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SubjectRe: [RFC, PATCH -rt] NMI-safe mb- and atomic-free RT RCU

On Thu, 27 Jul 2006, Paul E. McKenney wrote:

> On Thu, Jul 27, 2006 at 05:48:57PM -0700, Bill Huey wrote:
>> On Thu, Jul 27, 2006 at 05:02:31PM -0700, Paul E. McKenney wrote:
>>> On Thu, Jul 27, 2006 at 12:53:56PM -0700, Bill Huey wrote:
>>>> On Thu, Jul 27, 2006 at 08:46:37AM -0700, Paul E. McKenney wrote:
>>>>> A possible elaboration would be to keep a linked list of tasks preempted
>>>>> in their RCU read-side critical sections so that they can be further
>>>>> boosted to the highest possible priority (numerical value of zero,
>>>>> not sure what the proper symbol is) if the grace period takes too many
>>>>> jiffies to complete. Another piece is priority boosting when blocking
>>>>> on a mutex from within an RCU read-side critical section.
>>>> I'm not sure how folks feel about putting something like that in the
>>>> scheduler path since it's such a specialized cases. Some of the scheduler
>>>> folks might come out against this.
>>> They might well. And the resulting discussion might reveal a better
>>> way. Or it might well turn out that the simple approach of boosting
>>> to an intermediate level without the list will suffice.
>> Another thing. What you mention above is really just having a set of owners
>> for the read side and not really a preemption list tracking thing with RCU
>> and special scheduler path. The more RCU does this kind of thing the more
>> it's just like a traditional read/write lock but with more parallelism since
>> it's holding on to read side owners on a per CPU basis.
> There are certainly some similarities between a priority-boosted RCU
> read-side critical section and a priority-boosted read-side rwlock.
> In theory, the crucial difference is that as long as one has sufficient
> memory, one can delay priority-boosting the RCU read-side critical
> sections without hurting update-side latency (aside from the grace period
> delays, of course).
> So I will no doubt be regretting my long-standing advice to use
> synchronize_rcu() over call_rcu(). Sooner or later someone will care
> deeply about the grace-period latency. In fact, I already got some
> questions about that at this past OLS. ;-)

Yick!! Do people really expect these things to finish in a predictable
amount of time?
This reminds me of C++ hackers starting to code Java. They want to use the
finalizer to close files etc. just as they use the destructor in C++, but
can't understand that they have to wait until the garbage collector has
RCU is a primitive kind of garbage collector. You should never depend on
how long it is about doing it's work, just that it will get done at some


>> This was close to the idea I had for extending read/write locks to be more
>> parallel friendly for live CPUs, per CPU owner bins on individual cache lines
>> (I'll clarify if somebody asks), but the use of read/write locks is seldom
>> and in non-critical places, so just moving the code fully to RCU would be a
>> better solution. The biggest problem is to scan or denote to some central
>> structure (task struct, lock struct) when you were either in or out of the
>> reader section without costly atomic operations. That's a really huge cost
>> as you know already (OLS slides).
> Yep -- create something sort of like brlock, permitting limited read-side
> parallelism, and also permitting the current exclusive-lock priority
> inheritance to operate naturally.
> Easy enough to do with per-CPU variables if warranted. Although the
> write-side lock-acquisition latency can get a bit ugly, since you have
> to acquire N locks.
> I expect that we all (myself included) have a bit of learning left to
> work out the optimal locking strategy so as to provide both realtime
> latency and performance/scalability. ;-)
> Thanx, Paul
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