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SubjectRe: [GIT PULL] pin control bulk changes for v4.16

On Mon, 5 Feb 2018, Linus Walleij wrote:

> On Mon, Feb 5, 2018 at 10:27 AM, Julia Lawall <> wrote:
> > On Mon, 5 Feb 2018, Linus Walleij wrote:
> >> We definitely need some better tooling to find these things,
> >> using Ingo's head and your occasional frustration is not going to
> >> scale.
> >>
> >> Julia: do you have ideas on tooling that can loosen #include
> >> deps and advise on when to replace #includes with forward
> >> declarations of structs (etc) to bring down rebuild-triggering
> >> dependencies?
> >
> > Could you explain more? Is the point that you want to remove an include
> > but it has one declaration that you need, and so you want to bring it down
> > into the .c file? Would the need for that actually indicate that the
> > include file is designed incorrectly?
> >
> > Can one assume that each include is self contained, ie it includes the
> > things that it needs and does not rely on the .c file having included
> > other things beforehand?
> Usually (in my limited experience, le's see what Ingo and Torvalds
> say) the problem manifests mainly in include files including other
> include files.
> So say <linux/foo.h>:
> #include <linux/bar.h>
> struct foo {
> struct bar *barp;
> };
> Since this is only putting a pointer inside its struct and doesn't
> need the information on the whole structs, as the size of a pointer
> is well known we can reduce it to:
> struct bar;
> struct foo {
> struct bar *barp;
> };
> And thus as <linux/bar.h> is not even included, it can change
> all it wants, our foo.h include file is not affected, neither will
> any driver just casually #including <linux/foo.h> need to be
> rebuilt.
> This type of case (and variations on this theme) is the reason
> we put a bunch of forward-declarations in kernel .h-files
> just to break dependencies to stuff just referenced by pointer.
> There is a counter-pattern saying "files should #include the
> headers prototypes, structs (etc) it uses" that drives a truck
> through this approach. But IMO when done properly, this
> forward-declaring approach is quite readable.
> I have very limited idea of where, whether in the preprocessor
> or the compiler itself, the decision to treat struct bar *barp
> as "just some pointer" happens, but it is a real neat trick, the
> dependency chain is broken in CPP AFAICT anyways, and cuts
> down the rebuilds.

OK, thanks for the explanation. It seems like a very interesting problem.
I will think about it and see if something can be done. It seems like it
may need careful checking by a human, due to macros, ifdefs, etc, but
perhaps it can at least be heplful to narrow down the opportunities.


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