Re: [RFC PATCH 0/2] return value from shrinkers

From: Oskar Andero
Date: Thu May 16 2013 - 03:52:17 EST

On 01:05 Thu 16 May , Andrew Morton wrote:
> On Mon, 13 May 2013 16:16:33 +0200 Oskar Andero <oskar.andero@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> > In a previous discussion on lkml it was noted that the shrinkers use the
> > magic value "-1" to signal that something went wrong.
> >
> > This patch-set implements the suggestion of instead using errno.h values
> > to return something more meaningful.
> >
> > The first patch simply changes the check from -1 to any negative value and
> > updates the comment accordingly.
> >
> > The second patch updates the shrinkers to return an errno.h value instead
> > of -1. Since this one spans over many different areas I need input on what is
> > a meaningful return value. Right now I used -EBUSY on everything for consitency.
> >
> > What do you say? Is this a good idea or does it make no sense at all?
> I don't see much point in it, really. Returning an errno implies that
> the errno will eventually be returned to userspace. But that isn't the
> case, so such a change is somewhat misleading.

Yes. Glauber Costa pointed that out and I agree - errno.h is probably not
the right way to go.

> If we want the capability to return more than a binary yes/no message
> to callers then yes, we could/should enumerate the shrinker return
> values. But as that is a different concept from errnos, it should be
> done with a different and shrinker-specific namespace.

Agreed, but even if there right now is only a binary return message, is a
hardcoded -1 considered to be acceptable for an interface? IMHO, it is not
very readable nor intuitive for the users of the interface. Why not, as you
mention, add a define or enum in shrinker.h instead, e.g. SHRINKER_STOP or

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