Zack's Kernel News

Zack's Kernel News

Article from Issue 198/2017
Author(s):

Chronicler Zack Brown reports on the latest news, views, dilemmas, and developments within the Linux kernel community.

Revamping the Firmware API

Luis R. Rodriguez didn't like that the kernel's firmware API had been gradually extended into a nightmare mash of hopeless deformity. Any time someone updated a firmware routine, or added a new one, all existing firmware users had to be sifted and updated to account for the change. The API had also been extended to the point that user code had begun to use it for things other than firmware. As Luis put it, "an example here is the p54 driver enables users to provide a custom EEPROM through this interface. Another example is optional CPU microcode updates. This list is actually quite endless." He added that there was a queue of other subsystems wanting to use the firmware API for their own non-firmware purposes.

Luis proposed, first of all, continuing to support the existing firmware API. Beyond that, it would provide a superset of features, some of which could be used for firmware, but that would have more general "data helper" value as well. The new API would handle calls synchronously or asynchronously as needed, and in general the API would be extensible in natural ways that would not require going back to change all existing usage every time a new extension arrived.

Greg Kroah-Hartman had no major objections and mostly offered documentation suggestions.

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