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    SubjectRe: [patch 0/4] mm: de-skew page refcount


    On Wed, 18 Jan 2006, Nick Piggin wrote:
    >
    > The following patchset (against 2.6.16-rc1 + migrate race fixes) uses the new
    > atomic ops to do away with the offset page refcounting, and simplify the race
    > that it was designed to cover.
    >
    > This allows some nice optimisations

    Why?

    The real downside is that "atomic_inc_nonzero()" is a lot more expensive
    than checking for zero on x86 (and x86-64).

    The reason it's offset is that on architectures that automatically test
    the _result_ of an atomic op (ie x86[-64]), it's easy to see when
    something _becomes_ negative or _becomes_ zero, and that's what

    atomic_add_negative
    atomic_inc_and_test

    are optimized for (there's also "atomic_dec_and_test()" which reacts on
    the count becoming zero, but that doesn't have a pairing: there's no way
    to react to the count becoming one for the increment operation, so the
    "atomic_dec_and_test()" is used for things where zero means "free it").

    Nothing else can be done that fast on x86. Everything else requires an
    insane "load, update, cmpxchg" sequence.

    So I disagree with this patch series. It has real downsides. There's a
    reason we have the offset.

    I suspect that whatever "nice optimizations" you have are quite doable
    without doing this count pessimization.

    Linus
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