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spu_create - create a new spu context
int spu_create(const char *pathname, int flags, mode_t mode);
int spu_create(const char *pathname, int flags, mode_t mode,
The spu_create() system call is used on PowerPC machines that implement
the Cell Broadband Engine Architecture in order to access Synergistic
Processor Units (SPUs). It creates a new logical context for an SPU in
pathname and returns a file descriptor associated with it. pathname
must refer to a non-existing directory in the mount point of the SPU
file system (spufs). If spu_create() is successful, a directory is
created at pathname and it is populated with the files described in
When a context is created, the returned file descriptor can only be
passed to spu_run(2), used as the dirfd argument to the *at family of
system calls (e.g., openat(2)), or closed; other operations are not
defined. A logical SPU context is destroyed (along with all files
created within the context’s pathname directory) once the last
reference to the context has gone; this usually occurs when the file
descriptor returned by spu_create() is closed.
The flags argument can be zero or any bitwise OR-ed combination of the
Rather than using signals for reporting DMA errors, use the
event argument to spu_run(2).
Create an SPU gang instead of a context. (A gang is a group of
SPU contexts that are functionally related to each other and
which share common scheduling parameters — priority and policy.
In the future, gang scheduling may be implemented causing the
group to be switched in and out as a single unit.)
A new directory will be created at the location specified by the
pathname argument. This gang may be used to hold other SPU
contexts, by providing a pathname that is within the gang
directory to further calls to spu_create().
Create a context that is not affected by the SPU scheduler.
Once the context is run, it will not be scheduled out until it
is destroyed by the creating process.
Because the context cannot be removed from the SPU, some
functionality is disabled for SPU_CREATE_NOSCHED contexts. Only
a subset of the files will be available in this context
directory in spufs. Additionally, SPU_CREATE_NOSCHED contexts
cannot dump a core file when crashing.
Creating SPU_CREATE_NOSCHED contexts requires the CAP_SYS_NICE
Create an isolated SPU context. Isolated contexts are protected
from some PPE (PowerPC Processing Element) operations, such as
access to the SPU local store and the NPC register.
Creating SPU_CREATE_ISOLATE contexts also requires the
Create a context with affinity to another SPU context. This
affinity information is used within the SPU scheduling
algorithm. Using this flag requires that a file descriptor
referring to the other SPU context be passed in the neighbor_fd
Create a context with affinity to system memory. This affinity
information is used within the SPU scheduling algorithm.
The mode argument (minus any bits set in the process’s umask(2))
specifies the permissions used for creating the new directory in spufs.
See stat(2) for a full list of the possible mode values.
On success, spu_create() returns a new file descriptor. On error, -1
is returned, and errno is set to one of the error codes listed below.
EACCES The current user does not have write access to the spufs(7)
EEXIST An SPU context already exists at the given path name.
EFAULT pathname is not a valid string pointer in the calling process’s
EINVAL pathname is not a directory in the spufs(7) mount point, or
invalid flags have been provided.
ELOOP Too many symbolic links were found while resolving pathname.
EMFILE The process has reached its maximum open files limit.
pathname is too long.
ENFILE The system has reached the global open files limit.
ENODEV An isolated context was requested, but the hardware does not
support SPU isolation.
ENOENT Part of pathname could not be resolved.
ENOMEM The kernel could not allocate all resources required.
ENOSPC There are not enough SPU resources available to create a new
context or the user-specific limit for the number of SPU
contexts has been reached.
ENOSYS The functionality is not provided by the current system, because
either the hardware does not provide SPUs or the spufs module is
A part of pathname is not a directory.
EPERM The SPU_CREATE_NOSCHED flag has been given, but the user does
not have the CAP_SYS_NICE capability.
pathname must point to a location beneath the mount point of spufs. By
convention, it gets mounted in /spu.
The spu_create() system call was added to Linux in kernel 2.6.16.
This call is Linux-specific and only implemented on the PowerPC
architecture. Programs using this system call are not portable.
Glibc does not provide a wrapper for this system call; call it using
syscall(2). Note however, that spu_create() is meant to be used from
libraries that implement a more abstract interface to SPUs, not to be
used from regular applications. See
http://www.bsc.es/projects/deepcomputing/linuxoncell/ for the
See spu_run(2) for an example of the use of spu_create()
close(2), spu_run(2), capabilities(7), spufs(7)
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