[patch] mm: fix lockless pagecache reordering bug (was Re: BUG: soft lockup - is this XFS problem?)
Paul E. McKenney
paulmck at linux.vnet.ibm.com
Mon Jan 5 15:57:27 CST 2009
On Mon, Jan 05, 2009 at 12:39:14PM -0800, Linus Torvalds wrote:
> On Mon, 5 Jan 2009, Paul E. McKenney wrote:
> > My guess is that Nick believes that the value in *pslot cannot change
> > in such as way as to cause radix_tree_is_indirect_ptr()'s return value
> > to change within a given RCU grace period, and that Linus disagrees.
> Oh, it's entirely possible that there are some lifetime rules or others
> that make it impossible for things to go from "not indirect" ->
> "indirect". So if that was Nick's point, then I'm not "disagreeing" per
> What I'm disagreeing about is that Nick apparently thinks that this is all
> subtle code, and as a result we should add barriers in some very
> non-obvious places.
> While _I_ think that the problem isn't properly solved by barriers, but by
> just making the code less subtle. If the barrier only exists because of
> the reload issue, then the obvious solution - to me - is to just use what
> is already the proper accessor function that forces a nice reload. That
> way the compiler is forced to create code that does what the source
> clearly means it to do, regardless of any barriers at all.
> Barriers in general should be the _last_ thing added. And if they are
> added, they should be added as deeply in the call-chain as possible, so
> that we don't need to add them in multiple call-sites. Again, using the
> rcu_dereference() approach seems to solve that issue too - rather than add
> three barriers in three different places, we just add the proper
> dereference in _one_ place.
I don't have any argument with this line of reasoning, and am myself a bit
puzzled as to why rcu_dereference() isn't the right tool for Nick's job.
Then again, I don't claim to fully understand what he is trying to do.
> > Whatever the answer, I would argue for -at- -least- a comment explaining
> > why it is safe. I am not seeing the objection to rcu_dereference(), but
> > I must confess that it has been awhile since I have looked closely at
> > the radix_tree code. :-/
> And I'm actually suprised that gcc can generate the problematic code in
> the first place. I'd expect that a "atomic_add_unless()" would always be
> at LEAST a compiler barrier, even if it isn't necessarily a CPU memory
> But because we inline it, and because we allow gcc to see that it doesn't
> do anything if it gets just the right value from memory, I guess gcc ends
> up able to change the "for()" loop so that the first iteration can exit
> specially, and then for that case (and no other case) it can cache
> variables over the whole atomic_add_unless().
> Again, that's very fragile. The fact that Documentation/atomic_ops.txt
> says that the failure case doesn't contain any barriers is really _meant_
> to be about the architecture-specific CPU barriers, not so much about
> something as simple as a compiler re-ordering.
> So while I think that we should use rcu_dereference() (regardless of any
> other issues), I _also_ think that part of the problem really is the
> excessive subtlety in the whole code, and the (obviously very surprising)
> fact that gcc could end up caching an unrelated memory load across that
> whole atomic op.
> Maybe we should make atomics always imply a compiler barrier, even when
> they do not imply a memory barrier. The one exception would be the
> (special) case of "atomic_read()/atomic_set()", which don't really do any
> kind of complex operation at all, and where we really do want the compiler
> to be able to coalesce multiple atomic_reads() to a single one.
> In contrast, there's no sense in allowing the compiler to coalesce a
> "atomic_add_unless()" with anything else. Making it a compiler barrier
> (possibly by uninlining it, or just adding a barrier to it) would also
> have avoided the whole subtle case - which is always a good thing.
That makes a lot of sense to me!
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