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Subject[PATCH v9 20/21] Documentation: ACPI for ARM64
From: Graeme Gregory <>

Add documentation for the guidelines of how to use ACPI
on ARM64.

Reviewed-by: Suravee Suthikulpanit <>
Reviewed-by: Yi Li <>
Reviewed-by: Mark Langsdorf <>
Reviewed-by: Ashwin Chaugule <>
Acked-by: Robert Richter <>
Signed-off-by: Graeme Gregory <>
Signed-off-by: Al Stone <>
Signed-off-by: Hanjun Guo <>
Documentation/arm64/arm-acpi.txt | 506 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
1 file changed, 506 insertions(+)
create mode 100644 Documentation/arm64/arm-acpi.txt

diff --git a/Documentation/arm64/arm-acpi.txt b/Documentation/arm64/arm-acpi.txt
new file mode 100644
index 0000000..24cf832
--- /dev/null
+++ b/Documentation/arm64/arm-acpi.txt
@@ -0,0 +1,506 @@
+ACPI on ARMv8 Servers
+ACPI can be used for ARMv8 general purpose servers designed to follow
+the ARM SBSA (Server Base System Architecture) [0] and SBBR (Server
+Base Boot Requirements) [1] specifications. Please note that the SBBR
+can be retrieved simply by visiting [1], but the SBSA is currently only
+available to those with an ARM login due to ARM IP licensing concerns.
+The ARMv8 kernel implements the reduced hardware model of ACPI version
+5.1 or later. Links to the specification and all external documents
+it refers to are managed by the UEFI Forum. The specification is
+available at and documents referenced
+by the specification can be found via
+If an ARMv8 system does not meet the requirements of the SBSA and SBBR,
+or cannot be described using the mechanisms defined in the required ACPI
+specifications, then ACPI may not be a good fit for the hardware.
+While the documents mentioned above set out the requirements for building
+industry-standard ARMv8 servers, they also apply to more than one operating
+system. The purpose of this document is to describe the interaction between
+ACPI and Linux only, on an ARMv8 system -- that is, what Linux expects of
+ACPI and what ACPI can expect of Linux.
+Why ACPI on ARM?
+Before examining the details of the interface between ACPI and Linux, it is
+useful to understand why ACPI is being used. Several technologies already
+exist in Linux for describing non-enumerable hardware, after all. In this
+section we summarize a blog post [2] from Grant Likely that outlines the
+reasoning behind ACPI on ARMv8 servers. Actually, we snitch a good portion
+of the summary text almost directly, to be honest.
+The short form of the rationale for ACPI on ARM is:
+-- ACPI’s bytecode (AML) allows the platform to encode hardware behavior,
+ while DT explicitly does not support this. For hardware vendors, being
+ able to encode behavior is a key tool used in supporting operating
+ system releases on new hardware.
+-- ACPI’s OSPM defines a power management model that constrains what the
+ platform is allowed to do into a specific model, while still providing
+ flexibility in hardware design.
+-- In the enterprise server environment, ACPI has established bindings (such
+ as for RAS) which are currently used in production systems. DT does not.
+ Such bindings could be defined in DT at some point, but doing so means ARM
+ and x86 would end up using completely different code paths in both firmware
+ and the kernel.
+-- Choosing a single interface to describe the abstraction between a platform
+ and an OS is important. Hardware vendors would not be required to implement
+ both DT and ACPI if they want to support multiple operating systems. And,
+ agreeing on a single interface instead of being fragmented into per OS
+ interfaces makes for better interoperability overall.
+-- The new ACPI governance process works well and Linux is now at the same
+ table as hardware vendors and other OS vendors. In fact, there is no
+ longer any reason to feel that ACPI is only belongs to Windows or that
+ Linux is in any way secondary to Microsoft in this arena. The move of
+ ACPI governance into the UEFI forum has significantly opened up the
+ specification development process, and currently, a large portion of the
+ changes being made to ACPI is being driven by Linux.
+Key to the use of ACPI is the support model. For servers in general, the
+responsibility for hardware behaviour cannot solely be the domain of the
+kernel, but rather must be split between the platform and the kernel, in
+order to allow for orderly change over time. ACPI frees the OS from needing
+to understand all the minute details of the hardware so that the OS doesn’t
+need to be ported to each and every device individually. It allows the
+hardware vendors to take responsibility for power management behaviour without
+depending on an OS release cycle which is not under their control.
+ACPI is also important because hardware and OS vendors have already worked
+out the mechanisms for supporting a general purpose computing ecosystem. The
+infrastructure is in place, the bindings are in place, and the processes are
+in place. DT does exactly what Linux needs it to when working with vertically
+integrated devices, but there are no good processes for supporting what the
+server vendors need. Linux could potentially get there with DT, but doing so
+really just duplicates something that already works. ACPI already does what
+the hardware vendors need, Microsoft won’t collaborate on DT, and hardware
+vendors would still end up providing two completely separate firmware
+interfaces -- one for Linux and one for Windows.
+Kernel Compatibility
+One of the primary motivations for ACPI is standardization, and using that
+to provide backward compatibility for Linux kernels. In the server market,
+software and hardware are often used for long periods. ACPI allows the
+kernel and firmware to agree on a consistent abstraction that can be
+maintained over time, even as hardware or software change. As long as the
+abstraction is supported, systems can be updated without necessarily having
+to replace the kernel.
+When a Linux driver or subsystem is first implemented using ACPI, it by
+definition ends up requiring a specific version of the ACPI specification
+-- it's baseline. ACPI firmware must continue to work, even though it may
+not be optimal, with the earliest kernel version that first provides support
+for that baseline version of ACPI. There may be a need for additional drivers,
+but adding new functionality (e.g., CPU power management) should not break
+older kernel versions. Further, ACPI firmware must also work with the most
+recent version of the kernel.
+Relationship with Device Tree
+ACPI support in drivers and subsystems for ARMv8 should never be mutually
+exclusive with DT support at compile time.
+At boot time the kernel will only use one description method depending on
+parameters passed from the bootloader (including kernel bootargs).
+Regardless of whether DT or ACPI is used, the kernel must always be capable
+of booting with either scheme (in kernels with both schemes enabled at compile
+Booting using ACPI tables
+The only defined method for passing ACPI tables to the kernel on ARMv8
+is via the UEFI system configuration table. Just so it is explicit, this
+means that ACPI is only supported on platforms that boot via UEFI.
+When an ARMv8 system boots, it can either have DT information, ACPI tables,
+or in some very unusual cases, both. If no command line parameters are used,
+the kernel will try to use DT for device enumeration; if there is no DT
+present, the kernel will try to use ACPI tables, but only if they are present.
+In neither is available, the kernel will not boot. If acpi=force is used
+on the command line, the kernel will attempt to use ACPI tables first, but
+fall back to DT if there are no ACPI tables present. The basic idea is that
+the kernel will not fail to boot unless it absolutely has no other choice.
+Processing of ACPI tables may be disabled by passing acpi=off on the kernel
+command line; this is the default behavior.
+In order for the kernel to load and use ACPI tables, the UEFI implementation
+MUST set the ACPI_20_TABLE_GUID to point to the RSDP table (the table with
+the ACPI signature "RSD PTR "). If this pointer is incorrect and acpi=force
+is used, the kernel will disable ACPI and try to use DT to boot instead; the
+kernel has, in effect, determined that ACPI tables are not present at that
+If the pointer to the RSDP table is correct, the table will be mapped into
+the kernel by the ACPI core, using the address provided by UEFI.
+The ACPI core will then locate and map in all other ACPI tables provided by
+using the addresses in the RSDP table to find the XSDT (eXtended System
+Description Table). The XSDT in turn provides the addresses to all other
+ACPI tables provided by the system firmware; the ACPI core will then traverse
+this table and map in the tables listed.
+The ACPI core will ignore any provided RSDT (Root System Description Table).
+RSDTs have been deprecated and are ignored on arm64 since they only allow
+for 32-bit addresses.
+Further, the ACPI core will only use the 64-bit address fields in the FADT
+(Fixed ACPI Description Table). Any 32-bit address fields in the FADT will
+be ignored on arm64.
+Hardware reduced mode (see Section 4.1 of the ACPI 5.1 specification) will
+be enforced by the ACPI core on arm64. Doing so allows the ACPI core to
+run less complex code since it no longer has to provide support for legacy
+hardware from other architectures. Any fields that are not to be used for
+hardware reduced mode must be set to zero.
+For the ACPI core to operate properly, and in turn provide the information
+the kernel needs to configure devices, it expects to find the following
+tables (all section numbers refer to the ACPI 5.1 specfication):
+ -- RSDP (Root System Description Pointer), section 5.2.5
+ -- XSDT (eXtended System Description Table), section 5.2.8
+ -- FADT (Fixed ACPI Description Table), section 5.2.9
+ -- DSDT (Differentiated System Description Table), section
+ -- MADT (Multiple APIC Description Table), section 5.2.12
+ -- GTDT (Generic Timer Description Table), section 5.2.24
+ -- If PCI is supported, the MCFG (Memory mapped ConFiGuration
+ Table), section 5.2.6, specifically Table 5-31.
+If the above tables are not all present, the kernel may or may not be
+able to boot properly since it may not be able to configure all of the
+devices available.
+ACPI Detection
+Drivers should determine their probe() type by checking for a null
+value for ACPI_HANDLE, or checking .of_node, or other information in
+the device structure. This is detailed further in the "Driver
+Recommendations" section.
+In non-driver code, if the presence of ACPI needs to be detected at
+runtime, then check the value of acpi_disabled. If CONFIG_ACPI is not
+set, acpi_disabled will always be 1.
+Device Enumeration
+Device descriptions in ACPI should use standard recognized ACPI interfaces.
+These may contain less information than is typically provided via a Device
+Tree description for the same device. This is also one of the reasons that
+ACPI can be useful -- the driver takes into account that it may have less
+detailed information about the device and uses sensible defaults instead.
+If done properly in the driver, the hardware can change and improve over
+time without the driver having to change at all.
+Clocks provide an excellent example. In DT, clocks need to be specified
+and the drivers need to take them into account. In ACPI, the assumption
+is that UEFI will leave the device in a reasonable default state, including
+any clock settings. If for some reason the driver needs to change a clock
+value, this can be done in an ACPI method; all the driver needs to do is
+invoke the method and not concern itself with what the method needs to do
+to change the clock. Changing the hardware can then take place over time
+by changing what the ACPI method does, and not the driver.
+In DT, the parameters needed by the driver to set up clocks as in the example
+above are known as "bindings"; in ACPI, these are known as "Device Properties"
+and provided to a driver via the _DSD object.
+ACPI tables are described with a formal language called ASL, the ACPI
+Source Language (section 19 of the specification). This means that there
+are always multiple ways to describe the same thing -- including device
+properties. For example, device properties could use an ASL construct
+that looks like this: Name(KEY0, "value0"). An ACPI device driver would
+then retrieve the value of the property by evaluating the KEY0 object.
+However, using Name() this way has multiple problems: (1) ACPI limits
+names ("KEY0") to four characters unlike DT; (2) there is no industry
+wide registry that maintains a list of names, minimzing re-use; (3)
+there is also no registry for the definition of property values ("value0"),
+again making re-use difficult; and (4) how does one maintain backward
+compatibility as new hardware comes out? The _DSD method was created
+to solve precisely these sorts of problems; Linux drivers should ALWAYS
+use the _DSD method for device properties and nothing else.
+The _DSM object (ACPI Section 9.14.1) could also be used for conveying
+device properties to a driver. Linux drivers should only expect it to
+be used if _DSD cannot represent the data required, and there is no way
+to create a new UUID for the _DSD object. Note that there is even less
+regulation of the use of _DSM than there is of _DSD. Drivers that depend
+on the contents of _DSM objects will be more difficult to maintain over
+time because of this; as of this writing, the use of _DSM is the cause
+of quite a few firmware problems and is not recommended.
+Drivers should look for device properties in the _DSD object ONLY; the _DSD
+object is described in the ACPI specification section 6.2.5, but this only
+describes how to define the structure of an object returned via _DSD, and
+how specific data structures are defined by specific UUIDs. Linux should
+only use the _DSD Device Properties UUID [5]:
+ -- UUID: daffd814-6eba-4d8c-8a91-bc9bbf4aa301
+ --
+The UEFI Forum provides a mechanism for registering device properties [4]
+so that they may be used across all operating systems supporting ACPI.
+Device properties that have not been registered with the UEFI Forum should
+not be used.
+Before creating new device properties, check to be sure that they have not
+been defined before and either registered in the Linux kernel documentation
+as DT bindings, or the UEFI Forum as device properties. While we do not want
+to simply move all DT bindings into ACPI device properties, we can learn from
+what has been previously defined.
+If it is necessary to define a new device property, or if it makes sense to
+synthesize the definition of a binding so it can be used in any firmware,
+both DT bindings and ACPI device properties for device drivers have review
+processes. Use them both. When the driver itself is submitted for review
+to the Linux mailing lists, the device property definitions needed must be
+submitted at the same time. A driver that supports ACPI and uses device
+properties will not be considered complete without their definitions. Once
+the device property has been accepted by the Linux community, it must be
+registered with the UEFI Forum [4], which will review it again for consistency
+within the registry. This may require iteration. The UEFI Forum, though,
+will always be the canonical site for device property definitions.
+It may make sense to provide notice to the UEFI Forum that there is the
+intent to register a previously unused device property name as a means of
+reserving the name for later use. Other operating system vendors will
+also be submitting registration requests and this may help smooth the
+Once registration and review have been completed, the kernel provides an
+interface for looking up device properties in a manner independent of
+whether DT or ACPI is being used. This API should be used [6]; it can
+eliminate some duplication of code paths in driver probing functions and
+discourage divergence between DT bindings and ACPI device properties.
+Programmable Power Control Resources
+Programmable power control resources include such resources as voltage/current
+providers (regulators) and clock sources.
+With ACPI, the kernel clock and regulator framework is not expected to be used
+at all.
+The kernel assumes that power control of these resources is represented with
+Power Resource Objects (ACPI section 7.1). The ACPI core will then handle
+correctly enabling and disabling resources as they are needed. In order to
+get that to work, ACPI assumes each device has defined D-states and that these
+can be controlled through the optional ACPI methods _PS0, _PS1, _PS2, and _PS3;
+in ACPI, _PS0 is the method to invoke to turn a device full on, and _PS3 is for
+turning a device full off.
+There are two options for using those Power Resources. They can:
+ -- be managed in a _PSx method which gets called on entry to power
+ state Dx.
+ -- be declared separately as power resources with their own _ON and _OFF
+ methods. They are then tied back to D-states for a particular device
+ via _PRx which specifies which power resources a device needs to be on
+ while in Dx. Kernel then tracks number of devices using a power resource
+ and calls _ON/_OFF as needed.
+The kernel ACPI code will also assume that the _PSx methods follow the normal
+ACPI rules for such methods:
+ -- If either _PS0 or _PS3 is implemented, then the other method must also
+ be implemented.
+ -- If a device requires usage or setup of a power resource when on, the ASL
+ should organize that it is allocated/enabled using the _PS0 method.
+ -- Resources allocated or enabled in the _PS0 method should be disabled
+ or de-allocated in the _PS3 method.
+ -- Firmware will leave the resources in a reasonable state before handing
+ over control to the kernel.
+Such code in _PSx methods will of course be very platform specific. But,
+this allows the driver to abstract out the interface for operating the device
+and avoid having to read special non-standard values from ACPI tables. Further,
+abstracting the use of these resources allows the hardware to change over time
+without requiring updates to the driver.
+ACPI makes the assumption that clocks are initialized by the firmware --
+UEFI, in this case -- to some working value before control is handed over
+to the kernel. This has implications for devices such as UARTs, or SoC-driven
+LCD displays, for example.
+When the kernel boots, the clocks are assumed to be set to reasonable
+working values. If for some reason the frequency needs to change -- e.g.,
+throttling for power management -- the device driver should expect that
+process to be abstracted out into some ACPI method that can be invoked
+(please see the ACPI specification for further recommendations on standard
+methods to be expected). The only exceptions to this are CPU clocks where
+CPPC provides a much richer interface than ACPI methods. If the clocks
+are not set, there is no direct way for Linux to control them.
+If an SoC vendor wants to provide fine-grained control of the system clocks,
+they could do so by providing ACPI methods that could be invoked by Linux
+drivers. However, this is NOT recommended and Linux drivers should NOT use
+such methods, even if they are provided. Such methods are not currently
+standardized in the ACPI specification, and using them could tie a kernel
+to a very specific SoC, or tie an SoC to a very specific version of the
+kernel, both of which we are trying to avoid.
+Driver Recommendations
+DO NOT remove any DT handling when adding ACPI support for a driver. The
+same device may be used on many different systems.
+DO try to structure the driver so that it is data-driven. That is, set up
+a struct containing internal per-device state based on defaults and whatever
+else must be discovered by the driver probe function. Then, have the rest
+of the driver operate off of the contents of that struct. Doing so should
+allow most divergence between ACPI and DT functionality to be kept local to
+the probe function instead of being scattered throughout the driver. For
+static int device_probe_dt(struct platform_device *pdev)
+ /* DT specific functionality */
+ ...
+static int device_probe_acpi(struct platform_device *pdev)
+ /* ACPI specific functionality */
+ ...
+static int device_probe(struct platform_device *pdev)
+ ...
+ struct device_node node = pdev->dev.of_node;
+ ...
+ if (node)
+ ret = device_probe_dt(pdev);
+ else if (ACPI_HANDLE(&pdev->dev))
+ ret = device_probe_acpi(pdev);
+ else
+ /* other initialization */
+ ...
+ /* Continue with any generic probe operations */
+ ...
+DO keep the MODULE_DEVICE_TABLE entries together in the driver to make it
+clear the different names the driver is probed for, both from DT and from
+static struct of_device_id virtio_mmio_match[] = {
+ { .compatible = "virtio,mmio", },
+ { }
+MODULE_DEVICE_TABLE(of, virtio_mmio_match);
+static const struct acpi_device_id virtio_mmio_acpi_match[] = {
+ { "LNRO0005", },
+ { }
+MODULE_DEVICE_TABLE(acpi, virtio_mmio_acpi_match);
+The ACPI specification changes regularly. During the year 2014, for instance,
+version 5.1 was released and version 6.0 substantially completed, with most of
+the changes being driven by ARM-specific requirements. Proposed changes are
+presented and discussed in the ASWG (ACPI Specification Working Group) which
+is a part of the UEFI Forum.
+Participation in this group is open to all UEFI members. Please see
+ for details on group membership.
+It is the intent of the ARMv8 ACPI kernel code to follow the ACPI specification
+as closely as possible, and to only implement functionality that complies with
+the released standards from UEFI ASWG. As a practical matter, there will be
+vendors that provide bad ACPI tables or violate the standards in some way.
+If this is because of errors, quirks and fixups may be necessary, but will
+be avoided if possible. If there are features missing from ACPI that preclude
+it from being used on a platform, ECRs (Engineering Change Requests) should be
+submitted to ASWG and go through the normal approval process; for those that
+are not UEFI members, many other members of the Linux community are and would
+likely be willing to assist in submitting ECRs.
+Linux Code
+Individual items specific to Linux on ARM, contained in the the Linux
+source code, are in the list that follows:
+ACPI_OS_NAME This macro defines the string to be returned when
+ an ACPI method invokes the _OS method. On ARM64
+ systems, this macro will be "Linux" by default.
+ The command line parameter acpi_os=<string>
+ can be used to set it to some other value. The
+ default value for other architectures is "Microsoft
+ Windows NT", for example.
+ACPI Objects
+Detailed expectations for ACPI tables and object are listed in the file
+[0] -- document ARM-DEN-0029, or newer
+ "Server Base System Architecture", version 2.3, dated 27 Mar 2014
+ Document ARM-DEN-0044A, or newer: "Server Base Boot Requirements, System
+ Software on ARM Platforms", dated 16 Aug 2014
+[2], 10 Jan 2015, Copyright (c) 2015,
+ Linaro Ltd., written by Grant Likely. A copy of the verbatim text (apart
+ from formatting) is also in Documentation/arm64/why_use_acpi.txt.
+[3] AMD ACPI for Seattle platform documentation:
+[4] -- please see the link for the "ACPI _DSD Device
+ Property Registry Instructions"
+[5] -- please see the link for the "_DSD (Device
+ Specific Data) Implementation Guide"
+[6] Kernel code for the unified device property interface can be found in
+ include/linux/property.h and drivers/base/property.c.
+Al Stone <>
+Graeme Gregory <>
+Hanjun Guo <>
+Grant Likely <>, for the "Why ACPI on ARM?" section

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