[lkml]   [2008]   [Nov]   [24]   [last100]   RSS Feed
Views: [wrap][no wrap]   [headers]  [forward] 
Messages in this thread
SubjectRe: regression introduced by - timers: fix itimer/many thread hang
Peter Zijlstra píše v Po 24. 11. 2008 v 10:33 +0100:
> On Mon, 2008-11-24 at 09:46 +0100, Petr Tesarik wrote:
> > Peter Zijlstra píše v Ne 23. 11. 2008 v 15:24 +0100:
> > >[...]
> > > The current (per-cpu) code is utterly broken on large machines too, I've
> > > asked SGI to run some tests on real numa machines (something multi-brick
> > > altix) and even moderately small machines with 256 cpus in them grind to
> > > a halt (or make progress at a snails pace) when the itimer stuff is
> > > enabled.
> > >
> > > Furthermore, I really dislike the per-process-per-cpu memory cost, it
> > > bloats applications and makes the new per-cpu alloc work rather more
> > > difficult than it already is.
> > >
> > > I basically think the whole process wide itimer stuff is broken by
> > > design, there is no way to make it work on reasonably large machines,
> > > the whole problem space just doesn't scale. You simply cannot maintain a
> > > global count without bouncing cachelines like mad, so you might as well
> > > accept it and do the process wide counter and bounce only a single line,
> > > instead of bouncing a line per-cpu.
> >
> > Very true. Unfortunately per-process itimers are prescribed by the
> > Single Unix Specification, so we have to cope with them in some way,
> > while not permitting a non-privileged process a DoS attack. This is
> > going to be hard, and we'll probably have to twist the specification a
> > bit to still conform to its wording. :((
> Feel like reading the actual spec and trying to come up with a creative
> interpretation? :-)

Yes, I've just spent a few hours doing that... And I feel very
depressed, as expected.

> > I really don't think it's a good idea to set a per-process ITIMER_PROF
> > to one timer tick on a large machine, but the kernel does allow any
> > process to do it, and then it can even cause hard freeze on some
> > hardware. This is _not_ acceptable.
> >
> > What is worse, we can't just limit the granularity of itimers, because
> > threads can come into being _after_ the itimer was set.
> Currently it has jiffy granularity, right? And jiffies are different
> depending on some compile time constant (HZ), so can't we, for the sake
> of per-process itimers, pretend to have a 1 minute jiffie?
> That should be as compliant as we are now, and utterly useless for
> everybody, thereby discouraging its use, hmm? :-)

I've got a copy of IEEE Std 10003.1-2004 here, and it suggests that this
should be generally possible. In particular, the description for
itimer_set says:

Implementations may place limitations on the granularity of timer values. For
each interval timer, if the requested timer value requires a finer granularity
than the implementation supports, the actual timer value shall be rounded up
to the next supported value.

However, it seems to be vaguely linked to CLOCK_PROCESS_CPUTIME_ID,
which is defined as:

The identifier of the CPU-time clock associated with the process making a
clock ( ) or timer*( ) function call.

POSIX does not specify whether this clock is identical to the one used
for setitimer et al., or not, but it seems logical that it should. Then,
the kernel should probably return the coarse granularity in
clock_getres(), too.

I tried to find out how this is currently implemented in Linux, and it's
broken. How else. :-/

1. clock_getres() always returns a resolution of 1ns

This is actually good news, because it means that nobody really cares
whether the actual granularity is greater, so I guess we can safely
return any bogus number in clock_getres().

What about using an actual granularity of NR_CPUS*HZ, which should be
safe for any (at least remotely) sane usage?

2. clock_gettime(CLOCK_PROCESS_CPUTIME_ID, &ts) returns -EINVAL

Should not happen. Looking further into it, I think this line in

switch (which_clock) {

should look like a similar line in cpu_clock_sample(), ie:

switch (CPUCLOCK_WHICH(which_clock)) {

Shall I send a patch?

Petr Tesarik

To unsubscribe from this list: send the line "unsubscribe linux-kernel" in
the body of a message to
More majordomo info at
Please read the FAQ at

 \ /
  Last update: 2008-11-24 13:35    [W:0.072 / U:2.288 seconds]
©2003-2018 Jasper Spaans|hosted at Digital Ocean and TransIP|Read the blog|Advertise on this site