[ < ] [ > ]   [ << ] [ Up ] [ >> ]         [Top] [Contents] [Index] [ ? ]

4. Input and Output

There are no specific programs or servers associated with the I/O subsystem, since it is used to interact with almost all servers in the GNU Hurd. It provides facilities for reading and writing I/O channels, which are the underlying implementation of file and socket descriptors in the GNU C library.

[ < ] [ > ]   [ << ] [ Up ] [ >> ]         [Top] [Contents] [Index] [ ? ]

4.1 Iohelp Library

The <hurd/iohelp.h> file declares several functions which are useful for low-level I/O implementations. Most Hurd servers do not call these functions directly, but they are used by several of the Hurd filesystem and networking helper libraries. libiohelp requires libthreads.

[ < ] [ > ]   [ << ] [ Up ] [ >> ]         [Top] [Contents] [Index] [ ? ]

4.1.1 I/O Users

Most I/O servers need to implement some kind of user authentication checking. In order to facilitate that process, libiohelp has some functions which encapsulate a set of idvecs (FIXME: xref to C library) in a single struct iouser.

Function: struct iouser * iohelp_create_iouser (struct idvec *uids, struct idvec *gids)

Create a new iouser for the specified uids and gids.

Function: struct iouser * iohelp_dup_iouser (struct iouser *iouser)

Return a copy of iouser.

Function: void iohelp_free_iouser (struct iouser *iouser)

Release a reference to iouser.

I/O reauthentication is a rather complex protocol involving the authserver as a trusted third party (see section Auth Protocol). In order to reduce the risk of flawed implementations, I/O reauthentication is encapsulated in the iohelp_reauth function:

Function: struct iouser * iohelp_reauth (auth_t authserver, mach_port_t rend_port, mach_port_t newright, int permit_failure)

Conduct a reauthentication transaction, and return a new iouser. authserver is the I/O server's auth port. The rendezvous port provided by the user is rend_port.

If the transaction cannot be completed, return zero, unless permit_failure is nonzero. If permit_failure is nonzero, then should the transaction fail, return an iouser that has no ids. The new port to be sent to the user is newright.

[ < ] [ > ]   [ << ] [ Up ] [ >> ]         [Top] [Contents] [Index] [ ? ]

4.1.2 Conch Management

The conch is at the heart of the shared memory I/O system. Several Hurd libraries implement shared I/O, and so libiohelp contains functions to facilitate conch management.

Everything about shared I/O is undocumented because it is not needed for adequate performance, and the RPC interface is simpler (see section I/O Interface). It is not useful for new libraries or servers to implement shared I/O.

[ < ] [ > ]   [ << ] [ Up ] [ >> ]         [Top] [Contents] [Index] [ ? ]

4.2 Pager Library

The external pager (XP) microkernel interface allows applications to provide the backing store for a memory object, by converting hardware page faults into RPC requests. External pagers are required for memory-mapped I/O (see section Mapped Data) and stored filesystems (see section Stored Filesystems).

The external pager interface is quite complex, so the Hurd pager library contains functions which aid in creating multithreaded external pagers. libpager is declared in <hurd/pager.h>, and requires only the threads and ports libraries.

[ < ] [ > ]   [ << ] [ Up ] [ >> ]         [Top] [Contents] [Index] [ ? ]

4.2.1 Pager Management

The pager library defines the struct pager data type in order to represent a multi-threaded pager. The general procedure for creating a pager is to define the functions listed in Pager Callbacks, allocate a libports bucket for the ports which will access the pager, and create at least one new struct pager with pager_create.

Function: struct pager * pager_create (struct user_pager_info *u_pager, struct port_bucket *bucket, boolean_t may_cache, memory_object_copy_strategy_t copy_strategy)

Create a new pager. The pager will have a port created for it (using libports, in bucket) and will be immediately ready to receive requests. u_pager will be provided to later calls to pager_find_address. The pager will have one user reference created. may_cache and copy_strategy are the original values of those attributes as for memory_object_ready. Users may create references to pagers by use of the relevant ports library functions. On errors, return null and set errno.

Once you are ready to turn over control to the pager library, you should call ports_manage_port_operations_multithread on the bucket, using pager_demuxer as the ports demuxer. This will handle all external pager RPCs, invoking your pager callbacks when necessary.

Function: int pager_demuxer (mach_msg_header_t *inp, mach_msg_header_t *outp)

Demultiplex incoming libports messages on pager ports.

The following functions are the body of the pager library, and provide a clean interface to pager functionality:

Function: void pager_sync (struct pager *pager, int wait)
Function: void pager_sync_some (struct pager *pager, vm_address_t start, vm_size_t len, int wait)

Write data from pager pager to its backing store. Wait for all the writes to complete if and only if wait is set.

pager_sync writes all data; pager_sync_some only writes data starting at start, for len bytes.

Function: void pager_flush (struct pager *pager, int wait)
Function: void pager_flush_some (struct pager *pager, vm_address_t start, vm_size_t len, int wait)

Flush data from the kernel for pager pager and force any pending delayed copies. Wait for all pages to be flushed if and only if wait is set.

pager_flush flushes all data; pager_flush_some only flushes data starting at start, for len bytes.

Function: void pager_return (struct pager *pager, int wait)
Function: void pager_return_some (struct pager *pager, vm_address_t start, vm_size_t len, int wait)

Flush data from the kernel for pager pager and force any pending delayed copies. Wait for all pages to be flushed if and only if wait is set. Have the kernel write back modifications.

pager_return flushes and restores all data; pager_return_some only flushes and restores data starting at start, for len bytes.

Function: void pager_offer_page (struct pager *pager, int precious, int writelock, vm_offset_t page, vm_address_t buf)

Offer a page of data to the kernel. If precious is set, then this page will be paged out at some future point, otherwise it might be dropped by the kernel. If the page is currently in core, the kernel might ignore this call.


Function: void pager_change_attributes (struct pager *pager, boolean_t may_cache, memory_object_copy_strategy_t copy_strategy, int wait)

Change the attributes of the memory object underlying pager pager. The may_cache and copy_strategy arguments are as for memory_object_change_. Wait for the kernel to report completion if and only if wait is set.

Function: void pager_shutdown (struct pager *pager)

Force termination of a pager. After this returns, no more paging requests on the pager will be honoured, and the pager will be deallocated. The actual deallocation might occur asynchronously if there are currently outstanding paging requests that will complete first.

Function: error_t pager_get_error (struct pager *p, vm_address_t addr)

Return the error code of the last page error for pager p at address addr.(4)

Function: error_t pager_memcpy (struct pager *pager, memory_object_t memobj, vm_offset_t offset, void *other, size_t *size, vm_prot_t prot)

Try to copy *size bytes between the region other points to and the region at offset in the pager indicated by pager and memobj. If prot is VM_PROT_READ, copying is from the pager to other; if prot contains VM_PROT_WRITE, copying is from other into the pager. *size is always filled in with the actual number of bytes successfully copied. Returns an error code if the pager-backed memory faults; if there is no fault, returns zero and *size will be unchanged.

These functions allow you to recover the internal struct pager state, in case the libpager interface doesn't provide an operation you need:

Function: struct user_pager_info * pager_get_upi (struct pager *p)

Return the struct user_pager_info associated with a pager.

Function: mach_port_t pager_get_port (struct pager *pager)

Return the port (receive right) for requests to the pager. It is absolutely necessary that a new send right be created from this receive right.

[ < ] [ > ]   [ << ] [ Up ] [ >> ]         [Top] [Contents] [Index] [ ? ]

4.2.2 Pager Callbacks

Like several other Hurd libraries, libpager depends on you to implement application-specific callback functions. You must define the following functions:

Function: error_t pager_read_page (struct user_pager_info *pager, vm_offset_t page, vm_address_t *buf, int *write_lock)

For pager pager, read one page from offset page. Set *buf to be the address of the page, and set *write_lock if the page must be provided read-only. The only permissible error returns are EIO, EDQUOT, and ENOSPC.

Function: error_t pager_write_page (struct user_pager_info *pager, vm_offset_t page, vm_address_t buf)

For pager pager, synchronously write one page from buf to offset page. In addition, vm_deallocate (or equivalent) buf. The only permissible error returns are EIO, EDQUOT, and ENOSPC.

Function: error_t pager_unlock_page (struct user_pager_info *pager, vm_offset_t address)

A page should be made writable.

Function: error_t pager_report_extent (struct user_pager_info *pager, vm_address_t *offset, vm_size_t *size)

This function should report in *offset and *size the minimum valid address the pager will accept and the size of the object.

Function: void pager_clear_user_data (struct user_pager_info *pager)

This is called when a pager is being deallocated after all extant send rights have been destroyed.

Function: void pager_dropweak (struct user_pager_info *p)

This will be called when the ports library wants to drop weak references. The pager library creates no weak references itself, so if the user doesn't either, then it is all right for this function to do nothing.

[ < ] [ > ]   [ << ] [ Up ] [ >> ]         [Top] [Contents] [Index] [ ? ]

4.3 I/O Interface

The I/O interface facilities are described in <hurd/io.defs>. This section discusses only RPC-based I/O operations.(5)

[ < ] [ > ]   [ << ] [ Up ] [ >> ]         [Top] [Contents] [Index] [ ? ]

4.3.1 I/O Object Ports

The I/O server must associate each I/O port with a particular set of uids and gids, identifying the user who is responsible for operations on the port. Every port to an I/O server should also support either the file protocol (see section File Interface) or the socket protocol (see section Socket Interface); naked I/O ports are not allowed.

In addition, the server associates with each port a default file pointer, a set of open mode bits, a pid (called the "owner"), and some underlying object which can absorb data (for write) or provide data (for read).

The uid and gid sets associated with a port may not be visibly shared with other ports, nor may they ever change. The server must fix the identification of a set of uids and gids with a particular port at the moment of the port's creation. The other characteristics of an I/O port may be shared with other users. The I/O server interface does not generally specify the way in which servers may share these other characteristics (with the exception of the deprecated O_ASYNC interface); however, the file and socket interfaces make further requirements about what sharing is required and what sharing is prohibited.

In general, users get send rights to I/O ports by some mechanism that is external to the I/O protocol. (For example, fileservers give out I/O ports in response to the dir_lookup and fsys_getroot calls. Socket servers give out ports in response to the socket_create and socket_accept calls.) However, the I/O protocol provides methods of obtaining new ports that refer to the same underlying object as another port. In response to all of these calls, all underlying state (including, but not limited to, the default file pointer, open mode bits, and underlying object) must be shared between the old and new ports. In the following descriptions of these calls, the term "identical" means this kind of sharing. All these calls must return send rights to a newly-constructed Mach port.

The io_duplicate call simply returns another port which is identical to an existing port and has the same uid and gid set.

The io_restrict_auth call returns another port, identical to the provided port, but which has a smaller associated uid and gid set. The uid and gid sets of the new port are the intersection of the set on the existing port and the lists of uids and gids provided in the call.

Users use the io_reauthenticate call when they wish to have an entirely new set of uids or gids associated with a port. In response to the io_reauthenticate call, the server must create a new port, and then make the call auth_server_authenticate to the auth server. The rendezvous port for the auth_server_authenticate call is the I/O port to which was made the io_reauthenticate call. The server provides the rend_int parameter to the auth server as a copy from the corresponding parameter in the io_reauthenticate call. The I/O server also gives the auth server a new port; this must be a newly created port identical to the old port. The authserver will return the set of uids and gids associated with the user, and guarantees that the new port will go directly to the user that possessed the associated authentication port. The server then identifies the new port given out with the specified ID's.

[ < ] [ > ]   [ << ] [ Up ] [ >> ]         [Top] [Contents] [Index] [ ? ]

4.3.2 Simple Operations

Users write to I/O ports by calling the io_write RPC. They specify an offset parameter; if the object supports writing at arbitrary offsets, the server should honour this parameter. If -1 is passed as the offset, then the server should use the default file pointer. The server should return the amount of data which was successfully written. If the operation was interrupted after some but not all of the data was written, then it is considered to have succeeded and the server should return the amount written. If the port is not an I/O port at all, the server should reply with the error EOPNOTSUPP. If the port is an I/O port, but does not happen to support writing, then the correct error is EBADF.

Users read from I/O ports by calling the io_read RPC. They specify the amount of data they wish to read, and the offset. The offset has the same meaning as for io_write above. The server should return the data that was read. If the call is interrupted after some data has been read (and the operation is not idempotent) then the server should return the amount read, even if it was less than the amount requested. The server should return as much data as possible, but never more than requested by the user. If there is no data, but there might be later, the call should block until data becomes available. The server indicates end-of-file by returning zero bytes. If the call is interrupted after some data has been read, but the call is idempotent, then the server may return EINTR rather than actually filling the buffer (taking care that any modifications of the default file pointer have been reversed). Preferably, however, servers should return data.

There are two categories of objects: seekable and non-seekable. Seekable objects must accept arbitrary offset parameters in the io_read and io_write calls, and must implement the io_seek call. Non-seekable objects must ignore the offset parameters to io_read and io_write, and should return ESPIPE to the io_seek call.

On seekable objects, io_seek changes the default file pointer for reads and writes. (See (libc)File Positioning section `File Positioning' in The GNU C Library Reference Manual, for the interpretation of the whence and offset arguments.) It returns the new offset as modified by io_seek.

The io_readable interface returns the amount of data which can be immediately read. For the special technical meaning of "immediately", see Asynchronous I/O.

[ < ] [ > ]   [ << ] [ Up ] [ >> ]         [Top] [Contents] [Index] [ ? ]

4.3.3 Open Modes

The server associates each port with a set of bits that affect its operation. The io_set_all_openmodes call modifies these bits and the io_get_openmodes call returns them. In addition, the io_set_some_openmodes and io_clear_some_openmodes do an atomic read/modify/write of the openmodes.

The O_APPEND bit, when set, changes the behaviour of io_write when it uses the default file pointer on seekable objects. When io_write is done on a port with the O_APPEND bit set, is must set the file pointer to the current file size before doing the write (which would then increment the file pointer as usual). The current file size is the smallest offset which returns end-of-file when provided to io_read. The server must atomically bind this update to the actual data write with respect to other users of io_read, io_write, and io_seek.

The O_FSYNC bit, when set, guarantees that io_write will not return until data is fully written to the underlying medium.

The O_NONBLOCK bit, when set, prevents read and write from blocking. They should copy such data as is immediately available. If no data is immediately available they should return EWOULDBLOCK.

The definition of "immediately" is more or less server-dependent. Some servers, notably stored filesystem servers (see section Stored Filesystems), regard all data as immediately available. The one criterion is that something which must happen immediately may not wait for any user-synchronizable event.

The O_ASYNC bit is deprecated; its use is documented in the following section. This bit must be shared between all users of the same underlying object.

[ < ] [ > ]   [ << ] [ Up ] [ >> ]         [Top] [Contents] [Index] [ ? ]

4.3.4 Asynchronous I/O

Users may wish to be notified when I/O can be done without blocking; they use the io_async call to indicate this to the server. In the io_async call the user provides a port on which will the server should send sig_post messages as I/O becomes possible. The server must return a port which will be the reference port in the sig_post messages. Each io_async call should generate a new reference port. (FIXME: xref the C library manual for information on how to send sig_post messages.)

The server then sends one SIGIO signal to each registered async user everytime I/O becomes possible. I/O is possible if at least one byte can be read or written immediately. The definition of "immediately" must be the same as for the implementation of the O_NONBLOCK flag (see section Open Modes). In addition, every time a user calls io_read or io_write on a non-seekable object, or at the default file pointer on a seekable object, another signal should be sent to each user if I/O is still possible.

Some objects may also define "urgent" conditions. Such servers should send the SIGURG signal to each registered async user anytime an urgent condition appears. After any RPC that has the possibility of clearing the urgent condition, the server should again send the signal to all registered users if the urgent condition is still present.

A more fine-grained mechanism for doing async I/O is the io_select call. The user specifies the kind of access desired, and a send-once right. If I/O of the kind the user desires is immediately possible, then the server should return so indicating, and destroy the send-once right. If I/O is not immediately possible, the server should save the send-once right, and send a select_done message as soon as I/O becomes immediately possible. Again, the definition of "immediately" must be the same for io_select, io_async, and O_NONBLOCK (see section Open Modes).

For compatibility with 4.2 and 4.3 BSD, the I/O interface provides a deprecated feature (known as icky async I/O). The calls io_mod_owner and io_get_owner set the "owner" of the object, providing either a pid or a pgrp (if the value is negative). This implies that only one process at a time can do icky I/O on a given object. Whenever the I/O server is sending sig_post messages to all the io_async users, if the O_ASYNC bit is set, the server should also send a signal to the owning pid/pgrp. The ID port for this call should be different from all the io_async ID ports given to users. Users may find out what ID port the server uses for this by calling io_get_icky_async_id.

[ < ] [ > ]   [ << ] [ Up ] [ >> ]         [Top] [Contents] [Index] [ ? ]

4.3.5 Information Queries

Users may call io_stat to find out information about the I/O object. Most of the fields of a struct stat are meaningful only for files. All objects, however, must support the fields st_fstype, st_fsid, st_ino, st_atime, st_atime_usec, st_mtime_user, st_ctime, st_ctime_usec, and st_blksize.

st_fstype, st_fsid, and st_ino must be unique for the underlying object across the entire system.

st_atime and st_atime_usec hold the seconds and microseconds, respectively, of the system clock at the last time the object was read with io_read.

st_mtime and st_mtime_usec hold the seconds and microseconds, respectively, of the system clock at the last time the object was written with io_write.

Other appropriate operations may update the atime and the mtime as well; both the file and socket interfaces specify such operations.

st_ctime and st_ctime_usec hold the seconds and microseconds, respectively, of the system clock at the last time permanent meta-data associated with the object was changed. The exact operations which cause such an update are server-dependent, but must include the creation of the object.

The server is permitted to delay the actual update of these times until stat is called; before the server stores the times on permanent media (if it ever does so) it should update them if necessary.

st_blksize gives the optimal I/O size in bytes for io_read and io_write; users should endeavor to read and write amounts which are multiples of the optimal size, and to use offsets which are multiples of the optimal size.

In addition, objects which are seekable should set st_size to the current file size as in the description of the O_APPEND flag (see section Open Modes).

The st_uid and st_gid fields are unrelated to the "owner" as described above for icky async I/O.

Users may find out the version of the server they are talking to by calling io_server_version; this should return strings and integers describing the version number of the server, as well as its name.

[ < ] [ > ]   [ << ] [ Up ] [ >> ]         [Top] [Contents] [Index] [ ? ]

4.3.6 Mapped Data

Servers may optionally implement the io_map call. The ports returned by io_map must implement the external pager kernel interface (see section Pager Library) and be suitable as arguments to vm_map.

Seekable objects must allow access from zero up to (but not including) the current file size as described for O_APPEND (see section Open Modes). Whether they provide access beyond such a point is server-dependent; in addition, the meaning of accessing a non-seekable object is server-dependent.

[ << ] [ >> ]           [Top] [Contents] [Index] [ ? ]

This document was generated by Thomas Schwinge on November, 8 2007 using texi2html 1.76.