Linux kernel hack for calming down a flood of PCIe AER messages

This post was written by eli on October 19, 2015
Posted Under: Linux,Linux kernel,PCI express

While working on a project involving a custom PCIe interface, Linux’ message log became flooded with messages like

pcieport 0000:00:1c.6:   device [8086:a116] error status/mask=00001081/00002000
pcieport 0000:00:1c.6:    [ 0] Receiver Error
pcieport 0000:00:1c.6:    [ 7] Bad DLLP
pcieport 0000:00:1c.6:    [12] Replay Timer Timeout
pcieport 0000:00:1c.6:   Error of this Agent(00e6) is reported first
pcieport 0000:02:00.0: PCIe Bus Error: severity=Corrected, type=Data Link Layer, id=0200(Transmitter ID)
pcieport 0000:02:00.0:   device [10b5:8606] error status/mask=00003000/00002000
pcieport 0000:02:00.0:    [12] Replay Timer Timeout
pcieport 0000:00:1c.6: AER: Corrected error received: id=00e6
pcieport 0000:00:1c.6: can't find device of ID00e6
pcieport 0000:00:1c.6: AER: Corrected error received: id=00e6
pcieport 0000:02:00.0: PCIe Bus Error: severity=Corrected, type=Data Link Layer, id=0200(Transmitter ID)

And before long, some 400 MB of log messages accumulated in /var/log/messages. In this context, they are merely informative AER (Advanced Error Reporting) messages, telling me that errors have occurred in the link between the computer’s PCIe controller and the PCIe switch on the custom board. But all of these errors were correctable (presumably with retransmits) so from a functional standpoint, the hardware worked.

Advanced Error Reporting, and its Linux driver was explained in OLS 2007 (pdf).

Had it not been for these messages, I could have been mislead to think that all was fine, even though there’s a method to tell, which I’ve dedicated an earlier post to. So they’re precious, but they flood the system logs, and even worse, the system is so busy handling them, that the boot is slowed down, and sometimes the boot process got stuck in the middle.

At first I thought that it would be enough to just turn off the logging of these messages, but it seems like the flood of interrupts was the problem.

So one way out is to disable the handler of AER altogether: Use the pci=noaer kernel parameter on boot, or disable the CONFIG_PCIEAER kernel configuration flag, and recompile the kernel. This removes the piece of code that configures the computer’s root port to send interrupts if and when an AER message arrives, but that way I won’t be alerted that a problem exists.

So I went for hacking the kernel code. In an early attempt, I went for not producing error messages for each event, but to keep it down to no more than 5 per second. It worked in the sense that the log wasn’t flooded, but didn’t solve the problem of a slow or impossible boot. As mentioned earlier, the core problem seems to be a bombardment of interrupts.

So the hack that eventually did the job for me tells the root port to stop generating interrupts after 100 kernel messages have been produced. That’s enough to inform me that there’s a problem, and give me an idea of where it is, but it stops soon enough to let the system live.

The only file I modified was drivers/pci/pcie/aer/aerdrv_errprint.c on a 4.2.0 Linux kernel. In retrospective, I could have done it more elegant. But hey, now that it works, why should I care…?

It goes like this: I defined a static variable, countdown, and initialized it to 100. Before a message is produced, a piece of code like this runs:

	if (!countdown--)

aer_enough_is_enough() is merely a copy of aerdrv.c’s aer_disable_rootport(), which is defines as static there, and requires an uncomfortable argument. It would have made more sense to make aer_disable_rootport() a wrapper of another function, which could have been used both by aerdrv.c and my little hack — that would have been much more elegant.

Instead, I copied two additional static functions that are required by aer_disable_rootport() into aerdrv_errprint.c, and ended up with an ugly hack that solves the problem.

With all due shame, here’s the changes in patch format. It’s not intended to apply on your kernel as is. It’s more intended to be a guideline to how to get it done. And by all means, take a look on aerdrv.c’s relevant functions, and see if they’re different, by any chance.

From b007850486167288ea4c6c6a1bf30ddd1a299f24 Mon Sep 17 00:00:00 2001
From: Eli Billauer <>
Date: Sat, 17 Oct 2015 07:37:19 +0300
Subject: [PATCH] PCIe AER handler: Turn off interrupts from root port after 100 messages

 drivers/pci/pcie/aer/aerdrv_errprint.c |   78 ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
 1 files changed, 78 insertions(+), 0 deletions(-)

diff --git a/drivers/pci/pcie/aer/aerdrv_errprint.c b/drivers/pci/pcie/aer/aerdrv_errprint.c
index 167fe41..31a8572 100644
--- a/drivers/pci/pcie/aer/aerdrv_errprint.c
+++ b/drivers/pci/pcie/aer/aerdrv_errprint.c
@@ -20,6 +20,7 @@
 #include <linux/pm.h>
 #include <linux/suspend.h>
 #include <linux/cper.h>
+#include <linux/pcieport_if.h>

 #include "aerdrv.h"
 #include <ras/ras_event.h>
@@ -129,6 +130,74 @@ static const char *aer_agent_string[] = {
 	"Transmitter ID"

+/* Two functions copied from aerdrv.c, to prevent name space pollution */
+static int set_device_error_reporting(struct pci_dev *dev, void *data)
+	bool enable = *((bool *)data);
+	int type = pci_pcie_type(dev);
+	if ((type == PCI_EXP_TYPE_ROOT_PORT) ||
+	    (type == PCI_EXP_TYPE_UPSTREAM) ||
+	    (type == PCI_EXP_TYPE_DOWNSTREAM)) {
+		if (enable)
+			pci_enable_pcie_error_reporting(dev);
+		else
+			pci_disable_pcie_error_reporting(dev);
+	}
+	if (enable)
+		pcie_set_ecrc_checking(dev);
+	return 0;
+ * set_downstream_devices_error_reporting - enable/disable the error reporting  bits on the root port and its downstream ports.
+ * @dev: pointer to root port's pci_dev data structure
+ * @enable: true = enable error reporting, false = disable error reporting.
+ */
+static void set_downstream_devices_error_reporting(struct pci_dev *dev,
+						   bool enable)
+	set_device_error_reporting(dev, &enable);
+	if (!dev->subordinate)
+		return;
+	pci_walk_bus(dev->subordinate, set_device_error_reporting, &enable);
+/* Allow 100 messages, and then stop it. Since the print functions are called
+   from a work queue, it's safe to call anything, aer_disable_rootport()
+   included. */
+static int countdown = 100;
+/* aer_enough_is_enough() is a copy of aer_disable_rootport(), only the
+   latter requires to get the aer_rpc structure from the pci_dev structure,
+   and then uses it to get the pci_dev structure. So enough with that too.
+static void aer_enough_is_enough(struct pci_dev *pdev)
+	u32 reg32;
+	int pos;
+	dev_err(&pdev->dev, "Exceeded limit of AER errors to report. Turning off Root Port interrupts.\n");
+	set_downstream_devices_error_reporting(pdev, false);
+	pos = pci_find_ext_capability(pdev, PCI_EXT_CAP_ID_ERR);
+	/* Disable Root's interrupt in response to error messages */
+	pci_read_config_dword(pdev, pos + PCI_ERR_ROOT_COMMAND, &reg32);
+	pci_write_config_dword(pdev, pos + PCI_ERR_ROOT_COMMAND, reg32);
+	/* Clear Root's error status reg */
+	pci_read_config_dword(pdev, pos + PCI_ERR_ROOT_STATUS, &reg32);
+	pci_write_config_dword(pdev, pos + PCI_ERR_ROOT_STATUS, reg32);
 static void __print_tlp_header(struct pci_dev *dev,
 			       struct aer_header_log_regs *t)
@@ -168,6 +237,9 @@ void aer_print_error(struct pci_dev *dev, struct aer_err_info *info)
 	int layer, agent;
 	int id = ((dev->bus->number << 8) | dev->devfn);

+	if (!countdown--)
+		aer_enough_is_enough(dev);
 	if (!info->status) {
 		dev_err(&dev->dev, "PCIe Bus Error: severity=%s, type=Unaccessible, id=%04x(Unregistered Agent ID)\n",
 			aer_error_severity_string[info->severity], id);
@@ -200,6 +272,9 @@ out:

 void aer_print_port_info(struct pci_dev *dev, struct aer_err_info *info)
+	if (!countdown--)
+		aer_enough_is_enough(dev);
 	dev_info(&dev->dev, "AER: %s%s error received: id=%04x\n",
 		info->multi_error_valid ? "Multiple " : "",
 		aer_error_severity_string[info->severity], info->id);
@@ -226,6 +301,9 @@ void cper_print_aer(struct pci_dev *dev, int cper_severity,
 	u32 status, mask;
 	const char **status_strs;

+	if (!countdown--)
+		aer_enough_is_enough(dev);
 	aer_severity = cper_severity_to_aer(cper_severity);

 	if (aer_severity == AER_CORRECTABLE) {

And again — it’s given as a patch, but really, it’s not intended for application as is. If you need to do this yourself, read through the patch, understand what it does, and make the changes with respect to your own kernel. Or your system may just hang.

Reader Comments

You say that in retrospective you could make it more elegant. How ?

Written By Dan on November 19th, 2015 @ 01:24

I say the word “elegant” twice in this post. The second time, I explain what should have been done better.

Written By eli on November 19th, 2015 @ 09:41

Thanks for the tip. My workstation was hanging on shutdown with an endless stream of id=00e6. The pci=noaer parameter fixed me right up.

Written By Mo on January 18th, 2016 @ 22:30

Thanks for this.

Written By Chris on October 11th, 2016 @ 01:06

Fix the hardware !!

Written By Udit on July 13th, 2018 @ 09:37

Disable AER Correctable Errors log message *only for a specific device*:

Written By billg on July 10th, 2019 @ 16:02

Add a Comment

required, use real name
required, will not be published
optional, your blog address

Previose Post: