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Deferred IO
Deferred IO is a way to delay and repurpose IO. It uses host memory as a
buffer and the MMU pagefault as a pretrigger for when to perform the device
IO. The following example may be a useful explanation of how one such setup
- userspace app like Xfbdev mmaps framebuffer
- deferred IO and driver sets up fault and page_mkwrite handlers
- userspace app tries to write to mmapped vaddress
- we get pagefault and reach fault handler
- fault handler finds and returns physical page
- we get page_mkwrite where we add this page to a list
- schedule a workqueue task to be run after a delay
- app continues writing to that page with no additional cost. this is
the key benefit.
- the workqueue task comes in and mkcleans the pages on the list, then
completes the work associated with updating the framebuffer. this is
the real work talking to the device.
- app tries to write to the address (that has now been mkcleaned)
- get pagefault and the above sequence occurs again
As can be seen from above, one benefit is roughly to allow bursty framebuffer
writes to occur at minimum cost. Then after some time when hopefully things
have gone quiet, we go and really update the framebuffer which would be
a relatively more expensive operation.
For some types of nonvolatile high latency displays, the desired image is
the final image rather than the intermediate stages which is why it's okay
to not update for each write that is occurring.
It may be the case that this is useful in other scenarios as well. Paul Mundt
has mentioned a case where it is beneficial to use the page count to decide
whether to coalesce and issue SG DMA or to do memory bursts.
Another one may be if one has a device framebuffer that is in an usual format,
say diagonally shifting RGB, this may then be a mechanism for you to allow
apps to pretend to have a normal framebuffer but reswizzle for the device
framebuffer at vsync time based on the touched pagelist.
How to use it: (for applications)
No changes needed. mmap the framebuffer like normal and just use it.
How to use it: (for fbdev drivers)
The following example may be helpful.
1. Setup your structure. Eg::
static struct fb_deferred_io hecubafb_defio = {
.delay = HZ,
.deferred_io = hecubafb_dpy_deferred_io,
The delay is the minimum delay between when the page_mkwrite trigger occurs
and when the deferred_io callback is called. The deferred_io callback is
explained below.
2. Setup your deferred IO callback. Eg::
static void hecubafb_dpy_deferred_io(struct fb_info *info,
struct list_head *pagelist)
The deferred_io callback is where you would perform all your IO to the display
device. You receive the pagelist which is the list of pages that were written
to during the delay. You must not modify this list. This callback is called
from a workqueue.
3. Call init::
info->fbdefio = &hecubafb_defio;
4. Call cleanup::