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SubjectRe: [RFC,PATCH 14/14] utrace core
On Sun, 2009-12-13 at 16:25 -0800, Roland McGrath wrote:
> I'm sorry for the delay. I'm picking up with responding to the parts of
> your review that I did not include in my first reply. I appreciate very
> much the discussion you've had with Oleg about the issues that I did not
> address myself. I look forward to your replies to my comments in that
> first reply, which we have yet to see.

Yeah, no worries, I'm not too quick these days myself..

> > Seems inconsistent on u32 vs enum utrace_resume_action.
> >
> > Why force enum utrace_resume_action into a u32?
> The first argument to almost all callbacks (all the ones made when the
> task is alive) is called "action" and it's consistent that its low bits
> contain an enum utrace_resume_action. The argument is "u32 action" in
> the report_signal and report_syscall_entry callbacks, where it combines
> an enum utrace_resume_action with an enum utrace_{signal,syscall}_action
> (respectively). It would indeed be more consistent to use "u32 action"
> throughout, but it seemed nicer not to have engine writers always
> writing "utrace_resume_action(action)" for all the cases where there are
> no other bits in there.

C does implicit casts from enum to integer types, right? So always using
u32 here would not impose any extra typing on the user, or am I missing
something subtle here?

> The return value is a mirror of the "u32 action" argument. In many
> calls, it has only an enum utrace_resume_action in it. But in some it
> combines that with another enum utrace_*_action. There I went for
> consistency (and less typing) in the return type, since it doesn't make
> any difference to how you have to write the code in your callback
> function. The main reason I used "u32" at all instead of "unsigned int"
> is just its shortness for less typing.
> I don't really mind changing these details to whatever people think is
> best. The other people writing code to use the utrace API may have more
> opinions than I do. I guess it could even be OK to make the return
> value and "action" argument always a plain enum utrace_resume_action,
> and use a second in/out "enum utrace_{signal,syscall}_action *"
> parameter in those particular calls. But that does put some more
> register pressure and loads/stores into this API.

I don't mind the sharing of the argument, it just looked odd to have the
u32/unsigned int/enum thing intermixed, since you care about typing
length (as good a criteria as any) I'd just be lazy and make everything
u32 ;-)

> > Quite gross this.. can't we key off the
> > tracehoook_report_clone_complete() and use a wakeup there?
> Yes, we intended to clean this up at some point later. But doing that
> is just a distraction and complication right now so we put it off. For
> this case, however, I suppose we could just punt for the initial version.
> This code exists to support the special semantics of calling
> utrace_attach_task() from inside the parent's report_clone() callback.
> That guarantees the parent that it wins any race with any third thread
> calling utrace_attach_task().

> This guarantees it will be first attacher
> in the callback order, but the general subject of callback order is
> already something we think we will want to revisit in the future after
> we have more experience with lots of different engines trying to work
> together.

> It's most meaningful when using the UTRACE_ATTACH_EXCLUSIVE
> to synchronize with other threads trying to attach the same kind of
> engine to a task, and give special priority in that to the engine that
> attaches in report_clone() from tracing the parent.

I broke the text so it reads easier for me, it might be me, it might not
be proper English -- I'm not a native speaker -- but this is an example
of what you asked for below.

The thing is, your sentences are rather long, with lots of sub-parts and
similar. I find I need a break after digesting a few such things.

As to the content, can't you accomplish the same thing by processing
such exclusive parent registration before exposing the child in the
pid-hash? Right before cgroup_fork_callback() in
kernel/fork.c:copy_process() seems like the ideal site.

> Really I came up with this special semantics originally just with ptrace
> in mind. ptrace is an engine that wants to exclude other tracer threads
> attaching asynchronously with the same kind of engine, and that wants to
> give special priority on a child to the parent's tracer (to implement
> PTRACE_O_TRACECLONE et al). However, Oleg's current ptrace code still
> relies on the old hard-coded locking kludges to exclude the separate
> attachers and to magically privilege the auto-attach from the parent's
> tracer. So we are not relying on this special semantics yet.
> We could just punt utrace_attach_delay() and remove the associated
> documentation about the special rights of report_clone() calling
> utrace_attach_task(). If we decide it helps clean things up later when
> we finish more cleanup of the ptrace world, then we can add the fancy
> semantics back in later.

Best would be to fix up the utrace-ptrace implementation and get rid of
those other kludges I think, not sure.. its all a bit involved and I'm
not at all sure I'm fully aware of all the ptrace bits.

> > Does this really need the inline?
> It has one caller and that call is unconditional.

Won't gcc inline it anyway in that case?

> > Asymmetric locking like this is really better not done, and looking at
> > the callsites its really no bother to clean that up, arguably even makes
> > them saner.
> By "assymetric" you mean that utrace_reap releases a lock (as the
> __releases annotation indicates). As should be obvious from the code, the
> unlock is done before the loop that does ->report_reap callbacks and
> utrace_engine_put() (which can make ->release callbacks). Surely you are
> not suggesting that all these callbacks should be made with a spin lock
> held, because that would obviously be quite insane.

Because there can be many engines attached?

> I tried splitting utrace_reap() into two functions, so the callers make the
> first call, then unlock, and then make the second call. Both callers do
> this identically, so this just replaces
> utrace_reap(task, utrace);
> with:
> prepare_utrace_reap(task, utrace);
> spin_unlock(&utrace->lock);
> finish_utrace_reap(task, utrace);
> in two places. That change adds 13 source lines and 71 bytes of compiled
> text (x86-64). Is that what you had in mind?

Or in case of utrace_reap() maybe push the spin_lock() into it?

> > > + /*
> > > + * If ptrace is among the reasons for this stop, do its
> > > + * notification now. This could not just be done in
> > > + * ptrace's own event report callbacks because it has to
> > > + * be done after we are in TASK_TRACED. This makes the
> > > + * synchronization with ptrace_do_wait() work right.
> > > + */
> > > + ptrace_notify_stop(task);
> >
> > Well, this is a bit disappointing isn't it? So we cannot implement
> > ptrace on utrace without special purpose hooks?
> It's more of an issue that ptrace is built around special-purpose hooks
> in wait. We do intend to clean this up later. But it is as much about
> cleaning up the remaining deep insanity of the old ptrace implementation
> as about giving utrace better facilities for this wrinkle of
> synchronization.

> I don't doubt that the utrace API will get some
> changes and improvements along the way as we move incrementally to all
> of the ptrace internals being done in as clean and sane fashion as the
> legacy ptrace userland ABI makes possible. But Oleg has not yet gotten
> to that part of the the ptrace cleanup, and the actual problem that
> necessitates this kludge for ptrace is not an issue at all for many
> other uses of utrace that don't have to tie into a broken old model of
> things.

> So being perfectly clean here is not something we should even
> think we know how best to do yet, since there has been so little real
> call for it. It would be counterproductive to make this perfection an
> obstacle to incremental merging of the current utrace pieces that
> already enable other kinds of new functionality.

Well, yes and no. Also I'm in no way a gate-keeper for acceptance of
this code, I just went through it and pointed out things I found 'odd'
about it.

The major improvement this utrace stuff brings over the old ptrace is
that it fully multiplexes the task tracing bits, however if the new bit
isn't powerful enough to express all of the old bits with that then that
seems to take the shine of the new bits.

I'm well aware that ptrace had some quirky bits in, and this might well
be one of the crazier parts of it, but to the un-initiated reviewer (me)
this could have done with a comment explaining exactly why this
particular site is not worth properly abstracting etc..

That is, you're presenting a patch for merger and have the wish that
people read it, yet half the comments on the rather brittle barrier
logic were incomplete or even flat out wrong and things like this are
not explained.

That does not paint a convincing picture.

> > If its a programming error, WARN_ON might be appropriate, no point in
> > being nice about it.
> Sure, except that any WARN_ON shows up as "oops in utrace.c" and then
> people think the bug is in utrace rather than in the caller.

Not if the comment right above the WARN_ON() says that its a clueless
caller.. but if you're really worried about it, use something like:

WARN(cond, "Dumb-ass caller\n");

> > Its not entirely clear why we can check pending_attach outside of the
> > utrace->lock and not be racy.
> I think it can be racy sometimes but that does not matter.
> Maybe Oleg can verify my logic here. If it's right, he can
> add some comments to make it more clear.
> There is only a very limited sort of "timeliness" guarantee about
> getting your callbacks after utrace_attach_task()+utrace_set_events().
> If you know somehow that the task was definitely still in TASK_STOPPED
> or TASK_TRACED after utrace_attach_task() returned, then your engine
> gets all possible callbacks starting from when it resumes.

> Otherwise,
> you can use utrace_control() with UTRACE_REPORT to ask to get some
> callback "pretty soon". The only callback events you are ever 100%
> guaranteed about (after success return from utrace_set_events()) are for
> DEATH and REAP, which have an unconditional lock-and-check before making
> engine callbacks.

OK, so in this case its a best effort thing, and any races are

> In the stopped cases, there are lots of locks and barriers and things
> after resuming. (Oleg?)
> In the "pretty soon" case, that means set_notify_resume:
> if (!test_and_set_tsk_thread_flag(task, TIF_NOTIFY_RESUME))
> kick_process(task);
> i.e. IPI after test_and_set. The test_and_set implies an smp_mb().
> So it should be the case that the set of utrace->pending_attach was seen
> before the set of TIF_NOTIFY_RESUME.

Not exactly sure where the matching rmb() would come from in
start_report() and friends -- task_utrace_struct() ?

> In a race where the tracee just
> saw utrace->pending_attach==0, then it has TIF_NOTIFY_RESUME set still
> (or again), and so will go around again before getting back to user mode.
> > > + if (!engine_wants_stop(engine)) {
> > > + spin_lock(&utrace->lock);
> > > + /*
> > > + * If utrace_control() came in and detached us
> > > + * before we got the lock, we must not stop now.
> > > + */
> > > + if (unlikely(engine->ops == &utrace_detached_ops))
> > > + report->detaches = true;
> > > + else
> > > + mark_engine_wants_stop(task, engine);
> > > + spin_unlock(&utrace->lock);
> > > + }
> > > +}
> >
> > I'm pretty sure that inline isn't really needed.
> You mean mark_engine_wants_stop? You prefer repeating the two lines of
> code to using a helper to encapsulate the magic? Really?


+static inline void finish_callback_report(struct task_struct *task,

That function looks rather large for an inline, and if its a single
callsite gcc will inline it anyway due to that static thing.

> > Simply cond_resched() is sufficient, but that comment sucks, as it
> > doesn't mention _why_ it is a good place.
> >
> > It seems to turn out that finish_callback() is always the last thing we
> > do in the engine iterations in REPORT_CALLBACKS() and
> > utrace_get_signal().
> Oh, sorry. I didn't realize it wasn't obvious that finish_callback() is
> called after every engine callback, given its name. I've changed it to:

Yeah, the name does seem to suggest some 'finish' of sorts, but it
wasn't clear until I traced its callchain back a little that it was the
tail of the for-each-engine loop.

> /*
> * We've just done an engine callback. These are allowed to sleep,
> * though all well-behaved ones restrict that to blocking kalloc()
> * or quickly-acquired mutex_lock() and the like. This is a good
> * place to make sure tracing engines don't introduce too much
> * latency under voluntary preemption.
> */
> might_sleep();

Right, might_sleep() captures more cases.

> > Also the documentation needs more whitespace, its very hard to digest in
> > its current form.
> Please make specific suggestions of exactly where you want what changes. I
> tend to use paragraph breaks between groups of sentences that work together
> interdependently to communicate a single idea, like they taught me to write
> English in elementary school.

> In a few cases, I think the kernel-doc
> formatting might force you to avoid extra blank lines or else you wind up
> with the wrong kinds of grouping in HTML output or something (it's been a
> while since I wrote some of the longer kernel-doc comments, and at the time
> I looked carefully at how the make htmldocs and make mandocs results came
> out to make them readable that way).
> Of course the purpose of comments and kernel-doc is to communicate clearly.
> So I am happy to amend the comments in whatever fashions make them more
> effective. But you will have to cite exactly what you want.

Right, so I've broken up some of the longer paragraphs, including the
penultimate quoted one, in order to illustrate what I meant. Like said
before, it might just be me.

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