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Linux Kernel sysfs attribute documentation generator

Project description

attribute documentation

`abi2doc` is a helper tool for generating and formatting sysfs attribute
documentation which is location under ``Documentation/ABI``\ in the kernel
source code.

From a `rough estimate`_, there are around 2000 attributes that are undocumented
in the kernel.

.. image::
:align: center
:alt: sysfs line plot
:width: 600px

The ABI documentation format looks like the following:

| What: (the full sysfs path of the attribute)
| Date: (date of creation)
| KernelVersion: (kernel version it first showed up in)
| Contact: (primary contact)
| Description: (long description on usage)

`abi2doc` can fill in the '`Date`' and the '`KernelVersion`' fields with high
accuracy. The '`Contact`' details is prompted for once, and the others '`What`'
and '`Description`' are prompted on every attribute.

It also tries to collect description from various sources-

- From the commit message that introduced the attribute

- From comments around the attribute show/store functions or the attribute
declaring macro.

- From the structure fields that map to the attribute.

For eg. consider the attribute declaring macro `PORT_RO(dest_id)` and its
show function `port_destid_show(...)`.

.. code:: c

static ssize_t
port_destid_show(struct device *dev, struct device_attribute *attr,
char *buf)
struct rio_mport *mport = to_rio_mport(dev);

if (mport)
return sprintf(buf, "0x%04x\n", mport->host_deviceid);
return -ENODEV;

The show functions typically contain a conversion to a driver private struct
and then one or many fields from it are put in the buffer.

In the example above, the driver private structure is a struct of type
`rio_mport` and the attribute `port_id` maps to the field `host_deviceid` in
the structure.

.. code:: c

struct rio_mport {
int host_deviceid; /* Host device ID */
struct rio_ops *ops; /* low-level architecture-dependent routines */
unsigned char id; /* port ID, unique among all ports */

There's a comment against `host_deviceid` here and this can be extracted.

All sysfs attribute declaring macros are located in ``abi2doc/macros.txt``. Each
row of `macros.txt` contains an attribute declaring macro space separated by the
location of the attribute name in the macro - `DEVICE_ATTR 0`. This list is not
complete. Please send a pull request if you find any that are not in the list.



- Coccinelle - `install instructions`_
spatch will need to be compiled with option `./configure --with-python=python3`
- Python 3
- Linux Kernel source code

`abi2doc` is available on `PYPI`_. Install with ``pip3``:

``pip3 install abi2doc``

The library is currently tested against Python versions `3.4+`.

.. code:: bash

usage: abi2doc [-h] -f SOURCE_FILE -o OUTPUT_FILE

Helper for documenting Linux Kernel sysfs attributes

required arguments:
-f SOURCE_FILE linux source file to document
-o OUTPUT_FILE location of the generated sysfs ABI documentation

optional arguments:
-h, --help show this help message and exit

Example usage:

.. code:: bash

abi2doc -f drivers/video/backlight/lp855x_bl.c -o sysfs_doc.txt

The script will fill in the '`Date`' and the '`KernelVersion`' fields for found
attributes. The '`Contact`' details is prompted for once, and the others 'What'
and '`Description`' are prompted on every attribute. The entered description
will be followed by hints, as shown in a generated file below.


What: /sys/class/backlight/<backlight>/bled_mode
Date: Oct, 2012
KernelVersion: 3.7
(WO) Write to the backlight mapping mode. The backlight current
can be mapped for either exponential (value "0") or linear
mapping modes (default).
%%%%% Hints below %%%%%
bled_mode DEVICE_ATTR drivers/video/backlight/lm3639_bl.c 220
%%%%% store fn comments %%%%%
/* backlight mapping mode */
%%%%% commit message %%%%%
commit 0f59858d511960caefb42c4535dc73c2c5f3136c
Author: G.Shark Jeong <>
Date: Thu Oct 4 17:12:55 2012 -0700

backlight: add new lm3639 backlight driver

This driver is a general version for LM3639 backlgiht + flash driver chip
of TI.

The LM3639 is a single chip LCD Display Backlight driver + white LED
Camera driver. Programming is done over an I2C compatible interface.

[ code layout tweaks]
Signed-off-by: G.Shark Jeong <>
Cc: Richard Purdie <>
Cc: Daniel Jeong <>
Cc: Randy Dunlap <>
Signed-off-by: Andrew Morton <>
Signed-off-by: Linus Torvalds <>

Expected time for the scripts to run =

`(num of attrs x avg 4 min per attr)/num of cores`.


Contributions are welcome, whether it is in the form of code or documentation.
Please refer to the `issues`_ tab for places that need help.

.. _install instructions:
.. _PYPI:
.. _Coccinelle:
.. _rough estimate:
.. _issues:

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