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Based on kernel version 4.13.3. Page generated on 2017-09-23 13:55 EST.

1	=====================================================================
2	Everything you never wanted to know about kobjects, ksets, and ktypes
3	=====================================================================
4	
5	:Author: Greg Kroah-Hartman <gregkh@linuxfoundation.org>
6	:Last updated: December 19, 2007
7	
8	Based on an original article by Jon Corbet for lwn.net written October 1,
9	2003 and located at http://lwn.net/Articles/51437/
10	
11	Part of the difficulty in understanding the driver model - and the kobject
12	abstraction upon which it is built - is that there is no obvious starting
13	place. Dealing with kobjects requires understanding a few different types,
14	all of which make reference to each other. In an attempt to make things
15	easier, we'll take a multi-pass approach, starting with vague terms and
16	adding detail as we go. To that end, here are some quick definitions of
17	some terms we will be working with.
18	
19	 - A kobject is an object of type struct kobject.  Kobjects have a name
20	   and a reference count.  A kobject also has a parent pointer (allowing
21	   objects to be arranged into hierarchies), a specific type, and,
22	   usually, a representation in the sysfs virtual filesystem.
23	
24	   Kobjects are generally not interesting on their own; instead, they are
25	   usually embedded within some other structure which contains the stuff
26	   the code is really interested in.
27	
28	   No structure should EVER have more than one kobject embedded within it.
29	   If it does, the reference counting for the object is sure to be messed
30	   up and incorrect, and your code will be buggy.  So do not do this.
31	
32	 - A ktype is the type of object that embeds a kobject.  Every structure
33	   that embeds a kobject needs a corresponding ktype.  The ktype controls
34	   what happens to the kobject when it is created and destroyed.
35	
36	 - A kset is a group of kobjects.  These kobjects can be of the same ktype
37	   or belong to different ktypes.  The kset is the basic container type for
38	   collections of kobjects. Ksets contain their own kobjects, but you can
39	   safely ignore that implementation detail as the kset core code handles
40	   this kobject automatically.
41	
42	   When you see a sysfs directory full of other directories, generally each
43	   of those directories corresponds to a kobject in the same kset.
44	
45	We'll look at how to create and manipulate all of these types. A bottom-up
46	approach will be taken, so we'll go back to kobjects.
47	
48	
49	Embedding kobjects
50	==================
51	
52	It is rare for kernel code to create a standalone kobject, with one major
53	exception explained below.  Instead, kobjects are used to control access to
54	a larger, domain-specific object.  To this end, kobjects will be found
55	embedded in other structures.  If you are used to thinking of things in
56	object-oriented terms, kobjects can be seen as a top-level, abstract class
57	from which other classes are derived.  A kobject implements a set of
58	capabilities which are not particularly useful by themselves, but which are
59	nice to have in other objects.  The C language does not allow for the
60	direct expression of inheritance, so other techniques - such as structure
61	embedding - must be used.
62	
63	(As an aside, for those familiar with the kernel linked list implementation,
64	this is analogous as to how "list_head" structs are rarely useful on
65	their own, but are invariably found embedded in the larger objects of
66	interest.)
67	
68	So, for example, the UIO code in drivers/uio/uio.c has a structure that
69	defines the memory region associated with a uio device::
70	
71	    struct uio_map {
72		struct kobject kobj;
73		struct uio_mem *mem;
74	    };
75	
76	If you have a struct uio_map structure, finding its embedded kobject is
77	just a matter of using the kobj member.  Code that works with kobjects will
78	often have the opposite problem, however: given a struct kobject pointer,
79	what is the pointer to the containing structure?  You must avoid tricks
80	(such as assuming that the kobject is at the beginning of the structure)
81	and, instead, use the container_of() macro, found in <linux/kernel.h>::
82	
83	    container_of(pointer, type, member)
84	
85	where:
86	
87	  * "pointer" is the pointer to the embedded kobject,
88	  * "type" is the type of the containing structure, and
89	  * "member" is the name of the structure field to which "pointer" points.
90	
91	The return value from container_of() is a pointer to the corresponding
92	container type. So, for example, a pointer "kp" to a struct kobject
93	embedded *within* a struct uio_map could be converted to a pointer to the
94	*containing* uio_map structure with::
95	
96	    struct uio_map *u_map = container_of(kp, struct uio_map, kobj);
97	
98	For convenience, programmers often define a simple macro for "back-casting"
99	kobject pointers to the containing type.  Exactly this happens in the
100	earlier drivers/uio/uio.c, as you can see here::
101	
102	    struct uio_map {
103	        struct kobject kobj;
104	        struct uio_mem *mem;
105	    };
106	
107	    #define to_map(map) container_of(map, struct uio_map, kobj)
108	
109	where the macro argument "map" is a pointer to the struct kobject in
110	question.  That macro is subsequently invoked with::
111	
112	    struct uio_map *map = to_map(kobj);
113	
114	
115	Initialization of kobjects
116	==========================
117	
118	Code which creates a kobject must, of course, initialize that object. Some
119	of the internal fields are setup with a (mandatory) call to kobject_init()::
120	
121	    void kobject_init(struct kobject *kobj, struct kobj_type *ktype);
122	
123	The ktype is required for a kobject to be created properly, as every kobject
124	must have an associated kobj_type.  After calling kobject_init(), to
125	register the kobject with sysfs, the function kobject_add() must be called::
126	
127	    int kobject_add(struct kobject *kobj, struct kobject *parent,
128			    const char *fmt, ...);
129	
130	This sets up the parent of the kobject and the name for the kobject
131	properly.  If the kobject is to be associated with a specific kset,
132	kobj->kset must be assigned before calling kobject_add().  If a kset is
133	associated with a kobject, then the parent for the kobject can be set to
134	NULL in the call to kobject_add() and then the kobject's parent will be the
135	kset itself.
136	
137	As the name of the kobject is set when it is added to the kernel, the name
138	of the kobject should never be manipulated directly.  If you must change
139	the name of the kobject, call kobject_rename()::
140	
141	    int kobject_rename(struct kobject *kobj, const char *new_name);
142	
143	kobject_rename does not perform any locking or have a solid notion of
144	what names are valid so the caller must provide their own sanity checking
145	and serialization.
146	
147	There is a function called kobject_set_name() but that is legacy cruft and
148	is being removed.  If your code needs to call this function, it is
149	incorrect and needs to be fixed.
150	
151	To properly access the name of the kobject, use the function
152	kobject_name()::
153	
154	    const char *kobject_name(const struct kobject * kobj);
155	
156	There is a helper function to both initialize and add the kobject to the
157	kernel at the same time, called surprisingly enough kobject_init_and_add()::
158	
159	    int kobject_init_and_add(struct kobject *kobj, struct kobj_type *ktype,
160	                             struct kobject *parent, const char *fmt, ...);
161	
162	The arguments are the same as the individual kobject_init() and
163	kobject_add() functions described above.
164	
165	
166	Uevents
167	=======
168	
169	After a kobject has been registered with the kobject core, you need to
170	announce to the world that it has been created.  This can be done with a
171	call to kobject_uevent()::
172	
173	    int kobject_uevent(struct kobject *kobj, enum kobject_action action);
174	
175	Use the KOBJ_ADD action for when the kobject is first added to the kernel.
176	This should be done only after any attributes or children of the kobject
177	have been initialized properly, as userspace will instantly start to look
178	for them when this call happens.
179	
180	When the kobject is removed from the kernel (details on how to do that are
181	below), the uevent for KOBJ_REMOVE will be automatically created by the
182	kobject core, so the caller does not have to worry about doing that by
183	hand.
184	
185	
186	Reference counts
187	================
188	
189	One of the key functions of a kobject is to serve as a reference counter
190	for the object in which it is embedded. As long as references to the object
191	exist, the object (and the code which supports it) must continue to exist.
192	The low-level functions for manipulating a kobject's reference counts are::
193	
194	    struct kobject *kobject_get(struct kobject *kobj);
195	    void kobject_put(struct kobject *kobj);
196	
197	A successful call to kobject_get() will increment the kobject's reference
198	counter and return the pointer to the kobject.
199	
200	When a reference is released, the call to kobject_put() will decrement the
201	reference count and, possibly, free the object. Note that kobject_init()
202	sets the reference count to one, so the code which sets up the kobject will
203	need to do a kobject_put() eventually to release that reference.
204	
205	Because kobjects are dynamic, they must not be declared statically or on
206	the stack, but instead, always allocated dynamically.  Future versions of
207	the kernel will contain a run-time check for kobjects that are created
208	statically and will warn the developer of this improper usage.
209	
210	If all that you want to use a kobject for is to provide a reference counter
211	for your structure, please use the struct kref instead; a kobject would be
212	overkill.  For more information on how to use struct kref, please see the
213	file Documentation/kref.txt in the Linux kernel source tree.
214	
215	
216	Creating "simple" kobjects
217	==========================
218	
219	Sometimes all that a developer wants is a way to create a simple directory
220	in the sysfs hierarchy, and not have to mess with the whole complication of
221	ksets, show and store functions, and other details.  This is the one
222	exception where a single kobject should be created.  To create such an
223	entry, use the function::
224	
225	    struct kobject *kobject_create_and_add(char *name, struct kobject *parent);
226	
227	This function will create a kobject and place it in sysfs in the location
228	underneath the specified parent kobject.  To create simple attributes
229	associated with this kobject, use::
230	
231	    int sysfs_create_file(struct kobject *kobj, struct attribute *attr);
232	
233	or::
234	
235	    int sysfs_create_group(struct kobject *kobj, struct attribute_group *grp);
236	
237	Both types of attributes used here, with a kobject that has been created
238	with the kobject_create_and_add(), can be of type kobj_attribute, so no
239	special custom attribute is needed to be created.
240	
241	See the example module, samples/kobject/kobject-example.c for an
242	implementation of a simple kobject and attributes.
243	
244	
245	
246	ktypes and release methods
247	==========================
248	
249	One important thing still missing from the discussion is what happens to a
250	kobject when its reference count reaches zero. The code which created the
251	kobject generally does not know when that will happen; if it did, there
252	would be little point in using a kobject in the first place. Even
253	predictable object lifecycles become more complicated when sysfs is brought
254	in as other portions of the kernel can get a reference on any kobject that
255	is registered in the system.
256	
257	The end result is that a structure protected by a kobject cannot be freed
258	before its reference count goes to zero. The reference count is not under
259	the direct control of the code which created the kobject. So that code must
260	be notified asynchronously whenever the last reference to one of its
261	kobjects goes away.
262	
263	Once you registered your kobject via kobject_add(), you must never use
264	kfree() to free it directly. The only safe way is to use kobject_put(). It
265	is good practice to always use kobject_put() after kobject_init() to avoid
266	errors creeping in.
267	
268	This notification is done through a kobject's release() method. Usually
269	such a method has a form like::
270	
271	    void my_object_release(struct kobject *kobj)
272	    {
273	    	    struct my_object *mine = container_of(kobj, struct my_object, kobj);
274	
275		    /* Perform any additional cleanup on this object, then... */
276		    kfree(mine);
277	    }
278	
279	One important point cannot be overstated: every kobject must have a
280	release() method, and the kobject must persist (in a consistent state)
281	until that method is called. If these constraints are not met, the code is
282	flawed.  Note that the kernel will warn you if you forget to provide a
283	release() method.  Do not try to get rid of this warning by providing an
284	"empty" release function; you will be mocked mercilessly by the kobject
285	maintainer if you attempt this.
286	
287	Note, the name of the kobject is available in the release function, but it
288	must NOT be changed within this callback.  Otherwise there will be a memory
289	leak in the kobject core, which makes people unhappy.
290	
291	Interestingly, the release() method is not stored in the kobject itself;
292	instead, it is associated with the ktype. So let us introduce struct
293	kobj_type::
294	
295	    struct kobj_type {
296		    void (*release)(struct kobject *kobj);
297		    const struct sysfs_ops *sysfs_ops;
298		    struct attribute **default_attrs;
299		    const struct kobj_ns_type_operations *(*child_ns_type)(struct kobject *kobj);
300		    const void *(*namespace)(struct kobject *kobj);
301	    };
302	
303	This structure is used to describe a particular type of kobject (or, more
304	correctly, of containing object). Every kobject needs to have an associated
305	kobj_type structure; a pointer to that structure must be specified when you
306	call kobject_init() or kobject_init_and_add().
307	
308	The release field in struct kobj_type is, of course, a pointer to the
309	release() method for this type of kobject. The other two fields (sysfs_ops
310	and default_attrs) control how objects of this type are represented in
311	sysfs; they are beyond the scope of this document.
312	
313	The default_attrs pointer is a list of default attributes that will be
314	automatically created for any kobject that is registered with this ktype.
315	
316	
317	ksets
318	=====
319	
320	A kset is merely a collection of kobjects that want to be associated with
321	each other.  There is no restriction that they be of the same ktype, but be
322	very careful if they are not.
323	
324	A kset serves these functions:
325	
326	 - It serves as a bag containing a group of objects. A kset can be used by
327	   the kernel to track "all block devices" or "all PCI device drivers."
328	
329	 - A kset is also a subdirectory in sysfs, where the associated kobjects
330	   with the kset can show up.  Every kset contains a kobject which can be
331	   set up to be the parent of other kobjects; the top-level directories of
332	   the sysfs hierarchy are constructed in this way.
333	
334	 - Ksets can support the "hotplugging" of kobjects and influence how
335	   uevent events are reported to user space.
336	
337	In object-oriented terms, "kset" is the top-level container class; ksets
338	contain their own kobject, but that kobject is managed by the kset code and
339	should not be manipulated by any other user.
340	
341	A kset keeps its children in a standard kernel linked list.  Kobjects point
342	back to their containing kset via their kset field. In almost all cases,
343	the kobjects belonging to a kset have that kset (or, strictly, its embedded
344	kobject) in their parent.
345	
346	As a kset contains a kobject within it, it should always be dynamically
347	created and never declared statically or on the stack.  To create a new
348	kset use::
349	
350	  struct kset *kset_create_and_add(const char *name,
351					   struct kset_uevent_ops *u,
352					   struct kobject *parent);
353	
354	When you are finished with the kset, call::
355	
356	  void kset_unregister(struct kset *kset);
357	
358	to destroy it.  This removes the kset from sysfs and decrements its reference
359	count.  When the reference count goes to zero, the kset will be released.
360	Because other references to the kset may still exist, the release may happen
361	after kset_unregister() returns.
362	
363	An example of using a kset can be seen in the
364	samples/kobject/kset-example.c file in the kernel tree.
365	
366	If a kset wishes to control the uevent operations of the kobjects
367	associated with it, it can use the struct kset_uevent_ops to handle it::
368	
369	  struct kset_uevent_ops {
370	        int (*filter)(struct kset *kset, struct kobject *kobj);
371	        const char *(*name)(struct kset *kset, struct kobject *kobj);
372	        int (*uevent)(struct kset *kset, struct kobject *kobj,
373	                      struct kobj_uevent_env *env);
374	  };
375	
376	
377	The filter function allows a kset to prevent a uevent from being emitted to
378	userspace for a specific kobject.  If the function returns 0, the uevent
379	will not be emitted.
380	
381	The name function will be called to override the default name of the kset
382	that the uevent sends to userspace.  By default, the name will be the same
383	as the kset itself, but this function, if present, can override that name.
384	
385	The uevent function will be called when the uevent is about to be sent to
386	userspace to allow more environment variables to be added to the uevent.
387	
388	One might ask how, exactly, a kobject is added to a kset, given that no
389	functions which perform that function have been presented.  The answer is
390	that this task is handled by kobject_add().  When a kobject is passed to
391	kobject_add(), its kset member should point to the kset to which the
392	kobject will belong.  kobject_add() will handle the rest.
393	
394	If the kobject belonging to a kset has no parent kobject set, it will be
395	added to the kset's directory.  Not all members of a kset do necessarily
396	live in the kset directory.  If an explicit parent kobject is assigned
397	before the kobject is added, the kobject is registered with the kset, but
398	added below the parent kobject.
399	
400	
401	Kobject removal
402	===============
403	
404	After a kobject has been registered with the kobject core successfully, it
405	must be cleaned up when the code is finished with it.  To do that, call
406	kobject_put().  By doing this, the kobject core will automatically clean up
407	all of the memory allocated by this kobject.  If a KOBJ_ADD uevent has been
408	sent for the object, a corresponding KOBJ_REMOVE uevent will be sent, and
409	any other sysfs housekeeping will be handled for the caller properly.
410	
411	If you need to do a two-stage delete of the kobject (say you are not
412	allowed to sleep when you need to destroy the object), then call
413	kobject_del() which will unregister the kobject from sysfs.  This makes the
414	kobject "invisible", but it is not cleaned up, and the reference count of
415	the object is still the same.  At a later time call kobject_put() to finish
416	the cleanup of the memory associated with the kobject.
417	
418	kobject_del() can be used to drop the reference to the parent object, if
419	circular references are constructed.  It is valid in some cases, that a
420	parent objects references a child.  Circular references _must_ be broken
421	with an explicit call to kobject_del(), so that a release functions will be
422	called, and the objects in the former circle release each other.
423	
424	
425	Example code to copy from
426	=========================
427	
428	For a more complete example of using ksets and kobjects properly, see the
429	example programs samples/kobject/{kobject-example.c,kset-example.c},
430	which will be built as loadable modules if you select CONFIG_SAMPLE_KOBJECT.
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