Re: Mis?use of aliases

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On 7/14/2012 6:37 AM, David Gibson wrote:
> On Fri, Jul 13, 2012 at 07:30:42PM -1000, Mitch Bradley wrote:
>>> I'm not sure this is really a good use of aliases. UARTs use aliases
>>> because it is important that the UART number to tty number is known and
>>> fixed.
>>
>> This brings up an issue that I've been meaning to comment on.
>>
>> The use of phandle-valued properties in the aliases node causes real OFW
>> implementations some amount of heartburn.  The Open Firmware standard
>> says that the properties in /aliases are string-valued.  That's
>> important, because aliases are shorthand for fragments of full device
>> specifiers (pathnames that can include arguments to nodes).  Phandles
>> can point to nodes, but can't be relative, and can't encode
>> per-node-component arguments.
> 
> Um, so, properties in /aliases should not have phandle values, flat
> tree or otherwise.  Has this been seen in the wild, or are you being
> misled by the fact that dtc's reference-to-phandle and
> reference-to-path syntax is very similar:


Yes, I was indeed being misled.  Thanks for the clarification.  The
"&fred" syntax is present in the .dts files that I have looked at.

> 
> 	prop = <&fred>;
> Will generate a phandle valued property, but
> 	prop = &fred;
> Will generate a string (path) valued property.
> 
>> For binding a Linux unit number to a device node, I would prefer to
>> decorate the node with a property like "linux,unit#", instead of
>> breaking the standard semantics of /aliases.
> 
> I don't see how using aliases for unit numbering (inherently) breaks
> the semantics of /aliases.  If phandle valued properties are being
> used that is wrong, but it's not necessary for the unit numbering
> anyway.

I agree, the use of string-valued /aliases is not a semantic problem.
That said, I still think that decorating individual nodes is a better
approach, for locality reasons.  But, now that my misunderstanding has
been cleared up, it's a mild preference instead of "heartburn".

For historical reference: The original use of /aliases was as a
component of pathname resolution, which is a "global" function.  In that
usage model, a given alias does not necessarily refer specifically to
exactly one node, so "localizing" an alias inside a node doesn't work.

The new usage for binding to a Linux name could be localized.  My
general preference is to localize whenever possible.  But, again,
breaking that rule in this case is not a huge problem.

Thanks again for zeroing in on my mistake.

Mitch



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