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SubjectRe: [RFC 2/5] i3c: Add core I3C infrastructure
On Tue, 1 Aug 2017 14:00:05 +0200
Arnd Bergmann <> wrote:

> On Mon, Jul 31, 2017 at 11:15 PM, Boris Brezillon
> <> wrote:
> > Hi Arnd,
> >
> > Le Mon, 31 Jul 2017 22:16:42 +0200,
> > Arnd Bergmann <> a écrit :
> >
> >> On Mon, Jul 31, 2017 at 6:24 PM, Boris Brezillon
> >> <> wrote:
> >> > Add core infrastructure to support I3C in Linux and document it.
> >>
> >> > - I2C backward compatibility has been designed to be transparent to I2C
> >> > drivers and the I2C subsystem. The I3C master just registers an I2C
> >> > adapter which creates a new I2C bus. I'd say that, from a
> >> > representation PoV it's not ideal because what should appear as a
> >> > single I3C bus exposing I3C and I2C devices here appears as 2
> >> > different busses connected to each other through the parenting (the
> >> > I3C master is the parent of the I2C and I3C busses).
> >> > On the other hand, I don't see a better solution if we want something
> >> > that is not invasive.
> >>
> >> Can you describe the reasons for making i3c a separate subsystem then,
> >> rather than extending the i2c subsystem to handle both i2c devices as
> >> before and also i3c devices and hosts?
> >
> > Actually, that's the first option I considered, but I3C and I2C are
> > really different. I'm not talking about the physical layer here, but
> > the way the bus has to be handled by the software layer. Actually, I
> > thing the I3C bus is philosophically closer to auto-discoverable busses
> > like USB than I2C or SPI.
> >
> > Indeed, all I3C devices can be discovered and do not need to be
> > described at the board level (using DT, board files, ACPI or whatever).
> > Also, some I3C devices are hotpluggable, and most importantly, all I3C
> > devices describe themselves during the discovery procedure (called DAA
> > in the I3C world).
> Side note: please make sure you define a way to describe them
> in DT anyway. We ended up needing additional DT properties
> as well as power sequencing for most discoverable buses (pci,
> usb, mmc, ...), I'm sure this one won't be an exception even though
> the standard says you don't need it and most devices will work
> without it.
> > There is some kind of "device class" concept. In the I3C world it's
> > called DCR (Device Characteristic Register), but it plays the same role:
> > it's a set of generic interfaces devices have to comply with when they
> > declare themselves as being compatible with a DCR ID (like
> > accelerometer, gyroscope, or whatever). See this table of normalized
> > DCR for more information [1].
> >
> > Devices also expose a 48-bit Provisional ID which is made of
> > sub-fields. Two of them are particularly interesting: the manufacturer
> > ID and the part ID, which are comparable to the vendor and product ID in
> > the USB world.
> >
> > These three information (DCR, ManufacturerID and PartID) can be used to
> > match drivers instead of the compatible string or driver-name used for
> > I2C devices
> The matching would be fairly easy to accomodate: the i2c bus already
> handles two distinct ways: of_device_id tables and matching by
> name, so we could easily add another method here.

Should be doable. All we need to do is define device PIDs (Provisional
IDs) in the DT so that they can be attached to the real device when it's
discovered on the bus. Also note that some I3C devices come with a
static/I2C/legacy address which can be used when this device is
connected on an I2C bus. Such devices can be accessed in I2C mode using
this static address before they get assigned a dynamic one by the I3C
master. So, that would be another solution to describe I3C devs in the
DT, but this won't work for all devs.

> > So, as you can imagine, dealing with an I3C bus is really different
> > from dealing with an I2C bus, and I found the "expose an i2c_adapter
> > object for each i3c_master" way simpler (and less invasive) than
> > extending the I2C framework to support I3C devices.
> >
> > Of course, I can move all the code in drivers/i2c/, but that won't
> > change the fact that I3C and I2C busses are completely different
> > with little to share between them.
> >
> > To me, the I2C backward compatibility is just a nice feature that was
> > added to help people smoothly transition from mixed I3C busses with
> > both I2C and I3C devices connected to it (I2C devices being here
> > when no (affordable) equivalent exist in the I3C world) to pure I3C
> > busses with only I3C devices connected to it.
> >
> > This being said, I'd be happy if you prove me wrong and propose a
> > solution that allows us to extend the I2C framework to support I3C
> > without to much pain ;-).
> I think the question is not whether it can be done or not, but whether
> it is a good idea. Obviously we can create some frankenstein bus
> design that combines arbitrary different device types by just containing
> the superset of the required information, and sprinking the code
> with if()/else() to call one or the other function.
> If there is very little shared code between the i2c and i3c
> implementations, then the added complexity of having a combined
> subsystem is clearly a strong argument against it.

AFAICT, there is little to share.

> On the other hand, there is value in representing the physical
> bus hierarchy in the software model, and if i2c and i3c devices can
> be attached to the same host bus, a good abstraction should
> show them under the same parent.

I agree here, hence my comment in the cover letter.

> This is true for both the
> kernel representation (in sysfs and the data structures) as well
> as the device tree binding (assuming we will need to represent
> i3c devices at all).

DT representation is already adopting a single bus representation: I2C
devices are directly described under the I3C master/bus node and so
will I3C devs if we ever need to represent them in the DT.

> The two don't have to use the same model,
> but it's easier if they do.


> Another argument for a combined bus would be devices that
> can be attached to either i2c and i3c, depending on the host
> capabilities.

Hm, that's already the case, isn't it? And you'll anyway need to
develop specific code for both cases in the I2C/I3C device driver
because I2C and I3C transfers are different. So I don't see how it
would help to have a single bus here.

> We have discussed whether i2c and spi should be
> merged into a single bus_type in the past, as a lot of devices
> can be attached to either of them.

Oh, really? What's the rational behind that? I mean, I2C and SPI are
quite different, and even if some devices provide both interfaces, I
don't see why we should merge them. But you probably had good reasons
to do so.

> If it's common enough for i3c
> devices to support an i2c fallback mode,

If the device has a static address, it's likely to be compatible with
I2C. Don't know how usual this is though.

> having a common
> bus_type might noticeably simplify device drivers by only requiring
> a single i2c_driver structure.

Well, it's not only about having 2 different driver objects. As I said,
I3C and I2C frames are different and the driver will have to handle the
device differently depending on whether it's addressed in I2C or I3C

> Simplifying many drivers a little
> bit can in turn offset the added complexity in the subsystem.

Hm, maybe you'll save a few lines (and a few hundred of bytes) by not
having to declare/register 2 different drivers, but IMHO that's not the
part that would be the most difficult when it comes to supporting both
I2C and I3C modes in the same driver.

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