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====== Unity patch ====== I (rwcr) have been working on a rather extensive modification of gPXE, to allow images and SAN devices (and eventually files on filesystems) to be treated with more unity. This resolves a great many "ugly hack" comments, makes SAN booting less architecture-dependent, and allows one to SAN-boot ISO images (to name a few possibilities). The cost is a tiny size increase in image code due to an additional layer of indirection, and a more significant size increase in block device code for the same reason. Mainly, though, since this changes rather a lot in the codebase, I want to make sure people understand the patch so they can review it sensibly. :-) ===== Data source abstraction ===== A new abstraction is introduced, that of a "data source" (''struct source''), that can support random access and splitting and blocking of reads. In the case of an image already in memory it reduces to constructions like ''copy_from_user()''; to preserve size (about 800 bytes) in ROM images, it is possible to define ''MEM_SOURCE'' in ''config/general.h'' such that this reduction occurs at compile-time. Normally, though, a layer of indirection in ''core/source.c'' is kept around to support SAN devices and eventually files on a filesystem, which may not be always resident in memory, may have requirements that they are accessed in fixed-size blocks, and may only support reading or writing a certain number of blocks at a time. A data source is an implementation-specific structure (''struct download'', ''struct scsi_device'', etc) that contains a ''struct source'' by value. The containing structure must be reference-counted, and ''source.refcnt'' points to that reference counter. One fills in '''' and optionally ''source.write'' with appropriate functions, optionally defines ''source.blkshift'' and ''source.blkburst'' to restrict the alignment and length of requests they can receive, and sets ''source.len'' to the length of the data source in bytes. After this point, the conceptual data source is passed around as a pointer to the ''struct source'' member; the implementation-specific containing structure can be retrieved with ''container_of()'', and it will automatically be freed when the last reference to its source is dropped. (References taken against the data source increment the reference counter in the containing structure.) Data sources support two additional features. First, they can be //loaded//, to allow for anything that needs the whole source in memory to work with it but doesn't particularly care where in memory it goes. Second, they can be //attached//, using platform-specific handlers to make the contents of the source available (as an emulated disk or otherwise) to a booted operating system. Both INT13 hooks and iBFT/aBFT/sBFT filling are implemented as source attachers. Both loading and attaching can be done recursively, so one can attach a SAN disk, boot from it (which will attach, execute, detach), and if the boot fails, still have the disk attached when gPXE exits; this is a cleaner way of achieving the "keep-san" functionality. One fills in '''' with a user pointer to indicate a source already resident in memory (loading and unloading become a no-op), or sets ''source.loaded'' to a nonzero integer while keeping '''' null to indicate a source that cannot sensibly be loaded in its entirety (e.g. a SAN disk). ===== Changes to downloads ===== Currently, a downloader downloads into an image, and calls a custom function to "register" (or register-and-load, or register-and-execute, or ...) that image if the download succeeds. The entry point for this is ''create_downloader()'', and it is only called by the user-level function ''imgfetch()''. Changes: * A new structure, ''struct download'', acts as a trivial implementation of an image source; it simply serves reads and writes by access to a block of memory. * ''create_downloader()'' downloads into a download structure instead of an image. * The ''image_register'' parameter is consequently dropped; this can be done by the caller. * The downloading abilities of ''imgfetch()'' are separated into a new function, ''download_uri()'', in ''usr/dlmgmt.c''. * Instead of calling ''download_uri()'' directly, ''imgfetch()'' calls ''vfs_fetch_uri()'', which does some magic multiplexing so you can ''imgfetch'' a SAN disk or eventually a file on a filesystem as well as a downloadable URI. The reference to ''vfs_fetch_uri()'' is weak, so unless ''vfs.c'' is linked in by a common feature in the API of SAN protocols and filesystem types, it will reduce to ''download_uri()'' at compile time. ===== Changes to images ===== Currently, image types access the contents of an image by direct reference to the area of user memory at ''image->data'' of length ''image->len''. To support the new data source abstraction, these fields are replaced with a pointer ''image->source'' to a data source. One can access ''image->source->len'' as a direct replacement for ''image->len''; to get at data, one can either use ''source_load()'' and then access ''image->source->data'' (remember to ''source_unload()'' when you're done!) or use {''source_read()'', ''source_read_user()''} instead of {''copy_from_user()'', ''memcpy_user()''} respectively. The latter is preferred, if one remembers it is now possible for these functions to return errors. (In my patch, to save on code expansion, small reads of header structures are not error-checked because an erroneous read will be detected by an invalid signature later on, but reads of the bulk of an image are checked for error return.) A new image API function, ''image_set_source()'', can be used to set or change the data source associated with an image. It handles reference counting properly, and an image releases its reference to its data source when freed. ===== Changes to SAN booting ===== Currently, each SAN boot protocol has three components (example): the block device protocol (''scsi.c''), the networked backend transport (''iscsi.c''), the firmware table creator (''ibft.c''), and the boot glue (''iscsiboot.c''). The latter two are OS-specific, and the boot glue is the entry point; it creates a block device of the appropriate type, calls the networked backend to "attach" it, calls the firmware table creator to fill in data about it, hooks the device via int13h, attempts to boot it, and undoes all of that if keep-san isn't set and the boot fails. This is all rather undesirable, as it involves a lot of code duplication and makes SAN booting inherently platform-specific because that's where its entry point lies. In the new system, SAN booting is not a special case; any data source that looks like a hard disk or CD can be booted, thanks to a new ''bootsector'' image format (a semi-thin wrapper around the existing ''call_bootsector()'') and a generalization of gPXE's ElTorito support. One can ''chain'' or ''imgfetch'' a SAN disk in the same way as a URI, and ''sanboot'' would be identical to ''chain'' were it not for the need to keep support for the ''keep-san'' setting. As such, the boot glue is removed entirely in the unity patch. The firmware table creator is extended with a small glue function to make it work as a data source attacher, so SAN protocol code need not know about its existence directly; this allows the SAN code to remain platform-independent. The block device protocol provides a data source interface instead of a ''struct blockdev'' interface (''blockdev'' and ''ramdisk'' are both done away with) and the network backend transport provides a VFS binding (see below) to continue the existing URI-like syntax for lookups. To be continued...

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