Re: [PATCH] mm: list_lru: fix almost infinite loop causing effectivelivelock

From: Dave Chinner
Date: Wed Oct 30 2013 - 17:27:14 EST

On Wed, Oct 30, 2013 at 12:49:05PM -0700, Linus Torvalds wrote:
> On Wed, Oct 30, 2013 at 7:16 AM, Russell King - ARM Linux
> <linux@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> >
> > So, if *nr_to_walk was zero when this function was entered, that means
> > we're wanting to operate on (~0UL)+1 objects - which might as well be
> > infinite.
> >
> > Clearly this is not correct behaviour. If we think about the behaviour
> > of this function when *nr_to_walk is 1, then clearly it's wrong - we
> > decrement first and then test for zero - which results in us doing
> > nothing at all. A post-decrement would give the desired behaviour -
> > we'd try to walk one object and one object only if *nr_to_walk were
> > one.
> >
> > It also gives the correct behaviour for zero - we exit at this point.
> Good analysis.
> I actually think even your version is very dangerous, because we pass
> in the *address* to that count, and the only real reason to do that is
> because we might call it in a loop, and we want the function to update
> that count.
> And even your version still underflows from 0 to really-large-count.
> It *returns* when underflow happens, but you end up with the counter
> updated to a large value, and then anybody who uses it later would be
> screwed.
> See, for example, the inline list_lru_walk() function in <linux/list_lru.h>
> So I think we should either change that "unsigned long" to just
> "long", and then check for "<= 0" (like list_lru_walk() already does),
> or we should do
> if (!*nr_to_walk)
> break;
> --*nr_to_walk;
> to make sure that we never do that underflow.

Yup, I missed that case. Thanks for finding and fixing it.

> I will modify your patch to do the latter, since it's the smaller
> change, but I suspect we should think about making that thing signed.

Yeah, I'll look into it. The shrinker API itself only ever feeds
shrinkctl->batch to it so we shouldn't ever have overflow problems
from that perspective...


Dave Chinner
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