Skip to content
Linux Kernel config fragments tree used by Linux microPlatform
Branch: master
Clone or download
Fetching latest commit…
Cannot retrieve the latest commit at this time.
Type Name Latest commit message Commit time
Failed to load latest commit information.

Submitting Patches

Patches to the Linux microPlatform kernel meta data should be submitted as a merge request to the repository.


The linux-lmp kernel is composed of the unified kernel source tree, plus configuration/control data to manage how the configs are applied.

The configuration data is contained within the kernel-cache directory structure, and represents the instructions to modify the source tree and the configuration policies required to configure and build the kernel.

While changes to the source code have already been applied to the tree, the control and configuration data is used before and during the kernel build process to generate a valid kernel config.

This README explains the configuration data and policies around the organization of this information, it is not a guide to tree construction, scc file syntax or linux-lmp architecture.

This repository is largely based on the upstream yocto-kernel-cache tree.

Configuration Policy

The configuration data contained within the meta branch has the following purposes:

  • Documents and defines hardware, non-hardware, required and optional configuration data that are used to keep software configuration policy and board support configuration separate. It also tags configuration data in a manner that an audit can be performed to ensure that polices make it to the final .config and that required options are not overridden or dropped from the final .config.

  • Creates a baseline configuration that can be inherited/included to result in consistent configuration across all derived kernel builds

  • Creates named feature fragments that when included enable the required options to implement a specific behaviour (i.e. USB boot)

  • Defines BSPs (Board Support Packages) (machines) that select a policy (features + config) and hardware options to form a buildable, bootable configuration.

The policies that are contained within the meta branch can be overridden by external descriptions using the same description format as the meta branch configuration. This allows for flexible modification and extension of the base policy. Also, if a previously defined BSP configuration is modified, it can be audited against the software policy to generate a compliance report.

Kernel Types (ktypes)

Kernel types (ktypes) are the highest level policy containers and represent a significant set of kernel functionality that has been grouped (and named) or partitioned.

When functionality is partitioned it indicates that the features kept apart since they won't work together (eg: schedulers (BFS vs CFS), or security methods (grsec vs another LSM)). Grouped functionality means that there are many items (features, configuration) that you want to collectively call a "kernel type" and validate that they work together, but there's no fundamental incompatibility between these features and others in the system.

Note: ktypes or KTYPES are seen as "define KTYPE " in .scc files, and are part of a BSP definition.

There are often significant differences between kernel types in the following ways:

  • source code: large or invasive features that cannot be cleanly disabled, or that cannot co-exist with other features at a source code level are separated by kernel type. The preempt-rt patches, alternate schedulers, grsecurity, are some examples of patches that are important parts of kernel type definition.

  • behaviour: A kernel type defines a default behaviour, which is often a trade off against other options.

    • performance vs. determinism
    • security vs. flexibility
    • size vs features
    • ...

    are all common parts of behavioural differences between kernel types.

  • feature support: different kernel types support different sets of features, such as XIP or different block schedulers, tracers, network devices and power management.

  • board support: due to the source, behaviour and feature differences between kernel types, they often dictate hardware/board support. A BSP definition declares which kernel types it supports by providing descriptions that include a kernel type and add board support configuration data.

Kernel types can be inherited and extended. An example inheritance tree is below:

base: common/basic functionality, upstream features and bug fixes | +--- standard: selected functionality and performance profile. | | | +--- preempt-rt: real time extensions for the base + standard | +--- tiny: base functionality + few additional features with a small footprint

Kernel Features

Kernel features are named containers for changes to the kernel (via patches and/or configuration) that implement or enable a defined feature. A feature can be small, or large, simple or complex, but it always represents functionality or behaviour that can be included by other features or kernel types.

Within the kernel-cache, kernel features are found as $FEATURE.scc files.

If a feature contains patches, it must only be included once by a given BSP or kernel type, since including that feature applies a source change to the tree. Including it more than once would result in the double application of the same patches, which will fail.

If functionality is added via patches, is frequently extended by patches, or periodically contains patches, it is typically classified as a "feature". It should be noted, that this is only a logical distinction from Kernel Configuration features, since the underlying mechanism is the same.

Features are often sub-categorized into a directory structure that groups them by maintainer defined attributes such as architecture, debug, boot, etc.

Full kernel features are found under: kernel/* in the directory tree.

Patches are a feature subtype and are simply a grouping of changes into a named category. These typically are included by kernel types, and are not meant to implement a defined functionality or be included multiple times.

These often contain bug fixes, backports or other small changes to the kernel tree, and do not typically contain any kernel configuration fragments. Configuration fragments are not required, since they are fixing bugs, or adding simple functionality that does not need Kconfig options to be enabled.

Patches are normally arranged into a directory structure that makes their maintenance and carry forward easier and are found under "patches/*" in the directory structure.

Config Features

Config features are collections of configuration options that when included enable a specific behaviour or functionality. Configuration features do not contain patches, and can be included multiple times by any other feature or kernel type.

The impact of configuration groups is additive, and order matters, since the last included config group can override the behaviour of previous includes.

Pure Config features are found under "cfg/*" in the directory structure, and are named <$config_feature>.scc.

Configuration fragments are the actual input to the linux kernel configuration subsystem and are included by config features. Configuration fragments are found throughout the tree, and are ".cfg" files.

Note: Depending on the architecture of the meta data, configuration groups can be complete or partitioned.


complete.scc include complete.cfg

complete.cfg CONFIG_A=y CONFIG_B=y

partitioned.scc include partitioned_a.cfg include partitioned_b.cfg

partitioned_a.cfg CONFIG_A=y

partitioned_b.cfg CONFIG_B=y

Complete config groups contain all the options required to enable functionality while partitioned configurations rely on multiple includes to build up a set of non-overlapping options to enable functionality. In the preceding example, including complete.scc or partitioned.scc will result in the same kernel configuration.

Complete groups are simpler to include, but make it more difficult to remove or disable an option (since it can appear multiple times), while partitioned configuration only has a single option in a single config group, but make it more difficult to determine the right set of groups to include for the desired functionality.

BSPs (Board Support Package)

The BSP .scc files combine the policy from the kernel type with the hardware requirements of the machine into a single place. This file describes all the source code changes from patches and features and the configuration changes that are used to configure and build the kernel.

There is one BSP description per kernel type that is located by a build system when it starts the process of configuring and build a kernel for a board.

To repeat an earlier point, one of the goals of the data in the meta branch is the separation between software policy and board support configuration. As such, BSP descriptions should set configuration options that are related to physical devices (drivers, driver options, flash filesystems, error checking, etc) and leave software policy to features or kernel types.

BSPs directly include kernel types to inherit their functionality. They include feature and config fragments to define non-hardware configuration and functionality. New or local configuration values introduced by a BSP should not override non-hardware (or policy) values unless absolutely necessary, but always should define the hardware they support.

You can’t perform that action at this time.