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-rw-r--r--Documentation/devicetree/bindings/xillybus/xillybus.txt (renamed from Documentation/devicetree/bindings/staging/xillybus.txt)0
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+
+ ==========================================
+ Xillybus driver for generic FPGA interface
+ ==========================================
+
+Author: Eli Billauer, Xillybus Ltd. (http://xillybus.com)
+Email: eli.billauer@gmail.com or as advertised on Xillybus' site.
+
+Contents:
+
+ - Introduction
+ -- Background
+ -- Xillybus Overview
+
+ - Usage
+ -- User interface
+ -- Synchronization
+ -- Seekable pipes
+
+- Internals
+ -- Source code organization
+ -- Pipe attributes
+ -- Host never reads from the FPGA
+ -- Channels, pipes, and the message channel
+ -- Data streaming
+ -- Data granularity
+ -- Probing
+ -- Buffer allocation
+ -- The "nonempty" message (supporting poll)
+
+
+INTRODUCTION
+============
+
+Background
+----------
+
+An FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) is a piece of logic hardware, which
+can be programmed to become virtually anything that is usually found as a
+dedicated chipset: For instance, a display adapter, network interface card,
+or even a processor with its peripherals. FPGAs are the LEGO of hardware:
+Based upon certain building blocks, you make your own toys the way you like
+them. It's usually pointless to reimplement something that is already
+available on the market as a chipset, so FPGAs are mostly used when some
+special functionality is needed, and the production volume is relatively low
+(hence not justifying the development of an ASIC).
+
+The challenge with FPGAs is that everything is implemented at a very low
+level, even lower than assembly language. In order to allow FPGA designers to
+focus on their specific project, and not reinvent the wheel over and over
+again, pre-designed building blocks, IP cores, are often used. These are the
+FPGA parallels of library functions. IP cores may implement certain
+mathematical functions, a functional unit (e.g. a USB interface), an entire
+processor (e.g. ARM) or anything that might come handy. Think of them as a
+building block, with electrical wires dangling on the sides for connection to
+other blocks.
+
+One of the daunting tasks in FPGA design is communicating with a fullblown
+operating system (actually, with the processor running it): Implementing the
+low-level bus protocol and the somewhat higher-level interface with the host
+(registers, interrupts, DMA etc.) is a project in itself. When the FPGA's
+function is a well-known one (e.g. a video adapter card, or a NIC), it can
+make sense to design the FPGA's interface logic specifically for the project.
+A special driver is then written to present the FPGA as a well-known interface
+to the kernel and/or user space. In that case, there is no reason to treat the
+FPGA differently than any device on the bus.
+
+It's however common that the desired data communication doesn't fit any well-
+known peripheral function. Also, the effort of designing an elegant
+abstraction for the data exchange is often considered too big. In those cases,
+a quicker and possibly less elegant solution is sought: The driver is
+effectively written as a user space program, leaving the kernel space part
+with just elementary data transport. This still requires designing some
+interface logic for the FPGA, and write a simple ad-hoc driver for the kernel.
+
+Xillybus Overview
+-----------------
+
+Xillybus is an IP core and a Linux driver. Together, they form a kit for
+elementary data transport between an FPGA and the host, providing pipe-like
+data streams with a straightforward user interface. It's intended as a low-
+effort solution for mixed FPGA-host projects, for which it makes sense to
+have the project-specific part of the driver running in a user-space program.
+
+Since the communication requirements may vary significantly from one FPGA
+project to another (the number of data pipes needed in each direction and
+their attributes), there isn't one specific chunk of logic being the Xillybus
+IP core. Rather, the IP core is configured and built based upon a
+specification given by its end user.
+
+Xillybus presents independent data streams, which resemble pipes or TCP/IP
+communication to the user. At the host side, a character device file is used
+just like any pipe file. On the FPGA side, hardware FIFOs are used to stream
+the data. This is contrary to a common method of communicating through fixed-
+sized buffers (even though such buffers are used by Xillybus under the hood).
+There may be more than a hundred of these streams on a single IP core, but
+also no more than one, depending on the configuration.
+
+In order to ease the deployment of the Xillybus IP core, it contains a simple
+data structure which completely defines the core's configuration. The Linux
+driver fetches this data structure during its initialization process, and sets
+up the DMA buffers and character devices accordingly. As a result, a single
+driver is used to work out of the box with any Xillybus IP core.
+
+The data structure just mentioned should not be confused with PCI's
+configuration space or the Flattened Device Tree.
+
+USAGE
+=====
+
+User interface
+--------------
+
+On the host, all interface with Xillybus is done through /dev/xillybus_*
+device files, which are generated automatically as the drivers loads. The
+names of these files depend on the IP core that is loaded in the FPGA (see
+Probing below). To communicate with the FPGA, open the device file that
+corresponds to the hardware FIFO you want to send data or receive data from,
+and use plain write() or read() calls, just like with a regular pipe. In
+particular, it makes perfect sense to go:
+
+$ cat mydata > /dev/xillybus_thisfifo
+
+$ cat /dev/xillybus_thatfifo > hisdata
+
+possibly pressing CTRL-C as some stage, even though the xillybus_* pipes have
+the capability to send an EOF (but may not use it).
+
+The driver and hardware are designed to behave sensibly as pipes, including:
+
+* Supporting non-blocking I/O (by setting O_NONBLOCK on open() ).
+
+* Supporting poll() and select().
+
+* Being bandwidth efficient under load (using DMA) but also handle small
+ pieces of data sent across (like TCP/IP) by autoflushing.
+
+A device file can be read only, write only or bidirectional. Bidirectional
+device files are treated like two independent pipes (except for sharing a
+"channel" structure in the implementation code).
+
+Synchronization
+---------------
+
+Xillybus pipes are configured (on the IP core) to be either synchronous or
+asynchronous. For a synchronous pipe, write() returns successfully only after
+some data has been submitted and acknowledged by the FPGA. This slows down
+bulk data transfers, and is nearly impossible for use with streams that
+require data at a constant rate: There is no data transmitted to the FPGA
+between write() calls, in particular when the process loses the CPU.
+
+When a pipe is configured asynchronous, write() returns if there was enough
+room in the buffers to store any of the data in the buffers.
+
+For FPGA to host pipes, asynchronous pipes allow data transfer from the FPGA
+as soon as the respective device file is opened, regardless of if the data
+has been requested by a read() call. On synchronous pipes, only the amount
+of data requested by a read() call is transmitted.
+
+In summary, for synchronous pipes, data between the host and FPGA is
+transmitted only to satisfy the read() or write() call currently handled
+by the driver, and those calls wait for the transmission to complete before
+returning.
+
+Note that the synchronization attribute has nothing to do with the possibility
+that read() or write() completes less bytes than requested. There is a
+separate configuration flag ("allowpartial") that determines whether such a
+partial completion is allowed.
+
+Seekable pipes
+--------------
+
+A synchronous pipe can be configured to have the stream's position exposed
+to the user logic at the FPGA. Such a pipe is also seekable on the host API.
+With this feature, a memory or register interface can be attached on the
+FPGA side to the seekable stream. Reading or writing to a certain address in
+the attached memory is done by seeking to the desired address, and calling
+read() or write() as required.
+
+
+INTERNALS
+=========
+
+Source code organization
+------------------------
+
+The Xillybus driver consists of a core module, xillybus_core.c, and modules
+that depend on the specific bus interface (xillybus_of.c and xillybus_pcie.c).
+
+The bus specific modules are those probed when a suitable device is found by
+the kernel. Since the DMA mapping and synchronization functions, which are bus
+dependent by their nature, are used by the core module, a
+xilly_endpoint_hardware structure is passed to the core module on
+initialization. This structure is populated with pointers to wrapper functions
+which execute the DMA-related operations on the bus.
+
+Pipe attributes
+---------------
+
+Each pipe has a number of attributes which are set when the FPGA component
+(IP core) is built. They are fetched from the IDT (the data structure which
+defines the core's configuration, see Probing below) by xilly_setupchannels()
+in xillybus_core.c as follows:
+
+* is_writebuf: The pipe's direction. A non-zero value means it's an FPGA to
+ host pipe (the FPGA "writes").
+
+* channelnum: The pipe's identification number in communication between the
+ host and FPGA.
+
+* format: The underlying data width. See Data Granularity below.
+
+* allowpartial: A non-zero value means that a read() or write() (whichever
+ applies) may return with less than the requested number of bytes. The common
+ choice is a non-zero value, to match standard UNIX behavior.
+
+* synchronous: A non-zero value means that the pipe is synchronous. See
+ Syncronization above.
+
+* bufsize: Each DMA buffer's size. Always a power of two.
+
+* bufnum: The number of buffers allocated for this pipe. Always a power of two.
+
+* exclusive_open: A non-zero value forces exclusive opening of the associated
+ device file. If the device file is bidirectional, and already opened only in
+ one direction, the opposite direction may be opened once.
+
+* seekable: A non-zero value indicates that the pipe is seekable. See
+ Seekable pipes above.
+
+* supports_nonempty: A non-zero value (which is typical) indicates that the
+ hardware will send the messages that are necessary to support select() and
+ poll() for this pipe.
+
+Host never reads from the FPGA
+------------------------------
+
+Even though PCI Express is hotpluggable in general, a typical motherboard
+doesn't expect a card to go away all of the sudden. But since the PCIe card
+is based upon reprogrammable logic, a sudden disappearance from the bus is
+quite likely as a result of an accidental reprogramming of the FPGA while the
+host is up. In practice, nothing happens immediately in such a situation. But
+if the host attempts to read from an address that is mapped to the PCI Express
+device, that leads to an immediate freeze of the system on some motherboards,
+even though the PCIe standard requires a graceful recovery.
+
+In order to avoid these freezes, the Xillybus driver refrains completely from
+reading from the device's register space. All communication from the FPGA to
+the host is done through DMA. In particular, the Interrupt Service Routine
+doesn't follow the common practice of checking a status register when it's
+invoked. Rather, the FPGA prepares a small buffer which contains short
+messages, which inform the host what the interrupt was about.
+
+This mechanism is used on non-PCIe buses as well for the sake of uniformity.
+
+
+Channels, pipes, and the message channel
+----------------------------------------
+
+Each of the (possibly bidirectional) pipes presented to the user is allocated
+a data channel between the FPGA and the host. The distinction between channels
+and pipes is necessary only because of channel 0, which is used for interrupt-
+related messages from the FPGA, and has no pipe attached to it.
+
+Data streaming
+--------------
+
+Even though a non-segmented data stream is presented to the user at both
+sides, the implementation relies on a set of DMA buffers which is allocated
+for each channel. For the sake of illustration, let's take the FPGA to host
+direction: As data streams into the respective channel's interface in the
+FPGA, the Xillybus IP core writes it to one of the DMA buffers. When the
+buffer is full, the FPGA informs the host about that (appending a
+XILLYMSG_OPCODE_RELEASEBUF message channel 0 and sending an interrupt if
+necessary). The host responds by making the data available for reading through
+the character device. When all data has been read, the host writes on the
+the FPGA's buffer control register, allowing the buffer's overwriting. Flow
+control mechanisms exist on both sides to prevent underflows and overflows.
+
+This is not good enough for creating a TCP/IP-like stream: If the data flow
+stops momentarily before a DMA buffer is filled, the intuitive expectation is
+that the partial data in buffer will arrive anyhow, despite the buffer not
+being completed. This is implemented by adding a field in the
+XILLYMSG_OPCODE_RELEASEBUF message, through which the FPGA informs not just
+which buffer is submitted, but how much data it contains.
+
+But the FPGA will submit a partially filled buffer only if directed to do so
+by the host. This situation occurs when the read() method has been blocking
+for XILLY_RX_TIMEOUT jiffies (currently 10 ms), after which the host commands
+the FPGA to submit a DMA buffer as soon as it can. This timeout mechanism
+balances between bus bandwidth efficiency (preventing a lot of partially
+filled buffers being sent) and a latency held fairly low for tails of data.
+
+A similar setting is used in the host to FPGA direction. The handling of
+partial DMA buffers is somewhat different, though. The user can tell the
+driver to submit all data it has in the buffers to the FPGA, by issuing a
+write() with the byte count set to zero. This is similar to a flush request,
+but it doesn't block. There is also an autoflushing mechanism, which triggers
+an equivalent flush roughly XILLY_RX_TIMEOUT jiffies after the last write().
+This allows the user to be oblivious about the underlying buffering mechanism
+and yet enjoy a stream-like interface.
+
+Note that the issue of partial buffer flushing is irrelevant for pipes having
+the "synchronous" attribute nonzero, since synchronous pipes don't allow data
+to lay around in the DMA buffers between read() and write() anyhow.
+
+Data granularity
+----------------
+
+The data arrives or is sent at the FPGA as 8, 16 or 32 bit wide words, as
+configured by the "format" attribute. Whenever possible, the driver attempts
+to hide this when the pipe is accessed differently from its natural alignment.
+For example, reading single bytes from a pipe with 32 bit granularity works
+with no issues. Writing single bytes to pipes with 16 or 32 bit granularity
+will also work, but the driver can't send partially completed words to the
+FPGA, so the transmission of up to one word may be held until it's fully
+occupied with user data.
+
+This somewhat complicates the handling of host to FPGA streams, because
+when a buffer is flushed, it may contain up to 3 bytes don't form a word in
+the FPGA, and hence can't be sent. To prevent loss of data, these leftover
+bytes need to be moved to the next buffer. The parts in xillybus_core.c
+that mention "leftovers" in some way are related to this complication.
+
+Probing
+-------
+
+As mentioned earlier, the number of pipes that are created when the driver
+loads and their attributes depend on the Xillybus IP core in the FPGA. During
+the driver's initialization, a blob containing configuration info, the
+Interface Description Table (IDT), is sent from the FPGA to the host. The
+bootstrap process is done in three phases:
+
+1. Acquire the length of the IDT, so a buffer can be allocated for it. This
+ is done by sending a quiesce command to the device, since the acknowledge
+ for this command contains the IDT's buffer length.
+
+2. Acquire the IDT itself.
+
+3. Create the interfaces according to the IDT.
+
+Buffer allocation
+-----------------
+
+In order to simplify the logic that prevents illegal boundary crossings of
+PCIe packets, the following rule applies: If a buffer is smaller than 4kB,
+it must not cross a 4kB boundary. Otherwise, it must be 4kB aligned. The
+xilly_setupchannels() functions allocates these buffers by requesting whole
+pages from the kernel, and diving them into DMA buffers as necessary. Since
+all buffers' sizes are powers of two, it's possible to pack any set of such
+buffers, with a maximal waste of one page of memory.
+
+All buffers are allocated when the driver is loaded. This is necessary,
+since large continuous physical memory segments are sometimes requested,
+which are more likely to be available when the system is freshly booted.
+
+The allocation of buffer memory takes place in the same order they appear in
+the IDT. The driver relies on a rule that the pipes are sorted with decreasing
+buffer size in the IDT. If a requested buffer is larger or equal to a page,
+the necessary number of pages is requested from the kernel, and these are
+used for this buffer. If the requested buffer is smaller than a page, one
+single page is requested from the kernel, and that page is partially used.
+Or, if there already is a partially used page at hand, the buffer is packed
+into that page. It can be shown that all pages requested from the kernel
+(except possibly for the last) are 100% utilized this way.
+
+The "nonempty" message (supporting poll)
+---------------------------------------
+
+In order to support the "poll" method (and hence select() ), there is a small
+catch regarding the FPGA to host direction: The FPGA may have filled a DMA
+buffer with some data, but not submitted that buffer. If the host waited for
+the buffer's submission by the FPGA, there would be a possibility that the
+FPGA side has sent data, but a select() call would still block, because the
+host has not received any notification about this. This is solved with
+XILLYMSG_OPCODE_NONEMPTY messages sent by the FPGA when a channel goes from
+completely empty to containing some data.
+
+These messages are used only to support poll() and select(). The IP core can
+be configured not to send them for a slight reduction of bandwidth.

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