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Subject: Re: [virtio-dev] [PATCH] [RFC RESEND] vdec: Add virtio video decode device specification

> > Well.  I think before even discussing the protocol details we need a
> > reasonable plan for buffer handling.  I think using virtio-gpu buffers
> > should be an optional optimization and not a requirement.  Also the
> > motivation for that should be clear (Let the host decoder write directly
> > to virtio-gpu resources, to display video without copying around the
> > decoded framebuffers from one device to another).
> Just to make sure we're on the same page, what would the buffers come
> from if we don't use this optimization?
> I can imagine a setup like this;
>  1) host device allocates host memory appropriate for usage with host
> video decoder,
>  2) guest driver allocates arbitrary guest pages for storage
> accessible to the guest software,
>  3) guest userspace writes input for the decoder to guest pages,
>  4) guest driver passes the list of pages for the input and output
> buffers to the host device
>  5) host device copies data from input guest pages to host buffer
>  6) host device runs the decoding
>  7) host device copies decoded frame to output guest pages
>  8) guest userspace can access decoded frame from those pages; back to 3
> Is that something you have in mind?

I don't have any specific workflow in mind.

If you want display the decoded video frames you want use dma-bufs shared
by video decoder and gpu, right?  So the userspace application (video
player probably) would create the buffers using one of the drivers,
export them as dma-buf, then import them into the other driver.  Just
like you would do on physical hardware.  So, when using virtio-gpu

  (1) guest app creates buffers using virtio-gpu.
  (2) guest app exports virtio-gpu buffers buffers as dma-buf.
  (3) guest app imports the dma-bufs into virtio-vdec.
  (4) guest app asks the virtio-vdec driver to write the decoded
      frames into the dma-bufs.
  (5) guest app asks the virtio-gpu driver to display the decoded

The guest video decoder driver passes the dma-buf pages to the host, and
it is the host driver's job to fill the buffer.  How this is done
exactly might depend on hardware capabilities (whenever a host-allocated
bounce buffer is needed or whenever the hardware can decode directly to
the dma-buf passed by the guest driver) and is an implementation detail.

Now, with cross-device sharing added the virtio-gpu would attach some
kind of identifier to the dma-buf, virtio-vdec could fetch the
identifier and pass it to the host too, and the host virtio-vdec device
can use the identifier to get a host dma-buf handle for the (virtio-gpu)
buffer.  Ask the host video decoder driver to import the host dma-buf.
If it all worked fine it can ask the host hardware to decode directly to
the host virtio-gpu resource.

> > Referencing virtio-gpu buffers needs a better plan than just re-using
> > virtio-gpu resource handles.  The handles are device-specific.  What if
> > there are multiple virtio-gpu devices present in the guest?
> >
> > I think we need a framework for cross-device buffer sharing.  One
> > possible option would be to have some kind of buffer registry, where
> > buffers can be registered for cross-device sharing and get a unique
> > id (a uuid maybe?).  Drivers would typically register buffers on
> > dma-buf export.
> This approach could possibly let us handle this transparently to
> importers, which would work for guest kernel subsystems that rely on
> the ability to handle buffers like native memory (e.g. having a
> sgtable or DMA address) for them.
> How about allocating guest physical addresses for memory corresponding
> to those buffers? On the virtio-gpu example, that could work like
> this:
>  - by default a virtio-gpu buffer has only a resource handle,
>  - VIRTIO_GPU_RESOURCE_EXPORT command could be called to have the
> virtio-gpu device export the buffer to a host framework (inside the
> VMM) that would allocate guest page addresses for it, which the
> command would return in a response to the guest,

Hmm, the cross-device buffer sharing framework I have in mind would
basically be a buffer registry.  virtio-gpu would create buffers as
usual, create a identifier somehow (details to be hashed out), attach
the identifier to the dma-buf so it can be used as outlined above.

Also note that the guest manages the address space, so the host can't
simply allocate guest page addresses.  Mapping host virtio-gpu resources
into guest address space is planned, it'll most likely use a pci memory
bar to reserve some address space.  The host can map resources into that
pci bar, on guest request.

>  - virtio-gpu driver could then create a regular DMA-buf object for
> such memory, because it's just backed by pages (even though they may
> not be accessible to the guest; just like in the case of TrustZone
> memory protection on bare metal systems),

Hmm, well, pci memory bars are *not* backed by pages.  Maybe we can use
Documentation/driver-api/pci/p2pdma.rst though.  With that we might be
able to lookup buffers using device and dma address, without explicitly
creating some identifier.  Not investigated yet in detail.


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