Re: sequence lock in Linux

From: H. Peter Anvin
Date: Fri Jun 11 2010 - 17:06:47 EST

On 06/11/2010 01:36 PM, Paul E. McKenney wrote:
> The reason that the C standard permits this is to allow for things like
> 8-bit CPUs, which are simply unable to load or store 32-bit quantities
> except by doing it chunkwise. But I don't expect the Linux kernel to
> boot on these, and certainly not on any of the ones that I have used!
> I most definitely remember seeing a gcc guarantee that loads and stores
> would be done in one instruction whenever the hardware supported this,
> but I am not finding it today. :-(

What gcc does not -- and should not -- guarantee is that accessing a
non-volatile member is done exactly once. As Mathieu pointed out, it
can choose to drop it due to register pressure and load it again.

What is possibly a much bigger risk -- since this is an inline -- is
that the value is cached from a previous piece of code, *or* that since
the structure is const(!) that the second read in the repeat loop is
elided. Presumably current versions of gcc don't do that across a
memory clobber, but that doesn't seem entirely out of the question.

To unsubscribe from this list: send the line "unsubscribe linux-kernel" in
the body of a message to majordomo@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
More majordomo info at
Please read the FAQ at