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SubjectRe: [PATCH v7 01/10] ARM: davinci: move private EDMA API to arm/common
On 02/04/2013 03:29 PM, Linus Walleij wrote:
> On Mon, Feb 4, 2013 at 8:22 PM, Cyril Chemparathy <> wrote:
>> Based on our experience with fitting multiple subsystems on top of this
>> DMA-Engine driver, I must say that the DMA-Engine interface has proven
>> to be a less than ideal fit for the network driver use case.
>> The first problem is that the DMA-Engine interface expects to "push"
>> completed traffic up into the upper layer as a part of its callback.
>> This doesn't fit cleanly with NAPI, which expects to "pull" completed
>> traffic from below in the NAPI poll. We've somehow kludged together a
>> solution around this, but it isn't very elegant.
> I cannot understand the actual technical problem from the above
> paragraphs though. dmaengine doesn't have a concept of pushing
> nor polling, it basically copies streams of words from A to B, where
> A/B can be a device or a buffer, nothing else.

NAPI needs to switch between polled and interrupt driven modes of
operation. Further, in a given poll, it needs to be able to limit the
amount of traffic processed to a specified budget.

> The thing you're looking for sounds more like an adapter on top
> of dmaengine, which can surely be constructed, some
> drivers/dma/dmaengine-napi.c or whatever.

I'm not debating the possibility of duct-taping a network driver on top
of the dma-engine interface. That is very much doable, and we have done
this already.

Starting with a stock dma-engine driver, our first approach was to use
dmaengine_pause() and dmaengine_resume() in the network driver to
throttle completion callbacks per NAPI's needs. This worked, but it was
ugly because the completion callback was now being used in a
multi-purpose fashion - (a) as an interrupt notifier [to do a
napi_schedule()], and (b) as a hand over mechanism for completed packets
[within a napi_poll()]. The network driver needed to maintain a nasty
little state machine for this, and this ended up being quite non-trivial
after we'd fixed up most of the issues.

Having learned our lessons from the first attempt, the second step was
to add a separate notification callback from the dma-engine layer - a
notification independent of any particular descriptor. With this
callback in place, we got rid of some of the state machine crap in the
network driver.

The third step was to add a dmaengine_poll() call instead of constantly
bouncing a channel between paused and running states. This further
cleaned up some of the network driver code, but now the dma-engine
driver looks like crap if it needs to support both the traditional and
new (i.e. notify + poll) modes. This is where we are at today.

Even with the addition of these extensions, the interaction between the
network driver and the dma-engine driver is clumsy and involves multiple
back and forth calls per packet. This is not elegant, and certainly not
efficient. In comparison, the virtqueue interface is a natural fit with
the network driver, and is free of the aforementioned problems.

> Surely the way to look up resources cannot be paramount in this
> discussion, I think the real problem must be your specific networking
> usecase, so we need to drill into that.

Agreed. The dma resource to driver binding is certainly a lesser
problem than the first. There are a variety of schemes that we could
cook up here (filter functions, named lookups, etc.). However, I think
that these schemes offer advantages when the binding between the dma
resource and the dma user is somewhat dynamic.

On the other hand, when the binding between a dma resource and user is
fixed by hardware and/or configuration, the driver model approach works
better, IMHO.

-- Cyril.

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