Re: [Xen-devel] Re: usbback cleanup code
Mark Williamson wrote:
FWIW, I took a look at USB over IP. It looks pretty reasonable to me
(plus, it's already in -mm). At this point, I'm convinced we in the
very least want to share code (even if we don't use IP as the actual
transport). It already handles all of the nasty protocol marshaling
stuff. No reason to have two bits of code doing the same thing.
My personal first reaction was that having been designed for a TCP network it
wouldn't necessarily be a good fit for the shared memory / transient mappings
model that Xen includes. However, it seems likely there is infrastructure
stuff stuff in there that we can leverage, *if* the code handles more special
cases than the existing Xen USB driver does.
I had similar feelings (which I believe were previously valid). After
reading some of the docs/paper on it and then spending some time with
the source code, I have somewhat mixed feelings.
On the one hand, it's very close to being generic enough for us to use.
There are some understandable assumption the code makes though about it
operating on a socket. With a small bit of refactoring, we ought to
make it generic enough to handle a transport other than sockets.
Moreover, I think one would end up with a generally useful abstraction
for frontend/backend streaming.
If not, it's arguably not so much of a win for us but Linux should probably
aim to have only have one core for remote USB - whichever one is more
From what I could gather, USBIP is more complete than any of our
efforts so far.
I can certainly imagine that if the "backend" logic is reasonably
sophisticated, we might want to generalise it into a remote USB provider
library, and a frontend for Xen and another for IP. That could be quite
Much of the backend for USBIP is in userspace which is +1 for me.
When USBoIP was first on the scene it didn't support isochronous (Xen USB for
Linux 2.4 did), but I understand that it's advanced quite a lot since then.
Yes, it definitely supports isochronous devices.
Any chance of an overview of the basic structure of USBoIP? What special
cases does it handle? How does it deal with protocol marshalling? It'd be
nice to have an idea how good a fit the current codebase is.
I'll likely not do justice to the actual implementation so instead I'll
point you to a concise paper that describes it :-) It's split in a very
similar way to the typical front-end/back-end Xen device.
I looked into this as it seems like a very clever way to deal with
things like sound and absolute input devices. We could emulate HID
devices within dom0 userspace and it keeps us from having to bother at
all with implementing frontend/backend drivers for this whole class of
Mark Williamson wrote:
I was able to do a little review of the patch a while back but never
had to time finish looking through it properly. It looked much closer
to mergeable, but there still seemed to be quite a lot of abstraction
code. I think in general, folks were hoping to see a minimum amount of
abstraction code with the USB driver instead using the driver APIs
As far as I'm aware, the USB code is using the driver API correctly
(except possibly for any bugs or where the API may have changed since
the last patch I released).
Sorry, didn't mean to imply it wasn't correctly using it now. I meant to
say "directly", which is not at all the same thing.
I think we have a fairly fundamental disconnect about abstraction. For
me, abstraction is a necessary part of good software engineering. Just
as I assume you wouldn't write machine code where you could use assembly
and wouldn't write assembly where you could write C, I wouldn't write
code at a low level of abstraction where it was possible to use a higher
level of abstraction. Abstraction is useful to manage complexity and
useful to write software which is easier to reason about and easier to
Quite. But it can be a problem where there's just one client, going
through many layers of abstractions.
There were a lot of files added by your patch which appeared to be
utility code / abstractions. This is fine in general, but the other
drivers seem to get away with much less of this kind of thing without
suffering unduly in terms of complexity. I didn't have time to study the
code in detail, but I wasn't convinced they were all strictly necessary.
If you don't want to do any more work on it, then maybe it would make a
good project for somebody.
If anyone wants to pick it up, they are more than welcome but I think it
might be worthwhile to wait until some Xen drivers have been
successfully merged upstream with Linux since I suspect that there may
be some more significant churn in the xenbus/xenstore area before this
Maybe, but I suspect upstream merge is still quite a long way off.
Personally, I've found that the Xenbus APIs are now sufficiently simple
to work with that it's very little work to establish a shared memory page
(I hacked up one very quickly for DCSS), after which you don't have to
worry about them anylonger. I don't think keeping up with the control
plane is prohibitive now, although it was at one stage.
Isochronous is implemented but untested as I couldn't get the
isochronous devices I bought for testing working under native Linux.
The most difficult remaining work is to fix the protocol to correctly
stall URBs during error recovery. I was involved in some discussion
about this on the USB mailing list and there was a proposal for a
solution but it is fairly tricky. Stalling URBs is required when there
is a queue of URBs and an URB fails. If the URBs are not stalled then
they may be submitted to the device out-of-order which is a
Any reason not just to fail all the URBs on the queue? It's not the
ideal response, but I wouldn't see a need to handle error recovery fully
initially, although it'd be nice in the long run.
Also I would expect the Linux USB stack to have changed again.
2.6's APIs do change fairly flexibly, but I don't remember there being
any major changes to the USB stack for some time now.
On May 1 2006, Harry Butterworth wrote:
I haven't done any more work on the USB code since the last patch I
posted to xen-devel. There wasn't any feedback and it wasn't
committed. I think people were too busy with the release.
I have stopped working on USB. I have done several versions now with
no success at getting it merged. I think it will be easier to see
what is required once there are some examples of drivers that have
been merged with Linux.
On Sat, 2006-04-29 at 19:43 +0000, sanjay kumar wrote:
Do you know by what time the USB virtualization code will be commited
in the xen-unstable tree?
On 4/3/06, Harry Butterworth <harry@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
The code is supposed to work with isochronous devices but
so probably doesn't.
PhD Student, Georgia Tech
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