Sysmem initially will run in the platoform bus driver‘s devhost process, because driver to driver communication is currently easiest when a driver with incoming connections runs there. Later on, it’ll run in its own devhost.
Sysmem code must not fail the whole process, only failing/closing the specific context that failed, because multiple clients in general will be connected to the process that sysmem is running in (among other reasons).
A child driver of the platform bus driver can connect to sysmem by the client being instantiated with the TBD_SYSMEM protocol, which loads the sysmem client proxy driver into the client driver‘s devhost process. Or, the child driver may also be loaded directly into the platform bus driver’s devhost process. Either way, the client driver requests the TBD_SYSMEM protocol to get a limited C ABI protocol that allows sending sysmem the server end of a fuchsia.sysmem.Allocator channel. The client driver can then make FIDL requests using the client end of that channel.
A zircon non-driver (aka “user mode”) process (such as virtcon) can connect to sysmem by requesting fuchsia.sysmem.Allocator service (from among zircon services), and make requests using the client end of that channel (like a normal service request). This is achieved via a sysmem zircon service that brokers the FIDL protocol request through to the sysmem driver.
A garnet (etc) non-driver program can connect to sysmem by requesting fuchsia.sysmem.Allocator service (from among garnet services), and make requests using the client end of that channel. This is achieved by having svcmgr garnet code broker the sysmem protocol request through to the zircon sysmem service which in turn sends the request to the sysmem zircon driver.
This way, all of the following categories of clients (potential participants) can connect to sysmem:
Regardless of how a client connects, the client ends up with a fuchsia.sysmem.Allocator client channel, on which FIDL requests can be made.
Fidl is served from the sysmem driver, including async request completion, by using SimpleBinding<>, which together with FIDL C generated code acts a lot like Binding<> does when used with FIDL C++ generated code.
The sysmem protocol is meant to allow clients using the generated FIDL C code to make requests which may not immediately complete without blocking a client thread.
The generated FIDL C code has no way to make a request that has a response without blocking a client thread, and does not generate code to receive and dispatch FIDL events.
For this reason, all requests that have a response are optional - there is always a non-blocking way to achieve the same thing. However, this means that to avoid blocking, the client must act as a server/stub for BufferCollectionEvents, and send the client end of a BufferCollectionEvents channel using BufferCollection.SetEventSink().
The generated FIDL C code requires Layout=“Simple”, so all sysmem protocols conform to that. This means that any time there would normally be a nullable field x, there's instead a “bool has_x;” immediately before that logically nullable field x to indicate whether x is logically null (false) or logically non-null (true).
See comments in allocator_2.fidl and related files.