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SubjectRe: [PATCH] percpu_counter: Fix __percpu_counter_sum()
On Sun, Dec 07, 2008 at 08:52:50PM -0800, Andrew Morton wrote:
> The first patch which was added (pre-2.6.27) was "percpu_counter: new
> function percpu_counter_sum_and_set". This added the broken-by-design
> percpu_counter_sum_and_set() function, **and used it in ext4**.

Mea culpa, I was the one who reviewed Mingming's patch, and missed
this. Part of the problem was that percpu_counter.c isn't well
documented, and I so saw the spinlock, but didn't realize it only
protected reference counter, and not the per-cpu array. I should have
read through code more thoroughly before approving the patch.

I suppose if we wanted we could add a rw spinlock which mediates
access to a "foreign" cpu counter (i.e., percpu_counter_add gets a
shared lock, and percpu_counter_set needs an exclusive lock) but it's
probably not worth it.

Actually, if all popular architectures had a hardware-implemented
atomic_t, I wonder how much ext4 really needs the percpu counter,
especially given ext4's multiblock allocator; with ext3, given that
each block allocation required taking a per-filesystem spin lock,
optimizing away that spinlock was far more important for improving
ext3's scalability. But with the multiblock allocator, it may that
we're going through a lot more effort than what is truly necessary.

- Ted

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