Hello Hans,

On Wednesday 23 December 2009 16:06:18 Hans Verkuil wrote:
> Thank you for working on this! It's much appreciated. Now I've noticed that
> patches regarding memory-to-memory and memory pool tend to get very few 
> comments.
> I suspect that the main reason is that these are SoC-specific features that do
> not occur in consumer-type products. So most v4l developers do not have the
> interest and motivation (and time!) to look into this.

Thank you very much for your response. We were a bit surprised with the lack of
responses as there seemed to be a good number of people interested in this area.

I'm hoping that everybody interested would take a look at the test device posted
along with the patches. It's virtual, no specific hardware required, but it
demonstrates the concepts behind the framework, including transactions.

> One thing that I am missing is a high-level overview of what we want. 
> Currently
> there are patches/RFCs floating around for memory-to-memory support, 
> multiplanar
> support and memory-pool support.
> What I would like to see is a RFC that ties this all together from the point 
> of
> view of the public API. I.e. what are the requirements? Possibly solutions? 
> Open
> questions? Forget about how to implement it for the moment, that will follow
> from the chosen solutions.

Yes, that's true, sorry about that. We've been so into it after the memory pool
discussion and the V4L2 mini-summit that I neglected describing the big picture
behind this.

So to give a more high-level description, from the point of view of applications
and the V4L2 API:

(Some of the following were first posted by Laurent in:

1. Support for devices that take input data in a source buffer, take a separate
destination buffer, process the source data and put it in the destination 

2. Allow sharing buffers between devices, effectively chaining them to form
video pipelines. An example of this could be a video decoder, fed with video
stream which returns raw frames, which then have to be postprocessed by another
device and displayed. This is the main scenario we need to have for our S3C/S5P
series SoCs. Of course, we'd like zero-copy.

3. Allow using more than one buffer by the device at the same time. This is not
supported by videobuffer (e.g. we have to choose on which buffer we'd like
to sleep, and we do not always know that). This is not really a requirement
from the V4L2 API point of view, but has direct influence on how poll() and
blocking I/O works.

4. Multiplanar buffers. Our devices require them (see the RFC for more details:

5. Solve problems with cache coherency on non-x86 architectures, especially in
videobuf for OUTPUT buffers. We need to flush the cache before starting the

6. Reduce buffer queuing latency, e.g.: move operations such as locking, out
of qbuf.
Applications would like to queue a buffer and be able to fire up the device
as fast as possible.

7. Large buffer allocations, buffer preallocation, etc.

1. After a detailed discussion, we agreed in:
that we'd like the application to be able to queue/dequeue both OUTPUT (as 
and CAPTURE (as destination) buffers on one video node. Activating the device
(after streamon) would take effect only if there are both types of buffers 
available. The application would put source data into OUTPUT buffers and expect
to find it processed in dequeued CAPTURE buffers. Addressed by mem2mem 

2. I don't see anything to do here from the API's point of view. The application
would open two video nodes, e.g. video decoder and video postprocessor and queue
buffers dequeued from decoder on the postprocessor. To get the best performance,
this requires the buffers to be marked as non cached somehow to avoid unneeded
cache syncs.

3. Mem2mem addresses this partially by adding a "transaction" concept. It's
not bullet-proof though, as it assumes the buffers will be returned in the same
order as passed. Some videobuffer limitations will have to be addressed here.

4. See my RFC. Patches in progress. 

5. We have narrowed it down to an additional sync() before the operation
(i.e. in qbuf), but more issues may exist here. I have already added sync()
support for qbuf with minimal changes to videobuf and will be posting the
proposal soon. This also requires identifying the direction of the sync, but
we have found a way to do this without adding anything new (videobuf flags
are enough).

6. Later. We haven't done anything in this field.

7. We use our own allocator (see
http://thread.gmane.org/gmane.linux.ports.arm.kernel/56879), but we have a new
concept for that which we'd like to discuss separately later. 

> Note that I would suggest though that the memory-pool part is split into two
> parts: how to actually allocate the memory is pretty much separate from how 
> v4l
> will use it. The actual allocation part is probably quite complex and might
> even be hardware dependent and should be discussed separately. But how to use
> it is something that can be discussed without needing to know how it was
> allocated.

Exactly, this is the approach we have assumed right now. We'd like to introduce
each part of the infrastructure incrementally. The plan was to do exactly as 
you said: leave the allocator-specific parts for later and for a separate
We intend to follow with multi-planar buffers and then to focus on dma-contig,
as this is what our hardware requires.

> BTW, what is the status of the multiplanar RFC? I later realized that that RFC
> might be very useful for adding meta-data to buffers. There are several cases
> where that is useful: sensors that provide meta-data when capturing a frame 
> and
> imagepipelines (particularly in memory-to-memory cases) that want to have all
> parameters as part of the meta-data associated with the image. There may well
> be more of those.

This got pushed back but now after m2m, it's become next task on my list. I
expect to be posting patches in a week or two, hopefully.
I understand that you'd like to make the pointer in the union and the helper
struct more generic to use it to pass different types of information? 

Best regards
Pawel Osciak
Linux Platform Group
Samsung Poland R&D Center

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