Re: [patch] mm: fix anon_vma races

From: Hugh Dickins
Date: Fri Oct 17 2008 - 20:13:42 EST

On Fri, 17 Oct 2008, Linus Torvalds wrote:
> On Fri, 17 Oct 2008, Hugh Dickins wrote:
> >
> > My problem is really with the smp_read_barrier_depends() you each
> > have in anon_vma_prepare(). But the only thing which its CPU
> > does with the anon_vma is put its address into a struct page
> > (or am I forgetting more?). Wouldn't the smp_read_barrier_depends()
> > need to be, not there in anon_vma_prepare(), but over on the third
> > CPU, perhaps in page_lock_anon_vma()?
> I thought about it, but it's a disaster from a maintenance standpoint to
> put it there, rather than make it all clear in the _one_ function that
> actually does things optimistically.
> I agree that it's a bit subtle the way I did it (haven't seen Nick's
> patch, I assume he was upset at me for shouting at him), but that's part
> of why I put that comment in there and said things are subtle.

Nick's patch was below in the mail you're replying to - I expect
it looked so much like yours, that at a glance you thought it was
yours - though there are little differences.

(Yes, I think he felt he'd make more progress by backing away from
your harangues and taking cover with a patch to linux-mm - though
surely you were right that his original ctor angle was mistaken.)

> Anyway, technically you're right: the smp_read_barrier_depends() really
> would be more obvious in the place where we actually fetch that "anon_vma"
> pointer again and actually derefernce it.
> - there are potentially multiple places that do that, and putting it in
> the anon_vma_prepare() thing not only matches things with the
> smp_wmb(), making that whole pairing much more obvious, but it also
> means that we're guaranteed that any anon_vma user will have done the
> smp_read_barrier_depends(), since they all have to do that prepare
> thing anyway.

No, it's not so that any anon_vma user would have done the
smp_read_barrier_depends() placed in anon_vma_prepare().

Anyone faulting in a page would have done it (swapoff? that
assumes it's been done, let's not worry about it right now).

But they're doing it to make the page's ptes accessible to
memory reclaim, and the CPU doing memory reclaim will not
(unless by coincidence) have done that anon_vma_prepare() -
it's just reading the links which the faulters are providing.

But I've given up thought for the night, will leave digesting
all you've written until morning, just wanted to point that
out before sleeping.


> So putting it there is simpler and gives better guarantees, and pairs
> up the barriers better.
> - Now, "simpler" (etc) is no help if it doesn't work, so now I have to
> convince you that it's _sufficient_ to do that "read_barrier_depends()"
> early, even if we then end up re-doing the first read and thus the
> "depends" part doesn't work any more. So "simpler" is all good, but not
> if it's incorrect.
> And I admit it, here my argument is one of implementation. The fact is,
> the only architecture where "read_barrier_depends()" exists at all as
> anything but a no-op is alpha, and there it's a full read barrier. On
> all other architectures, causality implies a read barrier anyway, so
> for them, placement (or non-placement) of the smp_read_barrier_depends
> is a total non-issue.
> And so, since on the only architecture where it could possibly matter,
> that _depends thing turns into a full read barrier, and since
> "anon_vma" is actually stable since written, and since the only
> ordering constrain is that initial ordering of seeing the "anon_vma"
> turn non-NULL, you may as well think of that "read_barrier_depends()"
> as a full read barrier between the _original_ read of the anon_vma
> pointer and then the read of the lock data we want to protect.
> Which it is, on alpha. And that is sufficient. IOW, think of it as a
> real read_barrier(), with no dependency thing, but that only happens
> when an architecture doesn't already guarantee the causality barrier.
> And once you think of it as a "smp_rmb() for alpha", you realize that
> it's perfectly ok for it to be where it is.
> Anyway, lockless is bad. It would certainly be a *lot* simpler to just
> take the page_table_lock around the whole thing, except I think we really
> *really* don't want to do that. That thing is solidly in a couple of
> *very* timing-critical routines. Doing another lock there is just not an
> option.
> Linus
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