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[Qemu-devel] Background to Yong Ji's patch

From: Paul Mackerras
Subject: [Qemu-devel] Background to Yong Ji's patch
Date: Wed, 22 Feb 2017 16:25:11 +1100
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.24 (2015-08-30)

I thought it might help to explain some more of the background to Yong
Ji's recent patch "memory: make ram device read/write endian
sensitive".  I don't know whether that patch touches the right code or
not, but with a bit more background, maybe somebody can tell us what
code does need to be fixed.

This patch fixes an issue with passing through a Chelsio 10Gb network
adapter to a guest on POWER8.  The host is running a recent upstream
kernel plus a patch from Yong Ji to align PCI BARs to the system page
size.  The guest is running Ubuntu 16.04.  Both host and guest are

A critical factor here is QEMU commit 95251725, also from Yong Ji.  If
the guest is run using a qemu from the parent of that commit, it works
properly.  With a qemu built from 95251725, or a qemu built from v2.8,
it doesn't work.

The problem in the failing case boils down to MMIO reads from BAR 0 of
the device coming back byte-swapped.

In each case, BAR 0 starts out page-aligned in the host, but the guest
reassigns it to a non-page-aligned address.  That means that the guest
doesn't access the device registers in BAR 0 directly; instead the
MMIO accesses are emulated by QEMU.

Before 95251725, it seems that QEMU never attempts to make the BAR
directly accessible (I think because the BAR is smaller than a page).
With 95251725, I believe QEMU initially makes the BAR directly
accessible, and then when the guest changes the BAR address to a
non-page-aligned value, QEMU switches it back to emulation.  The
emulation in this case must be using a different code path from the
emulation that was being done prior to 95251725, since we get
byte-swapped values in this case but not the prior case.

Then, with 95251725 plus the recent patch from Yong Ji, the values
read from BAR 0 are no longer byte-swapped, and the driver works

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