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SubjectRe: [tip PATCH v7 0/9] RFC: futex: requeue pi implementation
Thanks to Vernon and Nivedita for some feedback on the documentation. Included
below is the updated document, mostly grammatical and spelling fixes. I'd still
appreciate some feedback as to content depth and how much context I should
assume in this document.

Futex Requeue PI

Requeueing of tasks from a non-PI futex to a PI futex requires special handling
in order to ensure the underlying rt_mutex is never left without an owner if it
has waiters; doing so would break the PI boosting logic [see
rt-mutex-desgin.txt] For the purposes of brevity, this action will be referred
to as "requeue_pi" throughout this document. Priority inheritance is
abbreviated throughout as "PI".


Without requeue_pi, the current implementation of pthread_cond_broadcast() must
resort to waking all the tasks waiting on a pthread_condvar and letting them
try to sort out which task gets to run first in classic thundering-herd
formation. An ideal implementation would wake the highest-priority waiter, and
leave the rest to the natural wakeup inherent in unlocking the mutex associated
with the condvar.

Consider the simplified glibc calls:

/* caller must lock mutex */
pthread_cond_wait(cond, mutex)
do {
} while(...)

futex_requeue(cond->data.__futex, cond->mutex);

Once pthread_cond_broadcast() requeues the tasks, the cond->mutex has waiters.
Note that pthread_cond_wait() attempts to lock the mutex only after it has
returned to userspace. This will leave the underlying rt_mutex with waiters,
and no owner, breaking the previously mentioned PI-boosting algorithms.

In order to support PI-aware pthread_condvar's, the kernel needs to be able to
requeue tasks to PI futexes. This support implies that upon a successful
futex_wait system call, the caller would return to userspace already holding
the PI futex. The glibc implementation would be modified as follows:

/* caller must lock mutex */
pthread_cond_wait_pi(cond, mutex)
do {
} while(...)
/* the kernel acquired the the mutex for us */

futex_requeue_pi(cond->data.__futex, cond->mutex);

The actual glibc implementation will likely test for PI and make the
necessary changes inside the existing calls rather than creating new calls
for the PI cases. Similar changes are needed for pthread_cond_timedwait()
and pthread_cond_signal().


In order to ensure the rt_mutex has an owner if it has waiters, it is necessary
for both the requeue code, as well as the waiting code, to be able to acquire
the rt_mutex before returning to userspace. The requeue code cannot simply wake
the waiter and leave it to acquire the rt_mutex as it would open a race window
between the requeue call returning to userspace and the waiter waking and
starting to run. This is especially true in the uncontended case.

The solution involves two new rt_mutex helper routines,
rt_mutex_start_proxy_lock() and rt_mutex_finish_proxy_lock(), which allow the
requeue code to acquire an uncontended rt_mutex on behalf of the waiter and to
enqueue the waiter on a contended rt_mutex.

Two new system calls provide the kernel<->userspace interface to requeue_pi:

FUTEX_WAIT_REQUEUE_PI is called by the waiter (pthread_cond_wait() and
pthread_cond_timedwait()) to block on the initial futex and wait to be requeued
to a PI-aware futex. The implementation is the result of a high-speed
collision between futex_wait() and futex_lock_pi(), with some extra logic to
check for the additional wake-up scenarios.

FUTEX_REQUEUE_PI is called by the waker (pthread_cond_broadcast() and
pthread_cond_signal()) to requeue and possibly wake the waiting tasks.
Internally, this system call is still handled by futex_requeue (by passing
requeue_pi=1). Before requeueing, futex_requeue() attempts to acquire the
requeue target PI futex on behalf of the top waiter. If it can, this waiter is
woken. futex_requeue() then proceeds to requeue the remaining
nr_wake+nr_requeue tasks to the PI futex, calling rt_mutex_start_proxy_lock()
prior to each requeue to prepare the task as a waiter on the underlying
rt_mutex. It is possible that the lock can be acquired at this stage as well,
if so, the next waiter is woken to finish the acquisition of the lock.
FUTEX_REQUEUE_PI accepts nr_wake and nr_requeue as arguments, but their sum is
all that really matters. futex_requeue() will wake or requeue up to nr_wake +
nr_requeue tasks. It will wake only as many tasks as it can acquire the lock
for, which in the majority of cases should be 0 as good programming practice
dictates that the caller of either pthread_cond_broadcast() or
pthread_cond_signal() acquire the mutex prior to making the call.
FUTEX_REQUEUE_PI requires that nr_wake=1. nr_requeue should be INT_MAX for
broadcast and 0 for signal.

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