Verified Commit 70919682 authored by 4lDO2's avatar 4lDO2 🖖
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Add part 1 of the io_uring blog posts.

parent de098fcf
title = "RSoC: improving drivers and kernel - part 1 (largely io_uring)"
author = "4lDO2"
date = "2020-07-01T12:44:00+02:00"
# Introduction
This week has been quite productive for the most part. I continued updating
[the RFC](, with
some newer ideas that I came up while working on the implementation, which
obviously requires figuring out more details on the design, that I had not
really thought about previously, for example when the kernel is going to
I also came up with a set of standard opcodes, that schemes are meant to use
unless in some special scenarios (like general-purpose IPC between processes),
which can be found [here](
## The three attachment modes
The most notable change that I made, is that instead of always attaching an
`io_uring` between two userspace processes, there can be attachments directly
from the userspace to the kernel (and vice versa), which is much more similar
to how Linux works, except that Redox has two additional "attachment modes".
The three of them are:
* userspace-to-kernel, where the userspace is the producer and the kernel is
the consumer. In this mode, the ring can (or rather, is supposed to be able
to) either be polled by the kernel at the end of scheduling, for e.g. certain
ultra-low-latency drivers, or the default: the kernel only processes the
entries using the `SYS_ENTER_IORING` syscall. If the `io_uring` interface is
going to be used more by the Redox userspace, it may not be that efficient to
have one ring per consumer process per producer process; with this mode,
there only has to be one ring (or more) from the userspace to kernel, and
then the kernel can designate syscalls directed to other schemes, when those
are used by the file descriptors. Then, there will be only one ring from the
kernel to that producer scheme.
* kernel-to-userspace, which is nothing but the opposite of the
userspace-to-kernel mode. Schemes can be attached by other userspace
processes, or the kernel (as mentioned above);
* userspace-to-userspace, the both the producer and consumer of an `io_uring`
are regular userspace processes. Just as with the userspace-to-kernel mode,
these are attached with the `SYS_ATTACH_IORING` syscall, and except for
realtime polling, one process waits for the other using `SYS_ENTER_IORING` as
with userspace-to-kernel. The primary usecase for this type of ring is
low-latency communication between drivers, e.g. between pcid and xhcid when
masking MSI interrupts. One potential alternative to this would be futexes.
## Updating `rustc`
This was probably the least fun part of this week. Not that it is required for
`io_uring`s to function properly, but async/await could really help in some
situtations, for example when storing pending submissions to handle. While
async/await has been there since stable 1.39, only recently has it worked in
`#![no_std]`. I saw that the nightly version that Redox used for everything,
was nigthly-2019-11-25, and so I decided to use the latest version (also for
the newer `asm!` macro). It turned out that the mainline branch from the
official rust repository was capable of compiling all of Redox (there may be
some parts that require patching anyways, but I could run the system as with
the older compiler). I hope that it won't be too hard to correctly submit the
patches to every repo with the `llvm_asm` change, and get it to integrate with
the cookbook. Anyways, hooray!
Currently only a few opcodes are implemented by the kernel, and my next goal is
to implement a superset of the scheme syscalls, and allow most of the regular
syscalls to be bypassed as an `io_uring` submission, but completely
non-blocking. Additionally, I'm trying to get an asynchronous executor to work
with the API, which would be really nice to have for nearly every usecase (both
nvmed and xhcid already use async, but it'd be nicer not having to write your
own executor for every driver).
With this executor, I'm going to try getting `usbscsid` to be completely async
and talk to `xhcid` uring `io_uring`, and let `xhcid` to mask MSI interrupts by
talking to `pcid` with `io_uring` as well.
I'll also see whether at some point in the future, it could be possible to be
compatible with the Linux `io_uring` API; perhaps it won't have to be syscall
compatible, but porting `liburing` would certainly benefit.
I'd really appreciate any kind of feedback if possible.
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