Linux 5.19 to help report the physical location of a connected device

Support for sysfs to report the physical location of a device on the connected system/server is added to the main Linux kernel driver code. Especially for large systems and servers with many devices connected and where there may be multiple devices of the same type/model, this relative physical location relating to user space should make it easier to distinguish.

Google engineer Won Chung contributed sysfs support for reporting the physical location of a given device. This code is enqueued as part of the “-next” branch of the driver kernel before Linux kernel 5.19. Physical location information is exposed under /sys/devices/…/physical_location for supported devices. Within the physical location The folder then contains attributes such as the surface of the panel, if any, to which the device is connected, its vertical position, its horizontal position, if it is connected to a docking station and if it is on the lid of a laptop.

This physical location information with pending Linux patches is populated based on ACPI _PLD data. ACPI “_PLD” objects contain physical location description data. Various devices already support ACPI _PLD and this driver kernel patch is about to easily expose it on Linux to userspace via sysfs. ACPI PLD can expose more information whereas for this initial patch series it was limited to “minimum generic fields”, allowing it to more easily support non-ACPI devices in the future.

See more details with this fix in driver-core-next in front of Linux 5.19. This can be very useful for servers, systems with many devices attached, test farms with many devices attached for regression testing and other purposes, etc. to more easily confirm/find the physical location of a connected device.

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