Debug interface

As mentioned in the overview the debug infrastructure abstracts from the physical transport interface with the generic interface logic project (glip). The following sketch shows the basic interface provided by glip and how it is used by the Open SoC Debug (osd) infrastructure.

OSD and glip

The basic interface abstraction of glip is a simple FIFO with 16-bit data and ready/valid flow control. The underlying glip backend implementation maps this interface to a protocol for different physical interfaces. It also adds a reset signal that can be used to remotely reset the entire system.

Debug packets

The simple glip interface is used to exchange debug datagrams between the host and the system. Each of those datagrams contains one 16-bit word as header followed by multiple 16-bit words payload. The header currently only contains the length of the payload and the payload is exactly one debug packet. Those debug packets are then transferred to the debug modules over the on-chip debug interconnect.

Each debug packet has a header that contains the source module, the destination module and the packet type, plus some bits specific to the packet type. The packet payload is specific to the debug packet type and in most cases specific to the module type and the dynamic configuration. While a “register write” packet always has the same length and structure, trace modules will usually have variable sized packets depending on the current tracing configuration.

Hardware Interface

The system has a physical interface as provided by glip (UART in this tutorial) and follows the technical specification of this glip backend. The interface block of glip is then instantiated and the Open SoC Debug infrastructure connects to this.

In hardware the debug packets are converted into the debug datagrams and vice versa by the so called “Host Interface Module (HIM)”. The interconnect interface is again a simple FIFO/stream interface with valid/ready flow control. With an extra last signal the different packets are then routed through the network to the final destination. This interface is pretty similar to AXI stream, with semantic routing and protocol (header) information in the first words.

Software Interface

On the software side glip provides an interface to read and write 16-bit words to the hardware FIFOs, each in a blocking and non-blocking variant. Sending debug packets is then performed by assembling the header and payload in uint16_t arrays and sending them with glip_write. A thread receives the packets and dispatches them to handlers that were registers for the different modules. You find more details on the software interface in the debug software and methodology part of the tutorial.