Re: [linux-usb-devel] Re: serious 2.6 bug in USB subsystem?

From: Grant Grundler <>
Date: 2004-03-08 17:18:02
On Sat, Mar 06, 2004 at 08:37:43AM -0800, David Brownell wrote:
> DMA-coherent memory is defined as "memory for which a write by either
> the device or the processor can immediately be read by the processor
> or device without having to worry about caching effects."

The use of "immediate" here means no other sync function needs to
be called to access the data - ie don't need to call pci_sync_single().

In general, the accesses are ordered following PCI ordering rules.
But every architecture (including x86) has issues with "inflight" DMA.
Line based Interrupts are delivered on a different path than DMA 
and thus ordering can't be enforced.
For example, the code around the following comment in drivers/net/tg3.c:
	 * Flush PCI write.  This also guarantees that our
	 * status block has been flushed to host memory.

> `Such a
> write-buffering mechanism is clearly a type of (write-)caching effect,

No - the data is still in flight and in some deterministic time frame
will become visible to the CPU.
Calling it a "caching effect" confuses the issues even worse.

> and readl() would be a kind of dma_rmb(), if you will.

Yes, that's correct - but it's orthogonal to "cache coherent".

> I suspect the docs are wrong about what dma-coherent means.

Not "wrong", just misunderstood. ;^)

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Received on Mon Mar 8 01:18:45 2004

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