Re: cancel_delayed_work and its use of del_timer_sync

From: Oleg Nesterov
Date: Mon Aug 24 2009 - 13:52:52 EST

Hi Dmitry,

(add Roland and Stefan)

On 08/23, Dmitry Torokhov wrote:
> I noticed that you went back and forth on using del_timer() vs.
> del_timer_sync() in cancel_delayed_work(), finally settling on using
> del_timer_sync().

Yes. del_timer() can't work when the user does something like



Perhaps we can add __cancel_delayed_work() which uses del_timer(), most
callers don't really need del_timer_sync. I dunno.

> I must say that the fact that cancel_delayed_work()
> might sleep

Just in case, it can spin, but not sleep

> (given that there exists cancel_delayed_work_sync) catches a
> few drivers writers by surprise. Moreover it makes delayed works
> unsuitable in cases when we do want to cancel (so we can reschedule)
> work in an interrupt context.

Yep. it is not useable from irq. But only because nobody removed
"#ifdef CONFIG_SMP" from set_running_timer(). I guess I should send a
patch finally.

> it is possible to have a reschedule_delayed_work() taht would do a
> "soft" cancel and [re]submit the work. In the use cases I am concerned
> about we don't really care if work is not reliably cancelled, we just
> need to be able to schedule it earlier if it has already been scheduled
> for execution in some point in the future.

Well. this depends on how "soft" should be that cancel.

Consider the auto-rearming delayed work, its work->func() calls
queue_delayed_work(self, BIG_DELAY). The caller of requeue_work(SMALL_DELAY)
preempts cwq->thread right after it sets _PENDING.

Now, what should requeue_work() do ? Even if the requeue_work() and
work->func() run on different CPUs, in this case requeue_ must spin.

So. It is easy to create requeue_work() which never sleeps/spins, but
it can return the error in case it hits the queueing in progress.

Is it OK?

And another question, should it cancel (without sleep/spin) this dwork
if the timer has expired, the work is pending, but its ->func() has not
started yet?


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