Thursday Aug 31, 2006

How often does Solaris sync-up with Intel ACPI CA releases?

We receive updates to the ACPI CA source on a semi-periodic basis from Intel, and I'll do a quick integration into a Solaris workspace using a simple script that handles the “average” case in under 2 minutes. I'll then build a kernel and sanity-test it on a machine or two. The entire process typically takes less than an a half-day, and I can quickly provide feedback to the Intel ACPI CA team. I'll review the changes in the update; if there's something compelling, or it has been more than 4 months since the last time I integrated into Solaris Nevada, I'll do additional testing on a much broader range of machines and start the integration process. This means that Solaris Nevada is usually less than a few months out-of-sync with the very latest Intel sources and represents broad “soak” testing.

Backports to Solaris 10 are demand-driven by escalations and functional-dependencies; for example, as part of the work I did to support the Sun Blade 8000, I backported the integration of ACPI CA release 20060217 to Solaris 10 6/06 (aka Update 2). Individual bug fixes (like CR 6426595) are often backported ala carte.

Intel ACPI CA source release 20060721 integrated into Solaris Nevada build 48

I recently integrated Intel ACPI CA 20060721 into Solaris Nevada; it will be available in build 48. As is the case with most updates to ACPI CA, there are a few enhancements and a few bug fixes. One of the interesting enhancements in this update is to increase compatibility with “the other” ACPI AML interpreter:

Implemented support within the AML interpreter for package objects that contain a larger AML length (package list length) than the package element count. In this case, the length of the package is truncated to match the package element count. Some BIOS code apparently modifies the package length on the fly, and this change supports this behavior. Provides compatibility with the MS AML interpreter. (With assistance from Fiodor Suietov)

This is a good example of how everyone wins with open source – pretty much every non-Microsoft x86 OS today uses Intel ACPI CA. At the risk of tooting my own horn a bit, this update also contains the following bug-fix:

Fixed a memory mapping leak during the deletion of a SystemMemory operation region where a cached memory mapping was not deleted. This became a noticeable problem for operation regions that are defined within frequently used control methods. (Dana Myers)

I found this particular bug while testing on the Sun Blade 8000 (Andromeda); a very intense hot-plug test scenario would reliably fail after precisely 3 hours and 3 minutes, like clock-work. Andromeda's ACPI BIOS is used to implement PCIe hot-plug, so the test scenario was very heavily exercising a portion of the ACPI BIOS which dynamically creates a SystemMemory operation region, leaking a bit of memory-mapping each time. After something like 180 or so hot-plug cycles, this resource was exhausted, leading to the failure. I'm pleased we found this in the lab before a customer did, but I'm more pleased with how quickly the fix was integrated by Bob Moore at Intel. Once again, everyone wins with open source. This is a corner-case problem that won't be seen in the field.

Another change Intel made at my request was to provide support for 64-bit thread Ids – a minor change, but again, one which enhances stability and ease-of-integration.

For a complete list of changes in each ACPI CA release, have a look usr/src/uts/i86pc/io/acpica/changes.txt which is updated with each integration. The previously-integrated release of ACPI CA was 20060317.

Tuesday May 09, 2006

Solaris ACPI CA debug output options

How to control Solaris ACPI CA debug output on DEBUG and non-DEBUG kernels.[Read More]

Wednesday Mar 15, 2006

Living with a loquacious BIOS (or what's all that stuff in /var/adm/messages?)

I haven't heard any complaints about this yet, but I recently noticed that /var/adm/messages on my Acer Ferrari 3400 was filling up with jabber from the system BIOS, like this:

Mar 15 16:23:22 unknown acpica: [ID 927697 kern.notice] [ACPI Debug] String: [0x8] "QUERY_09"
Mar 15 16:23:22 unknown acpica: [ID 486228 kern.notice] [ACPI Debug] String: [0xD] "CMBatt - SMSL"
Mar 15 16:23:22 unknown acpica: [ID 214751 kern.notice] [ACPI Debug] Integer: 0x F1
Mar 15 16:23:22 unknown acpica: [ID 920918 kern.notice] [ACPI Debug] String: [0x12] "CMBatt - CHBP.BAT1"
Mar 15 16:23:22 unknown acpica: [ID 729625 kern.notice] [ACPI Debug] String: [0x1B] "CMBatt - BAT1 still present"
Mar 15 16:23:22 unknown acpica: [ID 578842 kern.notice] [ACPI Debug] String: [0x12] "CMBatt - UPBI.BAT1"
Mar 15 16:23:22 unknown acpica: [ID 776413 kern.notice] [ACPI Debug] Package: [0xD Elements]
Mar 15 16:23:22 unknown acpica: [ID 411424 kern.notice] [ACPI Debug] (0) Integer: 0x 1
Mar 15 16:23:22 unknown acpica: [ID 923811 kern.notice] [ACPI Debug] (1) Integer: 0x 1130

Pretty exciting, eh?  Back in Solaris Nevada build 29, I fixed kernel printf() so Solaris ACPI CA debug output would work, and I left the default ACPI CA "debug level" setting intact.  One of the things that the default level sends to /var/adm/messages is when an ACPI BIOS contains ASL statements like:

                Store ("CMBatt - BAT1 STATE CHANGE", Debug)
and
                Store (PBST, Debug)

The Acer Ferrari 3400 BIOS is peppered with them.  Some of you are already familiar with Intel's ACPI CA interpreter and know that there is a gobal variable to select levels of debug output, and may have just fixed it yourself (gold stars for all of you) but I'd bet a dollar there are many more people that are just suffering in silence.   Well, here's the easy way to make it stop - add the following line to /etc/system and reboot:

set acpica:AcpiDbgLevel = 0x7

That's all.  If you really don't want to see any debug output from ACPI CA, you set it to 0, but that's a bit extreme.  For more information, have a look at this ACPI CA header file in OpenSolaris.

Solaris Nevada will continue to default to leaving this feature turned on, but I'll change the default for Solaris 10 when I backport to an update release.


Tuesday Jun 14, 2005

Configuring Solaris ACPI at boot-time

As part of the new Solaris ACPI subsystem integrated as part of Newboot, I've added a new bit to the "acpi-user-options" boot option.

Historically, acpi-user-options=0x2 has been the only publicly documented option, and is used to disable Solaris use of ACPI for CPU enumeration and interrupt routing. Generally speaking, the pattern has historically been to set acpi-user-options=0x2 if there's any problem at all, just to see if the system works better. Changes made in Solaris 10 have made ACPI use in Solaris much more robust, so disabling use of ACPI should not be required as frequently as in previous releases.

Beginning with Newboot, integrated into Solaris source in April (2005), acpi-user-options has changed in a couple of ways:

  • The previous ACPI subsystem did not put the system into “ACPI” mode, but left the system in “Legacy” mode, where the system BIOS retains control of the system. The new Solaris ACPI subsystem based on ACPI CA now places the system in ACPI mode by default.

  • acpi-user-options=0x8 causes the new Solaris ACPI subsystem to leave the system in Legacy mode. This is the first option one should try if ACPI-related issues are suspected.

  • acpi-user-options=0x4 is present in Solaris 10, and causes both the previous Solaris ACPI subsystem and the new subsystem to partially disable use of ACPI – but Hyper-Threaded CPUs are still enumerated using ACPI tables. This is the second option one should use if ACPI-related issues are suspected.

  • acpi-user-options=0x2 is present in Solaris 10, and causes both the previous Solaris ACPI subsystem and the new subsystem to disable the use of ACPI.

Generally speaking, the new Solaris ACPI subsystem seems to do very well by default. I'll blog separately about some issues I've diagnosed that appeared to be ACPI-related but turned out to be to something else (BIOS issues, actually).



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