Re: [PATCH -next] ashmem: Fix ashmem_shrink deadlock.

From: Andrew Morton
Date: Thu May 16 2013 - 13:19:23 EST

On Thu, 16 May 2013 13:08:17 -0400 Robert Love <rlove@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> On Thu, May 16, 2013 at 12:45 PM, Andrew Morton
> <akpm@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> > A better approach would be to add a new __GFP_NOSHRINKERS, but it's all
> > variations on a theme.
> I don't like this proposal, either. Many of the existing GFP flags
> already exist to prevent recurse into that flag's respective shrinker.
> This problem seems a rare proper use of mutex_trylock.

Not really. The need for a trylock is often an indication that a
subsystem has a locking misdesign. That is indeed the case here.

> > The mutex_trylock(ashmem_mutex) will actually have the best
> > performance, because it skips the least amount of memory reclaim
> > opportunities.
> Right.
> > But it still sucks! The real problem is that there exists a lock
> > called "ashmem_mutex", taken by both the high-level mmap() and by the
> > low-level shrinker. And taken by everything else too! The ashmem
> > locking is pretty crude...
> The locking is "crude" because I optimized for space, not time, and
> there was (and is) no indication we were suffering lock contention due
> to the global lock. I haven't thought through the implications of
> pushing locking into the ashmem_area and ashmem_range objects, but it
> does look like we'd end up often grabbing all of the locks ...
> > What is the mutex_lock() in ashmem_mmap() actually protecting? I don't
> > see much, apart from perhaps some incidental races around the contents
> > of the file's ashmem_area, and those could/should be protected by a
> > per-object lock, not a global one?
> ... but not, as you note, in ashmem_mmap. The main race there is
> around the allocation of asma->file. That could definitely be a lock
> local to ashmem_area. I'm OK if anyone wants to take that on but it
> seems a lot of work for a driver with an unclear future.

Well, it's not exactly a ton of work, but adding a per-ashmem_area lock
to protect ->file would rather be putting lipstick on a pig. I suppose
we can put the trylock in there and run away, but it wouldn't hurt to
drop in a big fat comment somewhere explaining that the driver should be
migrated to a per-object locking scheme.

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