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Date:   Thu, 13 Apr 2017 08:32:48 -0700
From:   Andy Lutomirski <>
To:     Michał Kępień <>
Cc:     Darren Hart <>,
        Rafael Wysocki <>,
        Len Brown <>,
        Pali Rohár <>,
        Corentin Chary <>,
        Mario Limonciello <>,
        Andy Lutomirski <>,
        Andy Shevchenko <>,
        LKML <>,,
        "" <>
Subject: Re: RFC: WMI Enhancements

On Thu, Apr 13, 2017 at 12:32 AM, Michał Kępień <> wrote:
>> Hi All,
>> There are a few parallel efforts involving the Windows Management
>> Instrumentation (WMI)[1] and dependent/related drivers. I'd like to have a round of
>> discussion among those of you that have been involved in this space before we
>> decide on a direction.
>> The WMI support in the kernel today fairly narrowly supports a handful of
>> systems. Andy L. has a work-in-progress series [2] which converts wmi into a
>> platform device and a proper bus, providing devices for dependent drivers to
>> bind to, and a mechanism for sibling devices to communicate with each other.
>> I've reviewed the series and feel like the approach is sound, I plan to carry
>> this series forward and merge it (with Andy L's permission).
>> Are there any objections to this?
> Back in January 2016, I sent Andy a few minor comments about this
> series.  A year later, I offered to iron out the remaining issues and
> resubmit the series in Andy's name when I find the time.  Sadly, things
> have changed a bit for me since that time and it is unlikely that I will
> be able to deliver, for which I am sorry.
> However, browsing Andy's branch I see that most issues have been
> resolved, though I think some of my remarks [1] have either been missed
> or silently refuted :)
> Anyway, I also like this approach and I think this series is a valuable
> cleanup.

Me too :)

>> In Windows, applications interact with WMI more or less directly. We don't do
>> this in Linux currently, although it has been discussed in the past [3]. Some
>> vendors will work around this by performing SMI/SMM, which is inefficient at
>> best. Exposing WMI methods to userspace would bring parity to WMI for Linux and
>> Windows.
>> There are two principal concerns I'd appreciate your thoughts on:
>> a) As an undiscoverable interface (you need to know the method signatures ahead
>> of time), universally exposing every WMI "device" to userspace seems like "a bad
>> idea" from a security and stability perspective. While access would certainly be
>> privileged, it seems more prudent to make this exposure opt-in. We also handle
>> some of this with kernel drivers and exposing those "devices" to userspace would
>> enable userspace and the kernel to fight over control. So - if we expose WMI
>> devices to userspace, I believe this should be done on a case by case basis,
>> opting in, and not by default as part of the WMI driver (although it can provide
>> the mechanism for a sub-driver to use), and possibly a devmode to do so by
>> default.

I agree.  I don't want too see gnome-whatever-widget talking directly
to WMI and confusing the kernel driver for the same thing.

>> Secondarily, Andy L created a simple driver to expose the MOF buffer [2] to
>> userspace which could be consumed by a userspace tool to create sources for an
>> interface to the exposed WMI methods.
> +1 for the idea, it makes figuring out what the firmware actually
> exposes through WMI a bit easier.  After skimming through the driver's
> code, I would only recommend to review the included headers
> (linux/input/sparse-keymap.h, linux/dmi.h and acpi/video.h all seem
> redundant to me).
> What we still need, though, is an open source version of wmiofck.exe.  I
> am unaware of anything like that existing and installing the Windows
> Driver Kit just to run one command which spits out a single *.h file is
> not something I would describe as convenient (been there).

I haven't tried to see whether they do what's needed, but there's
OpenWBEM and OpenPegasus.

Anyway, if such a tool exists, it would be handy to expose the binary
MOF data to userspace so the tool could be used to help get WMI
working on new platforms.

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