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SubjectRe: Broke nice range for RLIMIT NICE
Hello Matt,

> > I'm guessing that it was you that added the RLIMIT_NICE resource
> > limit in 2.6.12.
>
> The original patch was from Chris Wright, but I did most of the
> cheerleading for it.

Okay -- thanks for the pointer. There was no record of the
pach in the (incomplete-because-of-git-changeover) changelog
for 2.6.12...

> > (A passing note to all kernel developers: when
> > making changes that affect userland-kernel interfaces, please
> > send me a man-pages patch, or at least a notification of the
> > change, so that some information makes its way into the manual
> > pages).
>
> You might want to make an effort to make yourself more visible around
> here. Most of us have no idea that anyone's actually trying to
> maintain the manpages or who that might be.

Fair comment. I do appear now and then here, but I'll try to be
a litle more noisy from now on...

> > I started documenting RLIMIT_NICE and then noticed an
> > inconsistency between the use of this limit and the nice
> > value as manipulated by [sg]etpriority().
> >
> > This is the documentation I've drafted for RLIMIT_NICE
> > in getrlimit.2:
> >
> > RLIMIT_NICE(since kernel 2.6.12)
> > Specifies a ceiling to which the process nice
> > value can be raised using setpriority(2) or
> > nice(2). The actual ceiling for the nice value is
> > calculated as 19 - rlim_cur.
> > ^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> >
> > And recently I've redrafted the discussion of the nice value
> > in getpriority.2 and it now reads:
> >
> > Since kernel 1.3.43 Linux has the range -20..19.
> > Within the kernel, nice values are actually repre-
> > sented using the corresponding range 40..1 (since
> > negative numbers are error codes) and these are the
> > values employed by the setpriority and getpriority
> > system calls. The glibc wrapper functions for
> > these system calls handle the translations between
> > the user-land and kernel representations of the
> > nice value according to the formula
> > user_nice = 20 - kernel_nice.
> > ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> >
> > In other words, there is an off-by-one mismatch between
> > these two interfaces: RLIMIT_NICE is expecting to deal
> > with values in the range 39..0, while [gs]etpriority()
> > works with the range 40..1.
> >
> > I suppose that glibc could paper over the cracks here in
> > a wrapper for getrlimit(), but it seems more sensible
> > to make RLIMIT_NICE consistent with [gs]etpriority() --
> > i.e., change the RLIMIT_NICE interface in 2.6.13 before it
> > sees wide use in userland. What do you think?

[I I should have added here, that looking at the latest
glibc snapshot, RLIMIT_NICE still isn't present, so still
not very visible to user-land.]

> Well, it's easy enough to do, but some thought has to be given to the
> corner cases. Specifically, does this do the right thing when the
> rlimit is set to zero? I think it does, as the nice range is nicely
> bound here:
>
> nice = PRIO_TO_NICE(current->static_prio) + increment;
> if (nice < -20)
> nice = -20;
> if (nice > 19)
> nice = 19;
>
> if (increment < 0 && !can_nice(current, nice))
> return -EPERM;
>
> And we allow task to do negative increment. Chris?

Yes, I believe it is safely bounded also.

> The other downside is, this obviously changes any existing configs
> actually using this by one nice level..

I don't expect there are likely to be any existing yet.

> Index: l/kernel/sched.c
> ===================================================================
> --- l.orig/kernel/sched.c 2005-06-22 17:55:14.000000000 -0700
> +++ l/kernel/sched.c 2005-07-28 22:55:54.000000000 -0700
> @@ -3231,8 +3231,8 @@ EXPORT_SYMBOL(set_user_nice);
> */
> int can_nice(const task_t *p, const int nice)
> {
> - /* convert nice value [19,-20] to rlimit style value [0,39] */
> - int nice_rlim = 19 - nice;
> + /* convert nice value [19,-20] to rlimit style value [1,40] */
> + int nice_rlim = 20 - nice;
> return (nice_rlim <= p->signal->rlim[RLIMIT_NICE].rlim_cur ||
> capable(CAP_SYS_NICE));
> }

Thanks.

Cheers,

Michael

--
Michael Kerrisk
maintainer of Linux man pages Sections 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7

Want to help with man page maintenance? Grab the latest
tarball at ftp://ftp.win.tue.nl/pub/linux-local/manpages/
and grep the source files for 'FIXME'.
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