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Date:	Mon, 15 Sep 2014 15:48:00 -0700
From:	Grant Likely <>
To:	Catalin Marinas <>
Cc:	"" <>,
	"Rafael J. Wysocki" <>,
	Mark Rutland <>,
	Olof Johansson <>,
	"" <>,
	Arnd Bergmann <>,
	Sudeep Holla <>,
	Will Deacon <>,
	Jason Cooper <>,
	Marc Zyngier <>,
	Bjorn Helgaas <>,
	Daniel Lezcano <>,
	Mark Brown <>, Rob Herring <>,
	Robert Richter <>,
	Lv Zheng <>,
	Robert Moore <>,
	Lorenzo Pieralisi <>,
	Liviu Dudau <>,
	Randy Dunlap <>,
	Charles Garcia-Tobin <>,
	"" <>,
	"" <>,
	"" <>
Subject: Re: [PATCH v3 00/17] Introduce ACPI for ARM64 based on ACPI 5.1

On Mon, 15 Sep 2014 10:15:16 +0100, Catalin Marinas <> wrote:
> On Mon, Sep 15, 2014 at 05:31:16AM +0100, Grant Likely wrote:
> > On Thu, 11 Sep 2014 16:37:39 +0100, Catalin Marinas <> wrote:
> > > On Thu, Sep 11, 2014 at 02:29:34PM +0100, Grant Likely wrote:
> > > > Regarding the requests to refactor ACPICA to work better for ARM. I
> > > > completely agree that it should be done, but I do not think it should be
> > > > a prerequisite to getting this core support merged. That kind of
> > > > refactoring is far easier to justify when it has immediate improvement
> > > > on the mainline codebase, and it gives us a working baseline to test
> > > > against. Doing it the other way around just makes things harder.
> > > 
> > > I have to disagree here. As I said, I'm perfectly fine with refactoring
> > > happening later but I'm not happy with compiling in code with undefined
> > > behaviour on ARM that may actually be executed at run-time.
> > > 
> > > I'm being told one of the main advantages of ACPI is forward
> > > compatibility: running older kernels on newer hardware (potentially with
> > > newer ACPI version tables). ACPI 5.1 includes partial support for ARM
> > > but the S and C states are not defined yet. We therefore assume that
> > > hardware vendors deploying servers using ACPI would not provide such
> > > yet to be defined information in ACPI 5.1 tables.
> > 
> > We're good on this front. ACPI-future platforms aren't allowed to use
> > new features when booting an older kernel.
> Do you mean ACPI-future firmware should not provide new information to
> older kernels?

I mean that ACPI has the mechanism so that the platform (via AML)
doesn't try to do things that the OS doesn't understand.  AML methods are
to use the \_REV object to determine whether or not it can use a
feature. If, for example, the _REV is 5, then the AML must switch itself
to code paths that don't use ACPI 6 features.

> The firmware must not care which kernel version (not even
> which OS) runs on top. That's the whole point of an OS-agnostic
> standardisation body).

It shouldn't care about the OS, but it absolutely needs to care about
which revision of ACPI spec that the OS implements, and the ACPI spec
accounts for exactly that.

> > ACPI has a mechanism to check version numbers.
> I assume you are referring to the kernel checking of the ACPI version
> the tables are compatible with (acpi_parse_fadt() in patch 7/17 in the
> v3 series). With these patches, it currently assumes that it is
> compatible with anything 5.1 and later.

No, that's the other side. That's how the OS determines which version of
the spec the ACPI tables implement. That's how the OS decides if it
needs to use the behaviour from an older revision of the spec.

For the kernel to accept anything 5.1 or later is the correct behavour
here. ACPI compatibility is driven by the lowest common denominator. The
kernel and the platform (AML) choose the most recent version of the spec
that is supported by both.

> > Similarly, when ACPI-future defines those states, the kernel shouldn't
> > expose them to an older platform.
> When the kernel implements ACPI-future, all is fine, it should still be
> backwards compatible with 5.1.
> > > What if in a year time we get ACPI 5.2 or 6 (or an errata update)
> > > covering the S and C states for ARM? I would expect hardware vendors
> > > to take advantage and provide such information in ACPI tables. Can we
> > > guarantee that a kernel with the current ACPI patches wouldn't blow up
> > > when it tries to interpret the new tables?
> > 
> > Yes - at least as much as we can guarantee anything in systems
> > programming.
> No, we don't. Once you define some sleep states in ACPI-future and
> the firmware provides such tables to an older kernel, it is possible
> that the current (x86-centric) ACPI sleep code will fault. Just look at
> the acpi_suspend_enter() (and you also seemed OK to define
> Even if v4 of these patches removed the sleep code, given uncertainties
> like above I'm thinking more and more that we should actually make the
> acpi_parse_fadt() version check succeed only on ACPI 5.1 and no later
> version (apart from ACPI sleep, is there anything else we would expect
> to blow up when additional information is provided via ACPI-future
> tables?).

I was about to agree with you that we could do that temporarily, but
after thinking about it more, this is actually an actively dangerous
thing to do because it will encourage firmware vendors to lie about
which version of the ACPI spec it conforms to. ie. A vendor may build a
platform and use the ACPI6.0 spec, but they want it to boot on an older
kernel, and so they make their tables lie and report 5.1.  This would be
a horrible situation. We would loose the ability to use reported ACPI
spec comformance to determine which features to enable.

Selecting on v5.1 or later really is the right choice here. Vendors who
do the wrong thing and produce broken firmware will get rightly dumped
on by Red Hat and Canonical for shipping something that doesn't work.
We have a lot less risk here than ACPI had historically in the x86 world
because these systems are primarily built to run Linux instead of
Windows. That means the systems will be tested and validated with
released Linux distros, and they will fix the firmware if it is broken.

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