L4Re BSP Porting Guide

This guide shall give guidelines for porting L4Re to a new SoC variant on an already supported architecture, e.g., enabling L4Re on a new Arm platform.

Affected Components

Four components of L4Re need to be extended or adapted for supporting a new SoC:

  • The L4Re microkernel (Fiasco)
  • bootstrap
  • mk (Build system)
  • drivers-frst

Build system: mk

The ‘mk’ component needs to be made aware of the new BSP by placing a file with the BSP name under l4/mk/platforms. Mandatory options are

  • PLATFORM_NAME: Short string describing the BSP
  • PLATFORM_ARCH: Architectures supported by the BSP
  • PLATFORM_RAM_BASE: Memory address where DRAM is starting for L4Re.

Optional options:

  • PLATFORM_RAM_SIZE_MB: Size of DRAM in MB. Only if required in Bootstrap component.
  • PLATFORM_UART_NR: UART to use as done in bootstrap. Only needed if bootstrap uses it.

Please check other files in this directory for examples on what the content should look like. The name of the configuration file is used as platform name in the build system.

Initial loader: bootstrap

Bootstrap is the initial loading component of L4Re. It is the first component to run and it typically runs without virtual memory (or identity mapped). It prepares the environment for the L4Re microkernel and initial user-level components.

Bootstrap needs to know where memory is available in the system for L4Re. It also sets up information for the UART to use.

Please check any of the available BSP C++ files under l4/pkg/bootstrap/server/src/platform/*.cc for examples how this is done. All of the files in this directory follow a similar pattern. Finally the new BSP C++ file(s) need to be added to l4/pkg/bootstrap/server/src/Makefile.platform to be built for the respective platform.

UART Driver: drivers-frst

The drivers-frst component contains the UART driver. Chances are high that a UART driver already exists. If not, implement a new one for your platform, see other UART drivers for examples on how this is done. They all follow a similar pattern.

L4Re microkernel / Fiasco

BSPs for Fiasco are located under src/kern/$ARCH/bsp/$BSP and all directories therein follow a similar structure. Please check any of the available BSP directories for examples how a BSP is structured.

  • Kconfig: Configuration snippet. For a simple BSP only the ‘PF*’ statements in the beginning are relevant. For more options for a BSP please check other Kconfig files.

  • Modules: Describes which files to build and include for a specific build of Fiasco. It selects the UART to use and so-called PREPROCESSOR tags and INTERFACEs to use. Main topics to fill out are:

    • config: Has a name for the BSP
    • mem_layout: Defines memory locations. On Arm, it contains the GIC addresses and possibly other device addresses that might be required.
    • timer: BSP parts of the platform timer.
    • pic: Instantiates the interrupt controller.
    • reset: Reset of the platform.
    • clock: Clock of the platform.
    • platform_control: CPU boot-up.
  • C++ files: correspond to the categories as seen in the Modules file.

As BSPs are reasonably similar it is advised to copy an existing BSP and adapt it to the new platform.

If you had to implement a new UART driver, copy the .h and .cc over from drivers-frst to src/lib/uart as is. The UART drivers are the same, they just exist in the kernel and user-level components separately for reasons of separating the build. Use the name of the .o file of the driver in the OBJECTS_LIBUART variable in the Modules file of your BSP to use the driver for your platform.

We recommend to first write the UART driver, if required, and then add the platform support to bootstrap. This ensures that output from bootstrap can be used to debug the further porting process. Afterwards the kernel can be adapted.