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The kernel has limited support for memory mapping under no-MMU conditions, such
as are used in uClinux environments. From the userspace point of view, memory
mapping is made use of in conjunction with the mmap() system call, the shmat()
call and the execve() system call. From the kernel's point of view, execve()
mapping is actually performed by the binfmt drivers, which call back into the
mmap() routines to do the actual work.

Memory mapping behaviour also involves the way fork(), vfork(), clone() and
ptrace() work. Under uClinux there is no fork(), and clone() must be supplied
the CLONE_VM flag.

The behaviour is similar between the MMU and no-MMU cases, but not identical;
and it's also much more restricted in the latter case:

 (*) Anonymous mapping, MAP_PRIVATE

	In the MMU case: VM regions backed by arbitrary pages; copy-on-write
	across fork.

	In the no-MMU case: VM regions backed by arbitrary contiguous runs of

 (*) Anonymous mapping, MAP_SHARED

	These behave very much like private mappings, except that they're
	shared across fork() or clone() without CLONE_VM in the MMU case. Since
	the no-MMU case doesn't support these, behaviour is identical to


	In the MMU case: VM regions backed by pages read from file; changes to
	the underlying file are reflected in the mapping; copied across fork.

	In the no-MMU case:

         - If one exists, the kernel will re-use an existing mapping to the
           same segment of the same file if that has compatible permissions,
           even if this was created by another process.

         - If possible, the file mapping will be directly on the backing device
           if the backing device has the BDI_CAP_MAP_DIRECT capability and
           appropriate mapping protection capabilities. Ramfs, romfs, cramfs
           and mtd might all permit this.

	 - If the backing device device can't or won't permit direct sharing,
           but does have the BDI_CAP_MAP_COPY capability, then a copy of the
           appropriate bit of the file will be read into a contiguous bit of
           memory and any extraneous space beyond the EOF will be cleared

	 - Writes to the file do not affect the mapping; writes to the mapping
	   are visible in other processes (no MMU protection), but should not


	In the MMU case: like the non-PROT_WRITE case, except that the pages in
	question get copied before the write actually happens. From that point
	on writes to the file underneath that page no longer get reflected into
	the mapping's backing pages. The page is then backed by swap instead.

	In the no-MMU case: works much like the non-PROT_WRITE case, except
	that a copy is always taken and never shared.

 (*) Regular file / blockdev, MAP_SHARED, PROT_READ / PROT_EXEC / PROT_WRITE

	In the MMU case: VM regions backed by pages read from file; changes to
	pages written back to file; writes to file reflected into pages backing
	mapping; shared across fork.

	In the no-MMU case: not supported.

 (*) Memory backed regular file, MAP_SHARED, PROT_READ / PROT_EXEC / PROT_WRITE

	In the MMU case: As for ordinary regular files.

	In the no-MMU case: The filesystem providing the memory-backed file
	(such as ramfs or tmpfs) may choose to honour an open, truncate, mmap
	sequence by providing a contiguous sequence of pages to map. In that
	case, a shared-writable memory mapping will be possible. It will work
	as for the MMU case. If the filesystem does not provide any such
	support, then the mapping request will be denied.

 (*) Memory backed blockdev, MAP_SHARED, PROT_READ / PROT_EXEC / PROT_WRITE

	In the MMU case: As for ordinary regular files.

	In the no-MMU case: As for memory backed regular files, but the
	blockdev must be able to provide a contiguous run of pages without
	truncate being called. The ramdisk driver could do this if it allocated
	all its memory as a contiguous array upfront.

 (*) Memory backed chardev, MAP_SHARED, PROT_READ / PROT_EXEC / PROT_WRITE

	In the MMU case: As for ordinary regular files.

	In the no-MMU case: The character device driver may choose to honour
	the mmap() by providing direct access to the underlying device if it
	provides memory or quasi-memory that can be accessed directly. Examples
	of such are frame buffers and flash devices. If the driver does not
	provide any such support, then the mapping request will be denied.


 (*) A request for a private mapping of less than a page in size may not return
     a page-aligned buffer. This is because the kernel calls kmalloc() to
     allocate the buffer, not get_free_page().

 (*) A list of all the mappings on the system is visible through /proc/maps in
     no-MMU mode.

 (*) Supplying MAP_FIXED or a requesting a particular mapping address will
     result in an error.

 (*) Files mapped privately usually have to have a read method provided by the
     driver or filesystem so that the contents can be read into the memory
     allocated if mmap() chooses not to map the backing device directly. An
     error will result if they don't. This is most likely to be encountered
     with character device files, pipes, fifos and sockets.


To provide shareable character device support, a driver must provide a
file->f_op->get_unmapped_area() operation. The mmap() routines will call this
to get a proposed address for the mapping. This may return an error if it
doesn't wish to honour the mapping because it's too long, at a weird offset,
under some unsupported combination of flags or whatever.

The driver should also provide backing device information with capabilities set
to indicate the permitted types of mapping on such devices. The default is
assumed to be readable and writable, not executable, and only shareable
directly (can't be copied).

The file->f_op->mmap() operation will be called to actually inaugurate the
mapping. It can be rejected at that point. Returning the ENOSYS error will
cause the mapping to be copied instead if BDI_CAP_MAP_COPY is specified.

The vm_ops->close() routine will be invoked when the last mapping on a chardev
is removed. An existing mapping will be shared, partially or not, if possible
without notifying the driver.

It is permitted also for the file->f_op->get_unmapped_area() operation to
return -ENOSYS. This will be taken to mean that this operation just doesn't
want to handle it, despite the fact it's got an operation. For instance, it
might try directing the call to a secondary driver which turns out not to
implement it. Such is the case for the framebuffer driver which attempts to
direct the call to the device-specific driver. Under such circumstances, the
mapping request will be rejected if BDI_CAP_MAP_COPY is not specified, and a
copy mapped otherwise.


	Some types of device may present a different appearance to anyone
	looking at them in certain modes. Flash chips can be like this; for
	instance if they're in programming or erase mode, you might see the
	status reflected in the mapping, instead of the data.

	In such a case, care must be taken lest userspace see a shared or a
	private mapping showing such information when the driver is busy
	controlling the device. Remember especially: private executable
	mappings may still be mapped directly off the device under some


Provision of shared mappings on memory backed files is similar to the provision
of support for shared mapped character devices. The main difference is that the
filesystem providing the service will probably allocate a contiguous collection
of pages and permit mappings to be made on that.

It is recommended that a truncate operation applied to such a file that
increases the file size, if that file is empty, be taken as a request to gather
enough pages to honour a mapping. This is required to support POSIX shared

Memory backed devices are indicated by the mapping's backing device info having
the memory_backed flag set.


Provision of shared mappings on block device files is exactly the same as for
character devices. If there isn't a real device underneath, then the driver
should allocate sufficient contiguous memory to honour any supported mapping.