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SubjectRe: [PATCH v2 0/3] DCMI bridge support
Hi Sakari,

On Fri, Jul 05, 2019 at 10:55:22AM +0300, Sakari Ailus wrote:
> On Thu, Jun 27, 2019 at 04:38:24PM +0300, Laurent Pinchart wrote:
> > On Thu, Jun 27, 2019 at 12:38:40PM +0000, Hugues FRUCHET wrote:
> >> On 6/26/19 7:25 PM, Laurent Pinchart wrote:
> >>> On Mon, Jun 24, 2019 at 10:10:05AM +0000, Hugues FRUCHET wrote:
> >>>> Hi Sakari,
> >>>>
> >>>>> - Where's the sub-device representing the bridge itself?
> >>>>
> >>>> This is pointed by [1]: drivers/media/i2c/st-mipid02.c
> >>>>
> >>>>> - As the driver becomes MC-centric, crop configuration takes place through
> >>>>> V4L2 sub-device interface, not through the video device node.
> >>>>> - Same goes for accessing sensor configuration: it does not take place
> >>>>> through video node but through the sub-device nodes.
> >>>>
> >>>> Our objective is to be able to support either a simple parallel sensor
> >>>> or a CSI-2 sensor connected through a bridge without any changes on
> >>>> userspace side because no additional processing or conversion involved,
> >>>> only deserialisation is m.
> >>>> With the proposed set of patches, we succeeded to do so, the same
> >>>> non-regression tests campaign is passed with OV5640 parallel sensor
> >>>> (STM32MP1 evaluation board) or OV5640 CSI-2 sensor (Avenger96 board with
> >>>> D3 mezzanine board).
> >>>>
> >>>> We don't want driver to be MC-centric, media controller support was
> >>>> required only to get access to the set of functions needed to link and
> >>>> walk trough subdevices: media_create_pad_link(),
> >>>> media_entity_remote_pad(), etc...
> >>>>
> >>>> We did a try with the v1 version of this patchset, delegating subdevices
> >>>> handling to userspace, by using media-controller, but this require to
> >>>> configure first the pipeline for each single change of resolution and
> >>>> format before making any capture using v4l2-ctl or GStreamer, quite
> >>>> heavy in fact.
> >>>> Benjamin did another try using new libcamera codebase, but even for a
> >>>> basic capture use-case, negotiation code is quite tricky in order to
> >>>> match the right subdevices bus format to the required V4L2 format.
> >>>
> >>> Why would it be trickier in userspace than in the kernel ? The V4L2
> >>> subdev operations are more or less expose verbatim through the subdev
> >>> userspace API.
> >>>
> >>>> Moreover, it was not clear how to call libcamera library prior to any
> >>>> v4l2-ctl or GStreamer calls.
> >>>
> >>> libcamera isn't meant to be called before v4l2-ctl or GStreamer.
> >>> Applications are supposed to be based directly on libcamera, or, for
> >>> existing userspace APIs such as V4L2 or GStreamer, compatibility layers
> >>> are supposed to be developed. For V4L2 it will take the form of a
> >>> LD_PRELOAD-able .so that will intercept the V4L2 API calls, making most
> >>> V4L2 applications work with libcamera unmodified (I said most as 100%
> >>> compatibility will likely not be achievable). For GStreamer it will take
> >>> the form of a GStreamer libcamera element that will replace the V4L2
> >>> source element.
> >>>
> >>>> Adding 100 lines of code into DCMI to well configure resolution and
> >>>> formats fixes the point and allows us to keep backward compatibility
> >>>> as per our objective, so it seems far more reasonable to us to do so
> >>>> even if DCMI controls more than the subdevice it is connected to.
> >>>> Moreover we found similar code in other video interfaces code like
> >>>> qcom/camss/camss.c and xilinx/xilinx-dma.c, controlling the whole
> >>>> pipeline, so it seems to us quite natural to go this way.
> >>>
> >>> I can't comment on the qcom-camss driver as I'm not aware of its
> >>> internals, but where have you found such code in the Xilinx V4L2 drivers
> >>> ?
> >>
> >> For ex. in xilinx/xilinx-dma.c, stream on/off is propagated to all
> >> subdevices within pipeline:
> >> * Walk the entities chain starting at the pipeline output video node
> >> static int xvip_pipeline_start_stop(struct xvip_pipeline *pipe, bool start)
> >>
> >> Same for qcom/camss/camss-video.c:
> >> static int video_start_streaming(struct vb2_queue *q, unsigned int count)
> >
> > For stream start/stop, that's expected. Userspace only controls the
> > stream start/stop on the video node, and the kernel propagates that
> > along the pipeline. There is no VIDIOC_STREAMON or VIDIOC_STREAMOFF
> > ioctl exposed to userspace for V4L2 subdevs. What is not propagated in
> > the kernel for MC-centric devices is the pipeline configuration (formats
> > and selection rectangles).
> >
> >> For resolution/format, in exynos4-is/fimc-capture.c:
> >> static int fimc_pipeline_try_format(struct fimc_ctx *ctx,
> >> ...
> >> while (1) {
> >> ...
> >> /* set format on all pipeline subdevs */
> >> while (me != &fimc->vid_cap.subdev.entity) {
> >> ...
> >> ret = v4l2_subdev_call(sd, pad, set_fmt, NULL, &sfmt);
> >
> > As explained below, propagating formats is fine for video node-centric
> > drivers, but comes with limitations.
> >
> >>>> To summarize, if we cannot do the negotiation within kernel, delegating
> >>>> this to userspace implies far more complexity and breaks compatibility
> >>>> with existing applications without adding new functionalities.
> >>>>
> >>>> Having all that in mind, what should be reconsidered in your opinion
> >>>> Sakari ? Do you have some alternatives ?
> >>>
> >>> First of all, let's note that your patch series performs to related but
> >>> still independent changes: it enables MC support, *and* enables the V4L2
> >>> subdev userspace API. The former is clearly needed and will allow you to
> >>> use the MC API internally in the kernel, simplifying pipeline traversal.
> >>> The latter then enables the V4L2 subdev userspace API, moving the
> >>> pipeline configuration responsibility to userspace.
> >>>
> >>> You could in theory move to the MC API inside the kernel, without
> >>> enabling support for the V4L2 subdev userspace API. Configuring the
> >>> pipeline and propagating the formats would then be the responsibility of
> >>> the kernel driver.
> >>
> >> Yes this is exactly what we want to do.
> >> If I understand well, to disable the V4L2 subdev userspace API, I just
> >> have to remove the media device registry:
> >>
> >> - /* Register the media device */
> >> - ret = media_device_register(&dcmi->mdev);
> >> - if (ret) {
> >> - dev_err(dcmi->dev, "Failed to register media device (%d)\n",
> >> - ret);
> >> - goto err_media_device_cleanup;
> >> - }
> >>
> >> Do you see any additional things to do ?
> >
> > That should be it. Note that in that case pipeline configuration has to
> > be handled by the master driver (DCMI in this case), the external
> > subdevs involved (such as the CSI-2 to parallel bridge) must not handle
> > any propagation of formats or selection rectangles.
>
> I wonder what we'd do in the case when someone needs to connect something
> else to the pipeline, such as a sensor with more than one sub-device, or a
> flash or a lens controller.
>
> For future-proofness, I'd just use MC for hardware that may be part of a
> complex pipeline. In this case, if you think backwards compatibility is
> important (and for most hardware it probably is), I don't think there are
> perfect solutions if your existing driver is not MC-enabled.

Oh, I fully agree with you, which is why I mentioned in another e-mail
that using a video node-centric approach would come with limitations,
such as not being able to support more complex pipelines, ever.

> A reasonable compromise would be to add a Kconfig option that allows
> enabling MC. This way you can provide backwards compatibility and allow
> making use of the full potential of the hardware. That's also why hardware
> that may be part of a non-trivial MC pipeline should start with MC-enabled
> so we wouldn't run into this.

I really don't like this, as it introduces additional complexity. My
recommendation is to go for an MC-centric approach. Going for a video
node-centric approach is really shooting oneself in the foot regarding
future extensions. But that being said, if there's a strong desire to go
for foot self-shooting, the way to go is explained above.

--
Regards,

Laurent Pinchart

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