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Device Driver Model

Introduction

The Zephyr kernel supports a variety of device drivers. Whether a driver is available depends on the board and the driver.

The Zephyr device model provides a consistent device model for configuring the drivers that are part of a system. The device model is responsible for initializing all the drivers configured into the system.

Each type of driver (e.g. UART, SPI, I2C) is supported by a generic type API.

In this model the driver fills in the pointer to the structure containing the function pointers to its API functions during driver initialization. These structures are placed into the RAM section in initialization level order.

Device Driver Model

Standard Drivers

Device drivers which are present on all supported board configurations are listed below.

  • Interrupt controller: This device driver is used by the kernel’s interrupt management subsystem.

  • Timer: This device driver is used by the kernel’s system clock and hardware clock subsystem.

  • Serial communication: This device driver is used by the kernel’s system console subsystem.

  • Entropy: This device driver provides a source of entropy numbers for the random number generator subsystem.

    Important

    Use the random API functions for random values. Entropy functions should not be directly used as a random number generator source as some hardware implementations are designed to be an entropy seed source for random number generators and will not provide cryptographically secure random number streams.

Synchronous Calls

Zephyr provides a set of device drivers for multiple boards. Each driver should support an interrupt-based implementation, rather than polling, unless the specific hardware does not provide any interrupt.

High-level calls accessed through device-specific APIs, such as i2c.h or spi.h, are usually intended as synchronous. Thus, these calls should be blocking.

Driver APIs

The following APIs for device drivers are provided by device.h. The APIs are intended for use in device drivers only and should not be used in applications.

DEVICE_DEFINE()

Create device object and related data structures including setting it up for boot-time initialization.

DEVICE_AND_API_INIT()

Like DEVICE_DEFINE() but without support for device power management.

DEVICE_INIT()

Like DEVICE_AND_API_INIT() but without providing an API pointer.

DEVICE_NAME_GET()

Converts a device identifier to the global identifier for a device object.

DEVICE_GET()

Obtain a pointer to a device object by name.

DEVICE_DECLARE()

Declare a device object. Use this when you need a forward reference to a device that has not yet been defined.

Driver Data Structures

The device initialization macros populate some data structures at build time which are split into read-only and runtime-mutable parts. At a high level we have:

struct device {
      const char *name;
      const void *config;
      const void *api;
      void * const data;
};

The config member is for read-only configuration data set at build time. For example, base memory mapped IO addresses, IRQ line numbers, or other fixed physical characteristics of the device. This is the config pointer passed to DEVICE_DEFINE() and related macros.

The data struct is kept in RAM, and is used by the driver for per-instance runtime housekeeping. For example, it may contain reference counts, semaphores, scratch buffers, etc.

The api struct maps generic subsystem APIs to the device-specific implementations in the driver. It is typically read-only and populated at build time. The next section describes this in more detail.

Subsystems and API Structures

Most drivers will be implementing a device-independent subsystem API. Applications can simply program to that generic API, and application code is not specific to any particular driver implementation.

A subsystem API definition typically looks like this:

typedef int (*subsystem_do_this_t)(struct device *device, int foo, int bar);
typedef void (*subsystem_do_that_t)(struct device *device, void *baz);

struct subsystem_api {
      subsystem_do_this_t do_this;
      subsystem_do_that_t do_that;
};

static inline int subsystem_do_this(struct device *device, int foo, int bar)
{
      struct subsystem_api *api;

      api = (struct subsystem_api *)device->api;
      return api->do_this(device, foo, bar);
}

static inline void subsystem_do_that(struct device *device, void *baz)
{
      struct subsystem_api *api;

      api = (struct subsystem_api *)device->api;
      api->do_that(device, foo, bar);
}

A driver implementing a particular subsystem will define the real implementation of these APIs, and populate an instance of subsystem_api structure:

static int my_driver_do_this(struct device *device, int foo, int bar)
{
      ...
}

static void my_driver_do_that(struct device *device, void *baz)
{
      ...
}

static struct subsystem_api my_driver_api_funcs = {
      .do_this = my_driver_do_this,
      .do_that = my_driver_do_that
};

The driver would then pass my_driver_api_funcs as the api argument to DEVICE_AND_API_INIT().

Note

Since pointers to the API functions are referenced in the api struct, they will always be included in the binary even if unused; gc-sections linker option will always see at least one reference to them. Providing for link-time size optimizations with driver APIs in most cases requires that the optional feature be controlled by a Kconfig option.

Device-Specific API Extensions

Some devices can be cast as an instance of a driver subsystem such as GPIO, but provide additional functionality that cannot be exposed through the standard API. These devices combine subsystem operations with device-specific APIs, described in a device-specific header.

A device-specific API definition typically looks like this:

#include <drivers/subsystem.h>

/* When extensions need not be invoked from user mode threads */
int specific_do_that(struct device *device, int foo);

/* When extensions must be invokable from user mode threads */
__syscall int specific_from_user(struct device *device, int bar);

/* Only needed when extensions include syscalls */
#include <syscalls/specific.h>

A driver implementing extensions to the subsystem will define the real implementation of both the subsystem API and the specific APIs:

static int generic_do_this(struct device *device, void *arg)
{
   ...
}

static struct generic_api api {
   ...
   .do_this = generic_do_this,
   ...
};

/* supervisor-only API is globally visible */
int specific_do_that(struct device *device, int foo)
{
   ...
}

/* syscall API passes through a translation */
int z_impl_specific_from_user(struct device *device, int bar)
{
   ...
}

#ifdef CONFIG_USERSPACE

#include <syscall_handler.h>

int z_vrfy_specific_from_user(struct device *device, int bar)
{
    Z_OOPS(Z_SYSCALL_SPECIFIC_DRIVER(dev, K_OBJ_DRIVER_GENERIC, &api));
    return z_impl_specific_do_that(device, bar)
}

#include <syscalls/specific_from_user_mrsh.c>

#endif /* CONFIG_USERSPACE */

Applications use the device through both the subsystem and specific APIs.

Note

Public API for device-specific extensions should be prefixed with the compatible for the device to which it applies. For example, if adding special functions to support the Maxim DS3231 the identifier fragment specific in the examples above would be maxim_ds3231.

Single Driver, Multiple Instances

Some drivers may be instantiated multiple times in a given system. For example there can be multiple GPIO banks, or multiple UARTS. Each instance of the driver will have a different config struct and data struct.

Configuring interrupts for multiple drivers instances is a special case. If each instance needs to configure a different interrupt line, this can be accomplished through the use of per-instance configuration functions, since the parameters to IRQ_CONNECT() need to be resolvable at build time.

For example, let’s say we need to configure two instances of my_driver, each with a different interrupt line. In drivers/subsystem/subsystem_my_driver.h:

typedef void (*my_driver_config_irq_t)(struct device *device);

struct my_driver_config {
      DEVICE_MMIO_ROM;
      my_driver_config_irq_t config_func;
};

In the implementation of the common init function:

void my_driver_isr(struct device *device)
{
      /* Handle interrupt */
      ...
}

int my_driver_init(struct device *device)
{
      const struct my_driver_config *config = device->config;

      DEVICE_MMIO_MAP(device, K_MEM_CACHE_NONE);

      /* Do other initialization stuff */
      ...

      config->config_func(device);

      return 0;
}

Then when the particular instance is declared:

#if CONFIG_MY_DRIVER_0

DEVICE_DECLARE(my_driver_0);

static void my_driver_config_irq_0(void)
{
      IRQ_CONNECT(MY_DRIVER_0_IRQ, MY_DRIVER_0_PRI, my_driver_isr,
                  DEVICE_GET(my_driver_0), MY_DRIVER_0_FLAGS);
}

const static struct my_driver_config my_driver_config_0 = {
      DEVICE_MMIO_ROM_INIT(0),
      .config_func = my_driver_config_irq_0
}

static struct my_data_0;

DEVICE_AND_API_INIT(my_driver_0, MY_DRIVER_0_NAME, my_driver_init,
                    &my_data_0, &my_driver_config_0, POST_KERNEL,
                    MY_DRIVER_0_PRIORITY, &my_api_funcs);

#endif /* CONFIG_MY_DRIVER_0 */

Note the use of DEVICE_DECLARE() to avoid a circular dependency on providing the IRQ handler argument and the definition of the device itself.

Initialization Levels

Drivers may depend on other drivers being initialized first, or require the use of kernel services. DEVICE_DEFINE() and related APIs allow the user to specify at what time during the boot sequence the init function will be executed. Any driver will specify one of four initialization levels:

PRE_KERNEL_1

Used for devices that have no dependencies, such as those that rely solely on hardware present in the processor/SOC. These devices cannot use any kernel services during configuration, since the kernel services are not yet available. The interrupt subsystem will be configured however so it’s OK to set up interrupts. Init functions at this level run on the interrupt stack.

PRE_KERNEL_2

Used for devices that rely on the initialization of devices initialized as part of the PRE_KERNEL_1 level. These devices cannot use any kernel services during configuration, since the kernel services are not yet available. Init functions at this level run on the interrupt stack.

POST_KERNEL

Used for devices that require kernel services during configuration. Init functions at this level run in context of the kernel main task.

APPLICATION

Used for application components (i.e. non-kernel components) that need automatic configuration. These devices can use all services provided by the kernel during configuration. Init functions at this level run on the kernel main task.

Within each initialization level you may specify a priority level, relative to other devices in the same initialization level. The priority level is specified as an integer value in the range 0 to 99; lower values indicate earlier initialization. The priority level must be a decimal integer literal without leading zeroes or sign (e.g. 32), or an equivalent symbolic name (e.g. \#define MY_INIT_PRIO 32); symbolic expressions are not permitted (e.g. CONFIG_KERNEL_INIT_PRIORITY_DEFAULT + 5).

Drivers and other system utilities can determine whether startup is still in pre-kernel states by using the k_is_pre_kernel() function.

System Drivers

In some cases you may just need to run a function at boot. Special SYS_* macros exist that map to DEVICE_DEFINE() calls. For SYS_INIT() there are no config or runtime data structures and there isn’t a way to later get a device pointer by name. The same policies for initialization level and priority apply.

For SYS_DEVICE_DEFINE() you can obtain pointers by name, see power management section.

SYS_INIT()

Run an initialization function at boot at specified priority.

SYS_DEVICE_DEFINE()

Like DEVICE_DEFINE() without an API table and constructing the device name from the init function name.

Error handling

In general, it’s best to use __ASSERT() macros instead of propagating return values unless the failure is expected to occur during the normal course of operation (such as a storage device full). Bad parameters, programming errors, consistency checks, pathological/unrecoverable failures, etc., should be handled by assertions.

When it is appropriate to return error conditions for the caller to check, 0 should be returned on success and a POSIX errno.h code returned on failure. See https://github.com/zephyrproject-rtos/zephyr/wiki/Naming-Conventions#return-codes for details about this.

Memory Mapping

On some systems, the linear address of peripheral memory-mapped I/O (MMIO) regions cannot be known at build time:

  • The I/O ranges must be probed at runtime from the bus, such as with PCI express

  • A memory management unit (MMU) is active, and the physical address of the MMIO range must be mapped into the page tables at some virtual memory location determined by the kernel.

These systems must maintain storage for the MMIO range within RAM and establish the mapping within the driver’s init function. Other systems do not care about this and can use MMIO physical addresses directly from DTS and do not need any RAM-based storage for it.

For drivers that may need to deal with this situation, a set of APIs under the DEVICE_MMIO scope are defined, along with a mapping function device_map().

Device Model Drivers with one MMIO region

The simplest case is for drivers which need to maintain one MMIO region. These drivers will need to use the DEVICE_MMIO_ROM and DEVICE_MMIO_RAM macros in the definitions for their config_info and driver_data structures, with initialization of the config_info from DTS using DEVICE_MMIO_ROM_INIT. A call to DEVICE_MMIO_MAP() is made within the init function:

struct my_driver_config {
   DEVICE_MMIO_ROM; /* Must be first */
   ...
}

struct my_driver_dev_data {
   DEVICE_MMIO_RAM; /* Must be first */
   ...
}

const static struct my_driver_config my_driver_config_0 = {
   DEVICE_MMIO_ROM_INIT(DT_INST(...)),
   ...
}

int my_driver_init(struct device *device)
{
   ...
   DEVICE_MMIO_MAP(device, K_MEM_CACHE_NONE);
   ...
}

int my_driver_some_function(struct device *device)
{
   ...
   /* Write some data to the MMIO region */
   sys_write32(DEVICE_MMIO_GET(device), 0xDEADBEEF);
   ...
}

The particular expansion of these macros depends on configuration. On a device with no MMU or PCI-e, DEVICE_MMIO_MAP and DEVICE_MMIO_RAM expand to nothing.

Device Model Drivers with multiple MMIO regions

Some drivers may have multiple MMIO regions. In addition, some drivers may already be implementing a form of inheritance whice requires some other data to be placed first in the config_info and driver_data structures.

This can be managed with the DEVICE_MMIO_NAMED variant macros. These require that DEV_CFG() and DEV_DATA() macros be defined to obtain a properly typed pointer to the driver’s config_info or dev_data structs. For example:

struct my_driver_config {
   ...
     DEVICE_MMIO_NAMED_ROM(courge);
     DEVICE_MMIO_NAMED_ROM(grault);
   ...
}

struct my_driver_dev_data {
        ...
     DEVICE_MMIO_NAMED_RAM(courge);
     DEVICE_MMIO_NAMED_RAM(grault);
     ...
}

#define DEV_CFG(_dev) \
   ((const struct my_driver_config *)((_dev)->config))

#define DEV_DATA(_dev) \
   ((struct my_driver_dev_data *)((_dev)->data))

const static struct my_driver_config my_driver_config_0 = {
   ...
   DEVICE_MMIO_NAMED_ROM_INIT(courge, DT_INST(...)),
   DEVICE_MMIO_NAMED_ROM_INIT(grault, DT_INST(...)),
   ...
}

int my_driver_init(struct device *device)
{
   ...
   DEVICE_MMIO_NAMED_MAP(device, courge, K_MEM_CACHE_NONE);
   DEVICE_MMIO_NAMED_MAP(device, grault, K_MEM_CACHE_NONE);
   ...
}

int my_driver_some_function(struct device *device)
{
   ...
   /* Write some data to the MMIO regions */
   sys_write32(DEVICE_MMIO_GET(device, grault), 0xDEADBEEF);
   sys_write32(DEVICE_MMIO_GET(device, courge), 0xF0CCAC1A);
   ...
}

Drivers that do not use Zephyr Device Model

Some drivers or driver-like code may not user Zephyr’s device model, and alternative storage must be arranged for the MMIO data. An example of this are timer drivers, or interrupt controller code.

This can be managed with the DEVICE_MMIO_TOPLEVEL set of macros, for example:

DEVICE_MMIO_TOPLEVEL_STATIC(my_regs, DT_INST(..));

void some_init_code(...)
{
   ...
   DEVICE_MMIO_TOPLEVEL_MAP(my_regs, K_MEM_CACHE_NONE);
   ...
}

void some_function(...)
   ...
   sys_write32(DEVICE_MMIO_TOPLEVEL_GET(my_regs), 0xDEADBEEF);
   ...
}

Drivers that do not use DTS

Some drivers may not obtain the MMIO physical address from DTS, such as is the case with PCI-E. In this case the device_map() function may be used directly:

void some_init_code(...)
{
   ...
   uintptr_t phys_addr = pcie_get_mbar(...);
   size_t size = ...

   device_map(DEVICE_MMIO_RAM_PTR(dev), phys_addr, size, K_MEM_CACHE_NONE);
   ...
}

For these cases, DEVICE_MMIO_ROM directives may be omitted.

API Reference

group device_model

Device Model APIs.

Defines

DEVICE_NAME_GET(name)

Expands to the full name of a global device object.

Return the full name of a device object symbol created by DEVICE_DEFINE(), using the dev_name provided to DEVICE_DEFINE().

It is meant to be used for declaring extern symbols pointing on device objects before using the DEVICE_GET macro to get the device object.

Return

The expanded name of the device object created by DEVICE_DEFINE()

Parameters
  • name: The same as dev_name provided to DEVICE_DEFINE()

SYS_DEVICE_DEFINE(drv_name, init_fn, pm_control_fn, level, prio)

Run an initialization function at boot at specified priority, and define device PM control function.

Invokes DEVICE_DEFINE() with no power management support (pm_control_fn), no API (api_ptr), and a device name derived from the init_fn name (dev_name).

DEVICE_INIT(dev_name, drv_name, init_fn, data_ptr, cfg_ptr, level, prio)

Invoke DEVICE_DEFINE() with no power management support (pm_control_fn) and no API (api_ptr).

DEVICE_AND_API_INIT(dev_name, drv_name, init_fn, data_ptr, cfg_ptr, level, prio, api_ptr)

Invoke DEVICE_DEFINE() with no power management support (pm_control_fn).

DEVICE_DEFINE(dev_name, drv_name, init_fn, pm_control_fn, data_ptr, cfg_ptr, level, prio, api_ptr)

Create device object and set it up for boot time initialization, with the option to device_pm_control. In case of Device Idle Power Management is enabled, make sure the device is in suspended state after initialization.

This macro defines a device object that is automatically configured by the kernel during system initialization. Note that devices set up with this macro will not be accessible from user mode since the API is not specified; whenever possible, use DEVICE_AND_API_INIT instead.

Parameters
  • dev_name: Device name. This must be less than Z_DEVICE_MAX_NAME_LEN characters in order to be looked up from user mode with device_get_binding().

  • drv_name: The name this instance of the driver exposes to the system.

  • init_fn: Address to the init function of the driver.

  • pm_control_fn: Pointer to device_pm_control function. Can be empty function (device_pm_control_nop) if not implemented.

  • data_ptr: Pointer to the device’s private data.

  • cfg_ptr: The address to the structure containing the configuration information for this instance of the driver.

  • level: The initialization level. See SYS_INIT() for details.

  • prio: Priority within the selected initialization level. See SYS_INIT() for details.

  • api_ptr: Provides an initial pointer to the API function struct used by the driver. Can be NULL.

DEVICE_GET(name)

Obtain a pointer to a device object by name.

Return the address of a device object created by DEVICE_INIT(), using the dev_name provided to DEVICE_INIT().

Return

A pointer to the device object created by DEVICE_INIT()

Parameters
  • name: The same as dev_name provided to DEVICE_INIT()

DEVICE_DECLARE(name)

Declare a static device object.

This macro can be used at the top-level to declare a device, such that DEVICE_GET() may be used before the full declaration in DEVICE_INIT().

This is often useful when configuring interrupts statically in a device’s init or per-instance config function, as the init function itself is required by DEVICE_INIT() and use of DEVICE_GET() inside it creates a circular dependency.

Parameters
  • name: Device name

SYS_INIT(init_fn, level, prio)

Run an initialization function at boot at specified priority.

This macro lets you run a function at system boot.

Parameters
  • init_fn: Pointer to the boot function to run

  • level: The initialization level at which configuration occurs. Must be one of the following symbols, which are listed in the order they are performed by the kernel:

    • PRE_KERNEL_1: Used for initialization objects that have no dependencies, such as those that rely solely on hardware present in the processor/SOC. These objects cannot use any kernel services during configuration, since they are not yet available.

    • PRE_KERNEL_2: Used for initialization objects that rely on objects initialized as part of the PRE_KERNEL_1 level. These objects cannot use any kernel services during configuration, since they are not yet available.

    • POST_KERNEL: Used for initialization objects that require kernel services during configuration.

    • POST_KERNEL_SMP: Used for initialization objects that require kernel services during configuration after SMP initialization.

    • APPLICATION: Used for application components (i.e. non-kernel components) that need automatic configuration. These objects can use all services provided by the kernel during configuration.

  • prio: The initialization priority of the object, relative to other objects of the same initialization level. Specified as an integer value in the range 0 to 99; lower values indicate earlier initialization. Must be a decimal integer literal without leading zeroes or sign (e.g. 32), or an equivalent symbolic name (e.g. #define MY_INIT_PRIO 32); symbolic expressions are not permitted (e.g. CONFIG_KERNEL_INIT_PRIORITY_DEFAULT + 5).

Typedefs

typedef void (*device_pm_cb)(struct device *dev, int status, void *context, void *arg)

Functions

struct device *device_get_binding(const char *name)

Retrieve the device structure for a driver by name.

Device objects are created via the DEVICE_INIT() macro and placed in memory by the linker. If a driver needs to bind to another driver it can use this function to retrieve the device structure of the lower level driver by the name the driver exposes to the system.

Return

pointer to device structure; NULL if not found or cannot be used.

Parameters
  • name: device name to search for.

struct device_pm
#include <device.h>

Device PM info.

struct device
#include <device.h>

Runtime device structure (in memory) per driver instance.