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    SubjectRe: [rfc] SLOB memory ordering issue
    On Thursday 16 October 2008 04:10, Nick Piggin wrote:
    > On Thursday 16 October 2008 03:54, Matt Mackall wrote:
    > > On Thu, 2008-10-16 at 03:34 +1100, Nick Piggin wrote:
    > > > I think I see a possible memory ordering problem with SLOB:
    > > > In slab caches with constructors, the constructor is run
    > > > before returning the object to caller, with no memory barrier
    > > > afterwards.
    > > >
    > > > Now there is nothing that indicates the _exact_ behaviour
    > > > required here. Is it at all reasonable to expect ->ctor() to
    > > > be visible to all CPUs and not just the allocating CPU?
    > >
    > > Do you have a failure scenario in mind?
    > >
    > > First, it's a categorical mistake for another CPU to be looking at the
    > > contents of an object unless it knows that it's in an allocated state.
    > >
    > > For another CPU to receive that knowledge (by reading a causally-valid
    > > pointer to it in memory), a memory barrier has to occur, no?
    > No.
    > For (slightly bad) example. Some architectures have a ctor for their
    > page table page slabs. Not a bad thing to do.
    > Now they allocate these guys, take a lock, then insert them into the
    > page tables. The lock is only an acquire barrier, so it can leak past
    > stores.
    > The read side is all lockless and in some cases even done by hardware.
    > Now in _practice_, this is not a problem because some architectures
    > don't have ctors, and I spotted the issue and put proper barriers in
    > there. But it was a known fact that ctors were always used, and if I
    > had assumed ctors were barriers so didn't need the wmb, then there
    > would be a bug.
    > Especially the fact that a lock doesn't order the stores makes me
    > worried that a lockless read-side algorithm might have a bug here.
    > Fortunately, most of them use RCU and probably use rcu_assign_pointer
    > even if they do have ctors. But I can't be sure...

    OK, now I have something that'll blow your fuckin mind.


    [sets vma->anon_vma = anon_vma]

    [sees P0 already allocated it]
    [flushes page to lru]
    page_add_anon_rmap (increments mapcount)
    [sets page->anon_vma = anon_vma]

    find page from lru
    [loads anon_vma from page->anon_vma]

    Who was it that said memory ordering was self-evident?

    For everyone else:

    P1 sees P0's store to vma->anon_vma, then P2 sees P1's store
    to page->anon_vma (among others), but P2 does not see P0's ctor
    store to initialise anon_vma->lock.

    And there seems like another bug there too, but just a plain control
    race rather than strictly[*] a data race, P0 is executing list_add_tail
    of vma to anon_vma->head at some point here too, so even assuming
    we're running on a machine with transitive store ordering, then the
    above race can't hit, then P2 subsequently wants to run a
    list_for_each_entry over anon_vma->head while P0 is in the process of
    modifying it.

    Am I the one who's bamboozled, or can anyone confirm?

     \ /
      Last update: 2008-10-15 20:09    [W:0.025 / U:1.036 seconds]
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