On 03/06/2018 05:06 PM, Takashi Iwai wrote:
On Tue, 06 Mar 2018 15:48:53 +0100,
Oleksandr Andrushchenko wrote:
And, now an open question for XEN comes: what kind of restriction
should be applied to the frontend.  Obviously it depends on the
backend, so there must be some communication, and the restriction must
be propagated at open, i.e. *before* actually hw_params is performed.
Could you please give me a hint of what those restrictions
could look like? E.g. map of supported buffer/period sizes, what else?
Heh, that very much depends on the hardware -- and in this case, on
the implementation of the backend.
That is correct, but we try to be backend agnostic, though
Practically seen, the buffer and the period size setups are mandatory,
yes.  Here is the question whether you want to limit them by list
(e.g. read via some XENSND_* protocol), or negotiate the size at each
hw_params setup (e.g. getting only min/max at open, and at each
hw_params call, negotiate with the backend for period and buffer size
changes).
The problem I see here is that at .open real HW driver
already knows its constraints and can properly setup.
So, in our case at open we should already have all the
constraints available to the frontend as well.
That will lead to lots of text in domain configuration file
if propagated via XenStore (e.g. you have to put all possible
combinations of buffers/periods depending on number of
channels, sample rates etc., you cannot use logic here as you can
in a real HW driver, only values). So, such configuration doesn't
seem to be an option here.
It depends.  If we do limit the configuration intentionally to only
some subsets that should suffice for most use cases, then the list
would be relatively short.
Ok, if we go with a limited set of supported buffer/period
sizes (and number of channels?), what could a constraint entry
look like? E.g. [buffer, period, num_channels, xxx]
What is that xxx in question? Sample rate, sample format,
anything else? Or [buffer, period, num_channels, rate, format]
is enough?
The buffer, period, channels, rate and format are the basic
parameters, and that should be enough for 99.9% cases.
Excellent, will use this set as the constraint entry.
Just to clarify for the upcoming Xen sound protocol change:
the values in this constraint are not ALSA specific and
could be used in implementation/OS agnostic Xen protocol.
I am still thinking on having the above sent at run-time with
a new protocol command, which I will call on .open, so I can
apply the constraints where most of the drivers do.
This way backend can also determine its capabilities at run-time
and report those to the frontend, as a bonus eliminating the
need for huge domain configuration file/XenStore entries.
You don't have to list up all combinations of the parameters above at
open time.  For example, declaring min/max of each of them at open
would suffice at first.  (But this min/max might be even unnecessary
if we implement the proper hw constraints.  See below)

The rest fine-tuning is done via the hw constraints...

If we decide to negotiate the parameters, then it can't be done
at .open stage as well, as at this moment we don't know stream
parameters yet, e.g. we don't know the number of channels, PCM
format etc., so we cannot explain to the backend what we want.
Thus, it seems that we need to move the negotiation to .hw_params
callback where stream properties are known. But this leaves the
only option to ask the backend if it can handle the requested
buffer/period and other parameters or not... This is what I do now :(
The additional parameter setup can be done via hw_constraints.  The hw
constraint is basically a function call for each parameter change to
narrow down the range of the given parameter.

snd_pcm_hw_constraint_integer() in the above is just an example.
The actual function to adjust values can be freely written.
Yes, this is clear, the question here mostly was not
*how* to set the constraints, but *where* to get those
... and here comes the hw constraint into the play.

For each parameter change, for example, the frontend just passes the
inquiry to the backend.  The basis of the hw constraint is nothing but
to reduce the range of the given parameter.  It's either interval
(range, used for period/buffer size or sample rate) or the list (for
the format).  When any parameter is changed, ALSA PCM core invokes the
corresponding hw constraint function, and the function reduces the
range.  It's repeated until all parameters are set and settled down.

So, for your driver, the frontend just passes the hw constraint for
each of basic 5 parameters to the backend.  For example, at beginning,
the hw constraint for the buffer size will pass the range (1,INTMAX).
Then the backend returns the range like (1024,65536).   This already
gives users the min/max buffer size information.  The similar
procedure will be done for all other parameters.

In addition, you can put the implicit rule like the integer periods,
which makes things easier.

Thank you very much for such a detailed explanation.
Could you please give me an example of ALSA driver which
code I can read in order to understand how it is supposed
to be used, e.g. which meets the expectations we have for
Xen PV sound driver?
Am I missing something here?
The format, the channels and the sample rate are already included in
snd_pcm_hardware setup, so this should be OK, unless they have
implicit limitations with each other (e.g. some format is available
only under some rate).
Thank you, this should be up to the one who sets up the
domain configuration. Taking into account embedded nature of
our use-cases this is almost always doable, as these are
defined at system design time, e.g. we define number of channels
and their properties depending on domain functionality and needs.
Maybe the channels need to be revisited, though; usually you can't
handle all number of channels between min and max but only even
numbers or such.
But if backend can implement some fancy stuff with software
mixing etc... This is why I didn't limit on that
But if the backend doesn't support fancy numbers like 3 channels?
That's the same situation as buffer / periods.  The frontend needs to
know exactly what configuration the backend would allow.
Ok, did I understand you correctly that you see it as
described above, e.g. backend communicates (limited)
set of constraints to the frontend, so frontend sets
these constraints at .open?
Well, what set at the open time is only the constraint "rule".
And the rule is a function call, not necessarily static.
The actual parameters are determined at hw_params call time, and this
is called even repeatedly.
I need some time to think about all the above ;)
The way these are communicated could be either XenStore/
domain configuration or extension to the protocol, no preference
from your side?
Again, the parameter setup pretty depends on the hardware, and in this
case, the backend (and its communication).


Takashi
Thank you!
Oleksandr

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