ARM A53 and initial MMU mapping for EL0/1/2/3 ?

Andre Przywara andre.przywara at
Wed Feb 9 11:45:14 CET 2022

On Wed, 9 Feb 2022 08:35:04 +0000
Joakim Tjernlund <Joakim.Tjernlund at> wrote:


> On Wed, 2022-02-09 at 00:33 +0000, Andre Przywara wrote:
> > On Tue, 8 Feb 2022 22:05:00 +0000
> > Joakim Tjernlund <Joakim.Tjernlund at> wrote:
> > 
> > Hi Joakim,
> >   
> > > Trying to figure out how I should map the MMU for normal RAM so it acessible
> > > from all ELx security states.  
> > 
> >        ^^^^^^^
> > 
> > This does not make much sense. U-Boot is typically running in one
> > exception level only, and sets up the page table for exactly that EL.
> > Each EL uses a separate translation regime (with some twists for stage
> > 2 EL2 and combined EL1/0, plus VHE). If you map your memory in EL3, then
> > drop to EL2, the EL3 page tables become irrelevant.
> > 
> > So in U-Boot we just set up the page tables for the EL we are running
> > in, and leave the paging for the lower exception levels to be set up at
> > the discretion of our payloads (kernels, hypervisors).
> > 
> > Please not that *secure* memory is a separate concept, and handled by
> > external hardware, typically using regions, not page tables.  
> I am a beginner w.r.t ARM and Secure/Non secure so thank you for above.
> The problem I have is that I boot a custom SOC into u-boot and when u-boot tries
> to boot linux I get an error exception when u-boot calls armv8_switch_to_el2 to enter linux.

So that means that U-Boot runs in EL3, is that the first and only firmware
that you run? I think the EL3 part of U-Boot is not widely used and tested
beyond the very few platforms that use it.

Do you have the exact address that fails? That should be in ELR, it would
be great if you can pinpoint the exact instruction in macro.h that fails.

> I think the exception means "Instruction Abort taken without a change in Exception level."
> I was thinking it could be some privilege missing in MMU map.

Could be. One thing that made me wonder is your rather miserly mapping of
only 32MB, which sounds a bit on the small side. Typically we just map the
whole first DRAM bank, regardless of whether you actually have memory
there or not. U-Boot should know how much DRAM you have, so will not go
beyond that. Having page tables covering more address space does not
really hurt, but avoids all kind of problems.
And please note that U-Boot loves to move things around: itself from the
load address to the end of DRAM (that it knows of); possibly the kernel,
when the alignment is not right, or the DT and initrd if it sees fit.
So there is little point in mapping just portions of the memory.


> Note that kernel boots from a different memory region than u-boot but those two regions
> are mapped the same way.
>  Jocke
> PS.
> I can cheat/hack u-boot to branch to the linux kernel address and that works until kernel
> tries to switch EL.
> >   
> > > So far I have this mem_map: 
> > > 
> > > 		/* memory mapped RAM. 32MB  */
> > > 		.virt = 0x60000000UL,
> > > 		.phys = 0x60000000UL,
> > > 		.size = 0x02000000UL,
> > > 
> > > but starting to doubt that is correct, can someone suggest what to put in the .attrs field?  
> > 
> > Those are the correct attributes for normal ("cache-able") memory.
> > However you probably need at least another mapping for MMIO accesses,
> > which MUST NOT be cacheable (MT_DEVICE_NGNRNE), but device memory.
> > See the beginning of arch/arm/mach-sunxi/board.c for an example.
> > 
> > Cheers,
> > Andre  

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