|File: [cvs.NetBSD.org] / src / doc / TODO.modules (download)
Revision 1.11, Thu Jan 26 04:24:20 2017 UTC (4 years ago) by pgoyette
CVS Tags: prg-localcount2-base3, prg-localcount2-base2, prg-localcount2-base1, prg-localcount2-base, prg-localcount2, pgoyette-localcount-20170426, pgoyette-localcount-20170320, netbsd-8-base, netbsd-8-2-RELEASE, netbsd-8-1-RELEASE, netbsd-8-1-RC1, netbsd-8-0-RELEASE, netbsd-8-0-RC2, netbsd-8-0-RC1, netbsd-8, matt-nb8-mediatek-base, matt-nb8-mediatek, bouyer-socketcan-base1
Changes since 1.10: +6 -1
Add comment about possibly prompting for "release" portion of module
path at boot-loader time.
/* $NetBSD: TODO.modules,v 1.11 2017/01/26 04:24:20 pgoyette Exp $ */
Some notes on the limitations of our current (as of 7.99.35) module
subsystem. This list was triggered by an Email exchange between
christos and pgoyette.
1. Builtin drivers can't depend on modularized drivers (the modularized
drivers are attempted to load as builtins).
The assumption is that dependencies are loaded before those
modules which depend on them. At load time, a module's
undefined global symbols are resolved; if any symbols can't
be resolved, the load fails. Similarly, if a module is
included in (built-into) the kernel, all of its symbols must
be resolvable by the linker, otherwise the link fails.
There are ways around this (such as, having the parent
module's initialization command recursively call the module
load code), but they're often gross hacks.
Another alternative (which is used by ppp) is to provide a
"registration" mechanism for the "child" modules, and then when
the need for a specific child module is encountered, use
module_autoload() to load the child module. Of course, this
requires that the parent module know about all potentially
2. Currently, config(1) has no way to "no define" drivers
XXX: I don't think this is true anymore. I think we can
undefine drivers now, see MODULAR in amd64, which does
no ath* and no select sppp*
3. It is not always obvious by their names which drivers/options
correspond to which modules.
4. Right now critical drivers that would need to be pre-loaded (ffs,
exec_elf64) are still built-in so that we don't need to alter the boot
blocks to boot.
This was a conscious decision by core@ some years ago. It is
not a requirement that ffs or exec_* be built-in. The only
requirement is that the root file-system's module must be
available when the module subsystem is initialized, in order
to load other modules. This can be accomplished by having the
boot loader "push" the module at boot time. (It used to do
this in all cases; currently the "push" only occurs if the
booted filesystem is not ffs.)
5. Not all parent bus drivers are capable of rescan, so some drivers
just have to be built-in.
6. Many (most?) drivers are not yet modularized
7. There's currently no provisions for autoconfig to figure out which
modules are needed, and thus to load the required modules.
In the "normal" built-in world, autoconfigure can only ask
existing drivers if they're willing to manage (ie, attach) a
device. Removing the built-in drivers tends to limit the
availability of possible managers. There's currently no
mechanism for identifying and loading drivers based on what
devices might be found.
8. Even for existing modules, there are "surprise" dependencies with
code that has not yet been modularized.
For example, even though the bpf code has been modularized,
there is some shared code in bpf_filter.c which is needed by
both ipfilter and ppp. ipf is already modularized, but ppp
is not. Thus, even though bpf_filter is modular, it MUST be
included as a built-in module if you also have ppp in your
Another example is sysmon_taskq module. It is required by
other parts of the sysmon subsystem, including the
"sysmon_power" module. Unfortunately, even though the
sysmon_power code is modularized, it is referenced by the
acpi code which has not been modularized. Therefore, if your
configuration has acpi, then you must include the "sysmon_power"
module built-in the kernel. And therefore your also need to
have "sysmon_taskq" and "sysmon" built-in since "sysmon_power"
9. As a corollary to #8 above, having dependencies on modules from code
which has not been modularized makes it extremely difficult to test
the module code adequately. Testing of module code should include
both testing-as-a-built-in module and testing-as-a-loaded-module, and
all dependencies need to be identified.
10. The current /stand/$ARCH/$VERSION/modules/ hierarchy won't scale as
we get more and more modules. There are hundreds of potential device
11. There currently isn't any good way to handle attachment-specific
modules. The build infrastructure (ie, sys/modules/Makefile) doesn't
readily lend itself to bus-specific modules irrespective of $ARCH,
and maintaining distrib/sets/lists/modules/* is awkward at best.
Furthermore, devices such as ld(4), which can attach to a large set
of parent devices, need to be modified. The parent devices need to
provide a common attribute (for example, ld_bus), and the ld driver
should attach to that attribute rather than to each parent. But
currently, config(1) doesn't handle this - it doesn't allow an
attribute to be used as the device tree's pseudo-root. The current
directory structure where driver foo is split between ic/foo.c
and bus1/foo_bus1.c ... busn/foo_busn.c is annoying. It would be
better to switch to the FreeBSD model which puts all the driver
files in one directory.
12. Item #11 gets even murkier when a particular parent can provide more
than one attribute.
13. It seems that we might want some additional sets-lists "attributes"
to control contents of distributions. As an example, many of our
architectures have PCI bus capabilities, but not all. It is rather
painful to need to maintain individual architectures' modules/md_*
sets lists, especially when we already have to conditionalize the
build of the modules based on architecture. If we had a single
"attribute" for PCI-bus-capable, the same attribute could be used to
select which modules to build and which modules from modules/mi to
include in the release. (This is not limited to PCI; recently we
encounter similar issues with spkr aka spkr_synth module.)
14. As has been pointed out more than once, the current method of storing
modules in a version-specific subdirectory of /stand is sub-optimal
and leads to much difficulty and/or confusion. A better mechanism of
associating a kernel and its modules needs to be developed. Some
have suggested having a top-level directory (say, /netbsd) with a
kernel and its modules at /netbsd/kernel and /netbsd/modules/...
Whatever new mechanism we arrive at will probably require changes to
installation procedures and bootstrap code, and will need to handle
both the new and old mechanisms for compatability.
One additional option mentioned is to be able to specify, at boot
loader time, an alternate value for the os-release portion of the
default module path, i.e. /stand/$MACHINE/$ALT-RELEASE/modules/