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Revision 1.1, Wed Jul 15 00:34:54 1998 UTC (22 years, 9 months ago) by thorpej
Branch: MAIN
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Add by bus_dma paper, which was published at the 1998 USENIX conference
in the FREENIX track.

.\"	$NetBSD: 2.me,v 1.1 1998/07/15 00:34:54 thorpej Exp $
.\"
.\" Copyright (c) 1998 Jason R. Thorpe.
.\" All rights reserved.
.\"
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.\" modification, are permitted provided that the following conditions
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.\" 1. Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright
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.\"    notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer in the
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.\"    must display the following acknowledgements:
.\"	This product includes software developed for the NetBSD Project
.\"	by Jason R. Thorpe.
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.\"
.sh 1 "Design considerations"
.pp
Hiding host and bus details is actually very straightforward.
Handling WYSIWYG and direct-mapped DMA
mechanisms is trivial.  Handling scatter-gather-mapped DMA
is also very easy, with the help of state kept in machine-dependent
code layers.  The presence and semantics of caches are also
easy to handle with a set of four "synchronization" operations,
and once caches are handled, DMA bouncing is conceptually trivial
if viewed as a non-DMA-coherent cache.
Unfortunately, while these operations are quite easy to do individually,
traditional kernels do not provide a sufficiently abstract interface to
the operations.  This means that device drivers in these traditional
kernels must handle each case explicitly.
.pp
In addition to the interface to
these operations, a comprehensive DMA framework must also consider data
buffer structures and DMA-safe memory handling.
.sh 2 "Data buffer structures"
.pp
The BSD kernel has essentially three different
structures used to represent data buffers.  The first is a simple linear
buffer in virtual space, for example the data areas used to implement the
file system buffer cache, and miscellaneous buffers allocated by the general
purpose kernel memory allocator.  The second is the \fImbuf chain\fR.  Mbufs
are typically used by code which implements inter-process communication
and networking.  Their structure, small buffers chained together, reduces
memory fragmentation and allows packet headers to be prepended easily.  The
third is the \fIuio\fR structure.  This structure describes software
scatter-gather to the kernel address space or to the address space of a
specific process.  It is most commonly used by the \fIread(2)\fR and
\fIwrite(2)\fR system calls.
While it would be possible for the device driver to treat the two more
complex buffer structures as sets of multiple simple linear buffers,
this is undesirable in terms of source code maintenance; the code to
handle these data buffer structures can be complex, especially
in terms of error handling.
.pp
In addition to the obvious need to DMA to and from memory mapped into
kernel address space, it is common in modern operating systems to
implement an optimized I/O interface for user processes which provides
a method for devices to DMA directly to or from memory regions mapped into
a process's address space.  While this facility is partially provided for
character device I/O by double-mapping the user buffer into kernel address
space, the interface is not sufficiently general, and consumes kernel
resources.  This is somewhat related to the \fIuio\fR structure, in that
the \fIuio\fR is capable of addressing buffers in a process's address space.
However it may be desirable to use an alternate data format, such as a
linear buffer, in some applications.  In order to implement this, the DMA
mapping framework must have access to processes' virtual memory structures.
.pp
It may also be desirable to DMA to or from buffers not mapped into
any address space.  The obvious example is frame grabbers.  These
devices, which capture video images, often require large, physically
contiguous memory regions to store the captured image data.  On some
architectures, mapping of virtual address space is expensive.  An
application may wish to give a large buffer to the device, allow the
device to continuously update the buffer, and then only map small regions
of the buffer at any given time.  Since the entire buffer need not be
mapped into virtual address space, the DMA framework should provide an
interface for using raw, unmapped buffers in DMA transfers.
.sh 2 "DMA-safe memory handling"
.pp
A comprehensive DMA framework must also provide several memory
handling facilities.  The most obvious of these is a method of
allocating (and freeing) DMA-safe memory.  The term "DMA-safe" is
a way of describing a set of attributes the memory will have.
First, DMA-safe memory must be addressable within the
constraints of the bus.  It must also be allocated in such a
way as to not exceed the number of physical segments\** specified
by the caller.
.(f
\**This is somewhat misleading.  The actual constraint is on
the number of DMA segments the memory may map to.  However, this
usually corresponds directly to the number of physical memory
segments which make up the allocated memory.
.)f
.pp
In order for the kernel to access the DMA-safe memory, a method
must exist to map this memory into kernel virtual address space.
This is a fairly straightforward operation, with one exception.
On some platforms which do not have cache-coherent DMA, cache
flushes are very expensive.  However, it is sometimes possible to
mark virtual mappings of memory as cache-inhibited, or access
physical memory though a cache-inhibited direct-mapped address
segment.  In order to accommodate these situations, a hint may be
provided to the memory mapping function which specifies that the
user of this memory wishes to avoid expensive data cache flushes.
.pp
To facilitate optimized I/O to process address spaces, it is necessary
to provide processes a way of mapping a DMA-safe memory area.
The most convenient way to do this is via a device driver's \fImmap()\fR
entry point.  Thus, a DMA mapping framework must have a way to
communicate with the VM system's \fIdevice pager\**\fR.
.(f
\**The \fIdevice pager\fR provides support for memory mapping
devices into a process's address space.
.)f
.pp
All of these requirements must be considered in the design of a
complete DMA framework.  When possible, the framework may
merge semantically similar operations or concepts, but it must
address all of these issues.  The next section describes the
interface provided by such a framework.