Re: [RFC] embedded struct device Re: [patch] IDE driver model update

From: Kai Germaschewski (
Date: Tue Oct 08 2002 - 17:48:56 EST

On Tue, 8 Oct 2002, Linus Torvalds wrote:

> Right. But that's a driver bug, and it's because this whole thing is
> fairly new.
> There aren't that many things that actually play with these things (mainly
> the PCI and the USB layer, and individual drivers shouldn't care, it's
> just the bus layer that does all of this), so we should be able to fix the
> cases cleanly.

It'd be nice if things were so easy, but I don't think so. Of course,
"struct device" objects are created by the bus drivers, and as such there
are not that many (currently only PCI, ISAPnP, USB, as you said, but I
think eventually, we may want to have our representation of IDE, SCSI,
ISDN, sound, ethernet, whatever there as well).

USB may be modular today, and so are many of the other potential users, so
we need to deal with that. But it's not only bus drivers, anyway.
New-style PCI drivers use pci_register_driver, where struct pci_driver
embeds struct device_driver. And the problems are exactly the same.

Today, we expect that we can kfree(&my_driver_struct) after
pci_unregister_driver(&my_driver_struct). Actually, the common case is
rather the my_driver_struct is statically allocated in a module, which
will be unloaded after pci_unregister_driver() returns, but that's
basically exactly the same thing.

I'm pretty sure we do not want to change that API to have every driver out
there specify a destructor for my_driver_struct. It'd be simple, it'd just
do MOD_DEC_USE_COUNT, though. Except for that this whole thing does not
work at all then, since we call pci_unregister_driver () from
module_exit(), which can only be called when the use count is already

In addition, even if we went the long way and found a solution for the
above problem, it still meant that we could only unload the module after
all references to struct device_driver are gone. Which can take forever
when someone holds open /driversfs/my_driver/something. That's a DoS we do
not want to have, either, I think.

I agree with Al Viro, the only sensible solution seems to make struct
device and struct device_driver separately allocated (one could possibly
do the separation and another level, like between struct driver and struct
driverfs_dir_entry, but above seems the cleanest). So they can stay around
long after a module which registered them initially is gone. Of course, we
need to have some mechanism to make sure callbacks into the module are
not made after a certain point, since .text may be gone, or driver
specific part (struct usb_driver), which is why we need some kind of
mark_dead(), which I'd rather call device_unregister(struct device *) /
driver_unregister(struct device_driver *). The actual driverfs object may
still stay around after that point, but its ->priv pointer, which pointed
to the usb_device / usb_driver is invalidated and will not be dereferenced
anymore, neither the callbacks into driver-specific code.

This way, the API for things like PCI device drivers can remain the same,
the API for bus drivers changes slightly, the driver core needs major
changes, but at least it should work and be safe this way.


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