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Re: [Qemu-devel] Configuring pflash devices for OVMF firmware

From: Laszlo Ersek
Subject: Re: [Qemu-devel] Configuring pflash devices for OVMF firmware
Date: Thu, 7 Feb 2019 13:31:13 +0100
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:52.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/52.9.1

Hi Markus,

On 02/07/19 10:30, Markus Armbruster wrote:
> The thread got long, let me try to summarize, and elaborate a few
> points.
> * The problem at hand is configuring firmware residing in flash memory
>   (OVMF requires this) without legacy -drive.
> * The wider problem is configuring onboard devices.  Our general device
>   configuration interface doesn't cover them.  Instead, we have a zoo of
>   ad hoc interfaces that are much more limited.  Some of them we'd
>   rather deprecate (-drive, -net), but can't until we have a suitable
>   replacements.
>   I think a board should be a composite object that exposes properties
>   of its own and its parts, just like other composite devices, so that
>   "create, set properties, realize" just works.  That would extend our
>   common device configuration mechanism naturally to onboard devices.
>   A PC board's flash memory device would be just another part.  It could
>   be something like /machine/q35/cfi.pflash01/ in the QOM tree.  To
>   configure it, you'd set its properties, such as
>   /machine/q35/cfi.pflash01/drive.
>   Note that this requires a way to set an existing device's properties.
>   Perhaps qom-set already works.
> * While I do believe we should tackle the wider problem, I'd rather not
>   sit on the narrow problem until we crack it.  So, what can we do about
>   it?
>   - Paolo proposed to add block backend properties to the PC machine,
>     settable like -machine pflash0=BLOCK-BACKEND.
>     Possible drawback: if we add /machine/q35/pflash0 to the QOM tree
>     now, and later replace it by /machine/q35/cfi.pflash01/drive, we'll
>     have to deal with yet another machine type variation.  We'll live.
>   - I proposed to sidestep our onboard device configuration problem by
>     adding the cfi.pflash01 devices with our existing general device
>     configuration interface: -device.  Possible since the onboard
>     cfi.pflash01 devices are optional.  Requires a small extension to
>     the firmware descriptors, and a bit of extra work in libvirt to
>     process that extension.  I think it's workable, but Paolo's idea is
>     simpler.
>   I can give Paolo's idea a try.  Objections?
> * A flash device supporting multiple regions is desirable, because it's
>   what physical hardware has.  We currently use multiple flash devices
>   instead.  We'll be stuck with them for existing machine types due to
>   guest ABI and migration compatibility.
> * cfi.pflash01 currently requires users to opt out of "bad, do not use".
>   It should require opt in, to guard against accidental new uses of
>   "bad".
> PS: Big thanks to László, whose patient guidance helped me map this part
> of the jungle.

I've read the above carefully.

At the QEMU design level, I don't have any opinion or preference; there
I simply don't know enough -- and don't suffer from bad decisions enough
-- to make sensible comments.

Regarding the choice betwen "-machine pflash0=BLOCK-BACKEND" and
"-device pflash": I don't object to exploring the former first.

I'd just like to note that "-machine pflash0=BLOCK-BACKEND" will also
require changes to the firmware descriptor schema. Not to the types that
the schema defines -- and therefore concrete descriptor *documents* that
already conform to the schema wouldn't be affected --, but to the
documentation that the schema directs at management applications.

The schema is supposed to specify (in the documentation) QEMU command
line options for management applications. If we add "-machine
pflash0=BLOCK-BACKEND", then even if the types in the schema stay the
same, some mappings to the QEMU cmdline will have to be re-documented.

Of course, that's still easier / less intrusive than changing the types!
... Which does make me prefer "-machine pflash0=BLOCK-BACKEND", if I'm
being honest.

(I hope my followup isn't totally useless. I certainly didn't want to
ignore your summary.)


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