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Subject[RFC PATCH] i2c: remove use of in_atomic()
Commit cea443a81c9c ("i2c: Support i2c_transfer in atomic contexts")
added in_atomic() to the I2C core. However, the use of in_atomic()
outside of core kernel code is discouraged and was already[1] when this
code was added in early 2008. The above commit was a preparation for
b7a3670131c7 ("i2c-pxa: Add polling transfer"). Its commit message says
explicitly it was added "for cases where I2C transactions have to occur
at times interrups are disabled". So, the intention was 'disabled
interrupts'. This matches the use cases for atomic I2C transfers I have
seen so far: very late communication (mostly to a PMIC) to powerdown or
reboot the system. For those cases, interrupts are disabled then. It
doesn't seem that in_atomic() adds value.

Note that only ~10 out of ~120 bus master drivers support atomic
transfers, mostly by polling always when no irq is supplied. A generic
I2C client driver cannot assume support for atomic transfers. This is
currently a platform-dependent corner case.

The I2C core will soon gain an extra callback into bus drivers
especially for atomic transfers to make them more generic. The code
deciding which transfer to use (atomic/non-atomic) should mimic the
behaviour which locking to use (trylock/lock). Because I don't want to
add more in_atomic() to the I2C core, this patch simply removes it.


Signed-off-by: Wolfram Sang <>

So, I had to dive into this in_atomic() topic and this is what I
concluded. I don't see any reasonable constellation where this could
cause a regression, but I am all open for missing something and being
pointed to it. This is why the patch is RFC. I'd really welcome
comments. Thanks!

drivers/i2c/i2c-core-base.c | 2 +-
1 file changed, 1 insertion(+), 1 deletion(-)

diff --git a/drivers/i2c/i2c-core-base.c b/drivers/i2c/i2c-core-base.c
index 38af18645133..943bebeec3ed 100644
--- a/drivers/i2c/i2c-core-base.c
+++ b/drivers/i2c/i2c-core-base.c
@@ -1946,7 +1946,7 @@ int i2c_transfer(struct i2c_adapter *adap, struct i2c_msg *msgs, int num)
* one (discarding status on the second message) or errno
* (discarding status on the first one).
- if (in_atomic() || irqs_disabled()) {
+ if (irqs_disabled()) {
ret = i2c_trylock_bus(adap, I2C_LOCK_SEGMENT);
if (!ret)
/* I2C activity is ongoing. */
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