUSR, NULL, store_detach);
linux-2.6/drivers/staging/usbip/vhci_sysfs.c:232:static DEVICE_ATTR(attach, S_IWUSR, NULL, store_attach);

The DEVICE_ATTR macro is defined in linux/device.h . Its first parameter is used as
a postfix and this postfix will be added to the dev_attr_ to create variable names.
In this case the variable names will be dev_attr_usbip_status, dev_attr_usbip_sockfd,
dev_attr_usbip_debug, dev_attr_status, dev_attr_detach and dev_attr_attach.
The type of the variables will be struct device_attribute. The struct device_attribute
is also defined in linux/device.h . It contains a struct attribute, and two fuction
pointers: one for show and one for store. The struct attribute is defined in
linux/sysfs.h . Here we see that we have a name and a mode parameter.

The fist parameter of DEVICE_ATTR macro is also used for the second time. The
parameter is first stringified (i.e. usbip_status -> "usbip_status") and used to
initialize the name in the struct attribute.

The second parameter of DEVICE_ATTR will be used to initialize the mode attrubute.
The third and fourth parameter is used to initialize the show and store function
pointers, respectively.

What is not clear for me is the return value of the store functions. Usually
the sscanf() function is used to parse the buffer from the userspace. The sscanf()
function is declared in linux/kernel.h and has int return value. In USBIP code
the return value is ignored and the count value is used instead. I don't think
it is a good idea, but I might overseen something (for example trailing whitespaces?).

I hope writing down of how I understand reading the code will help others
also so they can understand USBIP easier than me.

>> On Tue, May 24, 2011 at 10:25:18PM +0200, Németh Márton wrote:
>>> The current protocol implementation is based on top of TCP. In the message
>>> at the SCTP is mentioned.
>>> Have anybody worked on finding out what benefits the SCTP could give to USBIP
>>> and what would be the drawbacks?
> Greg KH wrote:
>> It might not work well on Windows, which the current code does today.
>> I think that the TCP vs. SCTP is the least of the protocol issues at the
>> moment, there are lots of other things to work on :)
> matt mooney wrote:
>> I think sctp would be interesting, but as greg said, and I tend to agree, this
>> is the least of usbip's problems.
>> (Maybe eliminating the need to interact w/ windows would be a good project ;)
>> jk!
> OK, I see your point. I tried to check the "source code" for a TODO list,
> but I think I failed at that point because I just found:
> | $ cat linux-2.6/drivers/staging/usbip/README
> | TODO:
> | - more discussion about the protocol
> | - testing
> | - review of the userspace interface
> |
> | Please send patches for this code to Greg Kroah-Hartman <>
> These are quite hard tasks to solve. More discussion about the protocol? I
> think the first problem is that it is difficult (at least for me) to see clearly
> the protocol because of lack of documentation.
> Testing: when you test something you compare the running code against something.
> If you compare the running code against the source code then you will not test
> the USBIP implementation/protocol, but the compiler itself, whether the compiler
> generated the same code which is available in source format.
> Review of the userspace interface: first I will need to understand how it looks
> like befor I can do anything on this point.
> Do you have a bit detailed TODO list somewhere written down or in your heads
> so beginners can also help? E.g. running "scripts/ -f" and
> solving the errors/warnings helps at this point? Or compiling with "make W=1 C=1 ..."
> and solving those warnings helps?
> Regards,
> Márton Németh

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