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Date:   Thu, 21 May 2020 13:59:32 -0700
From:   Jacob Keller <>
To:     Ido Schimmel <>
Cc:     Jakub Kicinski <>, Jiri Pirko <>,
        "" <>,,
Subject: Re: devlink interface for asynchronous event/messages from firmware?

On 5/21/2020 1:52 PM, Ido Schimmel wrote:
> On Thu, May 21, 2020 at 01:22:34PM -0700, Jacob Keller wrote:
>> On 5/20/2020 5:16 PM, Jakub Kicinski wrote:
>>> On Wed, 20 May 2020 17:03:02 -0700 Jacob Keller wrote:
>>>> Hi Jiri, Jakub,
>>>> I've been asked to investigate using devlink as a mechanism for
>>>> reporting asynchronous events/messages from firmware including
>>>> diagnostic messages, etc.
>>>> Essentially, the ice firmware can report various status or diagnostic
>>>> messages which are useful for debugging internal behavior. We want to be
>>>> able to get these messages (and relevant data associated with them) in a
>>>> format beyond just "dump it to the dmesg buffer and recover it later".
>>>> It seems like this would be an appropriate use of devlink. I thought
>>>> maybe this would work with devlink health:
>>>> i.e. we create a devlink health reporter, and then when firmware sends a
>>>> message, we use devlink_health_report.
>>>> But when I dug into this, it doesn't seem like a natural fit. The health
>>>> reporters expect to see an "error" state, and don't seem to really fit
>>>> the notion of "log a message from firmware" notion.
>>>> One of the issues is that the health reporter only keeps one dump, when
>>>> what we really want is a way to have a monitoring application get the
>>>> dump and then store its contents.
>>>> Thoughts on what might make sense for this? It feels like a stretch of
>>>> the health interface...
>>>> I mean basically what I am thinking of having is using the devlink_fmsg
>>>> interface to just send a netlink message that then gets sent over the
>>>> devlink monitor socket and gets dumped immediately.
>>> Why does user space need a raw firmware interface in the first place?
>>> Examples?
>> So the ice firmware can optionally send diagnostic debug messages via
>> its control queue. The current solutions we've used internally
>> essentially hex-dump the binary contents to the kernel log, and then
>> these get scraped and converted into a useful format for human consumption.
>> I'm not 100% of the format, but I know it's based on a decoding file
>> that is specific to a given firmware image, and thus attempting to tie
>> this into the driver is problematic.
> You explained how it works, but not why it's needed :)

Well, the reason we want it is to be able to read the debug/diagnostics
data in order to debug issues that might be related to firmware or
software mis-use of firmware interfaces.

By having it be a separate interface rather than trying to scrape from
the kernel message buffer, it becomes something we can have as a
possibility for debugging in the field.

>> There is also a plan to provide a simpler interface for some of the
>> diagnostic messages where a simple bijection between one code to one
>> message for a handful of events, like if the link engine can detect a
>> known reason why it wasn't able to get link. I suppose these could be
>> translated and immediately printed by the driver without a special
>> interface.
> Petr worked on something similar last year:
> Amit is currently working on a new version based on ethtool (netlink).

I'll take a look, thanks!


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