Re: [PATCH] Input: Support for a less exclusive grab.

From: Ryan Lortie
Date: Fri Sep 28 2007 - 23:39:54 EST

On Tue, 2007-03-07 at 12:45 -0400, Zephaniah E. Hull wrote:
> We just want a more flexible approach then what we are already using[0].
> I'll see about writing something up when I get back to my computers[1]
> and have things set back up[2].
> Zephaniah E. Hull.
> 1: The night of the 10th.
> 2: It could be a few days after I get back.


I have been working on a more flexible system for blocking the delivery
of input events to other agents in the system.

My approach is basically summed up as follows:

- split the current purpose of input_handle into two parts

- input_handle continues to exist as a mechanism for tracking which
handlers are currently interested in a particular device

- a new input_client now exists as a mechanism for tracking
tracking who is interested in having events delivered from a
particular device.

As an example, for evdev, one input_handle will exist per event
device in /dev/input and one input_client will exist per open().

- cause input events to be delivered to 'clients' (ie: first argument
is an input_client instead of input_handle)

- add a concept of 'priority'

- the new input_client structure has a priority field

- the list of input_client's per device is kept sorted by this field

- add the ability for the handler 'event' function to block further
event propagation. This is done by making the handler return 'int'
instead of 'void'. 0: continue normally. 1: stop.

- add "set priority" ioctl to evdev

- add "set requested keys" ioctl to evdev.

This causes delivery of only certain keycodes to this particular
open(). I have no particular interest in doing this sort of masking
for other (non-key) events but maybe it makes sense.

- add "set filter" ioctl to evdev.

This causes any "requested keys" to be consumed and not further
delivered (ie: the event handler for this client will return 1).

- also, as a small style issue: I made what I believe to be a
simplification to the switch() statement in the evdev ioctl code.
Whether this is actually a simplification or not is a matter of
opinion. :)

- port the non-evdev handlers (including rfkill) to the new
handler/client interface in the most trivial way possible: open the
input_client in the places where the old code used to call open with
the input_handler.

The motivation is to allow arbitrary things in user-space to have a rich
support over blocking (possibly a select set of) key events from being
delivered to anything below a certain 'priority'.

I believe this will solve the problem of X wanting to block key delivery
to the VT module while still allowing the events to go through to rfkill
(which presumably will be given a higher priority).

This will also allow hal's "multimedia key" reporting code to be
improved in two ways: first, it can block the multimedia keys from being
delivered to X (and causing weird ^[[29~ things to appear in my
terminals) and second, it results in hal only waking up when an
"interesting key" is pressed (currently it wakes up on every single

I have written a patch. It is "over 40kb" so I don't include it
directly here. It is available in its full form (or broken up) at this

This patch is not being proposed for inclusion in its current state. In
addition to the many problems that I'm sure I don't even realise, here
are some that I would specifically like feedback on:

- how should we decide what gets what priority level?

- is it appropriate to have INPUT_PRIORITY_HIGH/LOW/SYSTEM/DEBUG, etc.
macros in input.h?

- why did the old code call flush() on the device before closing when
disconnecting? It seems particularly silly now that with my patch
it will be called n times (one for each client)

- how are switches supposed to be indented? the "checkpatch" script
in the kernel complained about my style despite following what was
already in that file.

- I haven't tested on big endian or "compat" systems at all. As far
as I know, the relevant code doesn't even compile. Help here is
appreciated (I don't have such a machine!).

- there is small thread-safety issue with how I handle EVIOCSRKEYS on
defined(CONFIG_COMPAT) && defined(__BIG_ENDIAN). If events are
delivered after the copy_from_user but before the word-swapping then
events may be inappropriately dropped or delivered. Do we care?

Ultimately, I'd very much like this to make it into 2.6.24 and I'm
willing to make the necessary changes to see that it happens.


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