Re: [PATCH 00/10] Enhance /dev/mem to allow read/write of arbitraryphysical addresses

From: Ingo Molnar
Date: Fri Jun 17 2011 - 05:30:58 EST

* Petr Tesarik <ptesarik@xxxxxxx> wrote:

> This patch series enhances /dev/mem, so that read and write is
> possible at any address. The patchset includes actual
> implementation for x86.

This series lacks a description of why this is desired.

My strong opinion is that it's not desired at all: /dev/mem never
worked beyond 4G addresses so by today it has become largely obsolete
and is on the way out really.

I'm aware of these current /dev/mem uses:

- Xorg maps below 4G non-RAM addresses and the video BIOS

- It used to have some debugging role but these days kexec and kgdb
has largely taken over that role - partly due to the 4G limit.

- there's some really horrible out-of-tree drivers that do mmap()s
via /dev/mem, those should be fixed if they want to move beyond
4G: their char device should be mmap()able.

- all distro kernel's i'm aware of use CONFIG_STRICT_DEVMEM=y, which
restricts /dev/mem to non-RAM pages of physical memory.
[ With the sad inclusion of the first 1MB, which Xorg needs. ]

Are you aware of any legitimate usecases?

Frankly, i dont think we ever *want* to 'fix' /dev/mem to support
addresses beyond 4G and grow messy userspace (and kernelspace) that
somehow relies on that. Thank goodness that we never supported it ...


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