Display server main control loop

Alexandros Frantzis alexandros.frantzis at canonical.com
Thu Apr 4 08:41:11 UTC 2013

On Thu, Apr 04, 2013 at 08:32:05AM +0200, Thomas Voß wrote:
> On 03.04.2013 17:51, Alexandros Frantzis wrote:
> > 
> > To get a better feeling of what's involved, I created a prototype
> > abstraction for a main loop and an implementation using boost asio.
> > Get it and use it with:
> > 
> > $ bzr branch lp:~afrantzis/+junk/mainloop
> > $ cd mainloop && make
> > $ ./mainloop
> > 
> > The main loop abstraction was designed so that event creation and
> > handling are completely dissociated. The display server (or other
> > consumer) can handle an event without caring if it is coming from a
> > signal, a read from a fd, or another mechanism.  So, we could have
> > something like this in the mir main loop:
> > 
> This looks pretty good to me, some thoughts on the separation of
> concerns, though:
> > auto main_loop = main_loop_factory->create_main_loop();
> > 
> > auto pause_event = platform->create_pause_event(main_loop_factory);
> I would rather prefer:
> PauseEvent pause_event(main_loop);
> pause_event.async_wait(pause_handler);
> QuitEvent quit_event(main_loop);
> quit_event.async_wait(quit_handler);
> DisplayConfigurationEvent disp_config_event(main_loop);
> disp_config_event.async_wait(disp_conf_handler);

The problem is that the way many events are triggered is platform
dependent. For example, a display configuration event may be triggered
by data being available on an FD on the desktop (from udev), and
something completely different on Android.  That's the reason I opted
for asking components to give us event object, since they have all the
information to set this up.

In the scheme you propose, would different triggers be handled by having
a different version of EventService for each platform?

> See boost::asio::signal_set as an example: Different parties interested
> in a certain set of signals just setup their respective signal set and
> execute an (async) wait on the respective set. Behind the scenes, the
> signal_set class sets up all of the handlers, and associates all of the
> operation with one io_service, which forces handler execution to the
> thread that the io_service.run method is executed on.
> To this end, a mir::EventService would need to be created, and the
> respective events, including custom handler types (not only void()), are
> known to the EventService. On startup, the service is registered with
> the io_service representing the main event loop with
> boost::asio::add_service<mir::EventService>(io_service).
> A class QuitEvent would then do:
> class QuitEvent
> {
> public:
> 	QuitEvent(const std::shared_ptr<mir::MainLoop>& main_loop) :
> io_service(main_loop->io_service()) {}
> 	void async_wait(QuitEventHandler handler)
> 	{
> boost::asio::use_service<mir::EventService>(io_service).enqueue_handler_for_quit_event(handler);
> 	}
> private:
> 	boost::asio::io_service& io_service;
> };
> From my perspective, keeping the handler definition local, without
> encoding everything within the main loop avoids tight coupling, and the
> main loop is stripped down to only the synchronization concern.

What you are proposing is more versatile, but I see tighter coupling as
something desirable in this case. The main control loop is not supposed
to be a generic event loop, it's only about events that need to change
the state of the main components of the display server in a coordinated
manner. As such, the handlers need to defined at a level where all the
information is available, and that is at the control loop level. I don't
want to allow event handler registration away from the main loop, since
this is not useful for our use cases, and will make the code more
difficult to reason about.

The model I am proposing is that components offer interesting events
which are independent of any particular main loop, and at the main
control loop level we decide if/how to handle them. So, e.g., the
platforms tells us: "I am producing display configuration events, use
this event object if you want to handle them".

I would like to support events that provide more information (i.e. have
a custom handler) and I am currently thinking about how to go about
this, while still elegantly allowing different triggers depending on the


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