CELF Project Proposal - Device tree support for QEMU system emulation.
For background of CELF project proposals, see:
Integrate a flattened device tree parser into the emulator QEMU, so QEMU can
create board emulations on the fly (at runtime) from the same data files the
Linux kernel uses to attach drivers to hardware.
Currently, the QEMU is emulating system boards via hardwired .c files, which
explicitly set up the resources for each emulation in a separate C function.
In theory, QEMU could parse the same device tree data format the Linux kernel
uses to set up its hardware resources, and then pass hardware resources along
to kernels it invokes through its built-in bootloader (I.E. with the -kernel
option). This could allow new boards to be added to qemu simply by supplying
device tree files at runtime (assuming emulations for the appropriate
peripherals had already been implemented in QEMU).
The Device Tree format is a reasonably generic data file describing hardware
layout. It is documented in the linux kernel source at:
It started as the data structure Open Firmware used to describe supported
hardware to operating systems, and was picked up by bootloaders such as u-
boot. It allows the Linux kernel to parse a generic data structure at boot
time to configure itself for the current hardware layout, instead of hardwiring
board support in individual .c files.
Device trees are created using an ascii format to describe a board layout,
which is converted into a flattened binary representation by dtc (the "device
tree compiler", included in current linux kernel sources in scripts/dtc). A
bootloader supporting device trees loads the flattened device tree into memory
as a binary blob, and passes the linux kernel a pointer to this blob in a
register. The kernel then uses a built-in device tree parser to understand
the board's hardware layout and initialize itself. (Depending on kernel
.config, this information may also be queried from userspace via a /proc
At the device tree BOF at OLS in 2008, a number of developers expressed
interest in extending device tree support to other architectures (such as arm,
mips, and sh4). As a result, device tree development was moved off of the
PowerPC mailing list to its own list, for the purpose of genericizing it to
The Linux MAINTAINERS entry for device tree support is:
OPEN FIRMWARE AND FLATTENED DEVICE TREE
M: Grant Likely <grant.likely@...>
In theory, at some future date the kernel will no longer need hardwired .c
files describing the layout of boards for any of these architectures. Instead
it can have a device tree for each board, which can be statically linked into
the kernel binary if necessary.
If the kenrnel doesn't need board support hardwared in .c files, there's no
reason QEMU needs it either.
Latency is more important than throughput. It's that simple. - Linus Torvalds
Tim Bird <tim.bird@...>
Rob Landley wrote:
For background of CELF project proposals, see:I've created a page for this proposal at:
Architecture Group Chair, CE Linux Forum
Senior Staff Engineer, Sony Corporation of America