Re: [PATCH] input: extend EV_LED

From: Richard Purdie
Date: Sun Feb 18 2007 - 06:06:37 EST

On Fri, 2007-02-16 at 01:12 -0200, Henrique de Moraes Holschuh wrote:
> On Thu, 15 Feb 2007, Richard Purdie wrote:
> > This has been discussed in several places several times. The problem
> > with hardware accelerated flashing is that you're are often limited to
> > certain constraints (this case being no exception) and indicating what
> > these are to userspace in a generic fashion is difficult.
> The hability to blinking at one rate is *very* common on laptops. Blinking
> at a few discrete rates is also common enough. They should be supported in
> a generic way.

I just said that finding a way to do it generically is difficult, not
that we shouldn't do it.

> I want to convert ibm-acpi to the led interface, but if it means I have to
> provide custom attributes on top of the led class, it sort of defeats most
> of the purpose of using the led class to begin with -- it will NOT be
> generic.

Even if half your functionality is exposed through the class, that half
that is standardised rather than adhoc. Having said that, you shouldn't
need any custom attributes though.

> If I have to provide those attributes elsewhere in the sysfs tree other than
> somewhere in the led class, then it defeats the purpose of using the led
> class completely: I will just scrap the idea. I am not going to remove
> functionality. And I am not going to emulate in software something the
> hardware can do, especially when that means bothering the EC with a slow
> ACPI-subsystem-gated LPC bus IO port access for no good reason.
> Here's a suggestion for a simple, non-overengineered interface: a "blink"
> attribute (on/off) for leds which can hardware-blink. Only one blink
> frequency is common enough that this attribute by itself is very useful
> (e.g. it is all a ThinkPad and most WiFi/network card leds need).

Right, but blinking is not an LED attribute but more of an action for
the LED so what we need is an LED blink trigger. Rather than the timer
trigger which takes a variety of options, this blink trigger could just
take an on/off value. In the absence of hardware capability, we can
emulate it. I like the idea of a simple blink trigger...

> For hardware-blink leds with various frequencies, there is the typical way
> to provide such things: give us a RO blink_available_frequencies attribute
> which says which discrete frequencies are allowed (space separated), and a
> RW blink_frequency attribute to set the frequency. If instead of
> blink_available_frequencies, the driver provides RO blink_frequency_min and
> _max attributes, then it means it can blink on that range of freqs.

This is quite complex and whilst we could certainly have a trigger that
did this, we already have a variable frequency trigger. See below.

> That is simple enough to implement and use, and generic enough. You just
> need to set in stone if you want the freq in Hz, or a submultiple. You can
> even implement an optional "blink" software emulation that drivers can hook
> into for systems where the driver *knows* that led access is fast, but there
> is no hardware blinking emulation.

If a trigger/attribute appears for an LED, its behaviour needs to be the
same for all LEDs.

> > One way I've come up with is adds capability to the class to have LED
> > specific triggers and you can then expose these hardware capabilities as
> > an extra trigger specific to the LED.
> How would that look like? It doesn't sound too bad. Could you give us an
> example of what the tree would look like, and what the attributes would be
> (and do)?
> > Another proposal more specific to this use case was to have some
> > information behind the scenes which the software timer based trigger
> > could use to turn on the "hardware acceleration" if present and capable
> > of the requested mode. This might just need a function pointer in the
> > core so could be quite neat.
> This looks like a severely overengineered way to deal with the problem at
> first glance.

Which means you haven't thought about it as its quite simple in software
terms. The LED driver can optionally implement a couple of functions:

set_blink(enum frequency)
set_blink_frequency(int delay_on, int delay_off)

These are not exported as an attribute directly and are just something
triggers can use. Any trigger needing blinking behaviour calls one of
these functions as appropriate and if implemented.

The enum reflects a spectrum of loosely defined frequencies, a bit like
brightness maybe in a range 0-6. The idea is these are loose definitions
and the driver will attempt a loose match, using any hardware blinking
if available.

In the case of an LED with a full blown PWM capability (which can
support near enough any frequency), it could just implement
set_blink_frequency() and the LED core could provide a set_blink()
function which translated into a call to set_blink_frequency() with some
predefined frequency defaults. If it didn't support the parameters
passed, it returns an error which the trigger would have to handle with
a software default.

Yes, this is a slightly complicated solution but it solves 101 other
scenarios other than just yours and allows hardware acceleration of
things like the generic timer trigger as well as hardware acceleration
of any trigger which wants a flashing LED instead of an LED thats just
turned on.



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