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SubjectRe: [PATCH 0/2] x86/mm: remove arch-specific PTE/PMD get-and-clear functions
On 13/06/12 15:04, Konrad Rzeszutek Wilk wrote:
> On Wed, Jun 13, 2012 at 11:20:43AM +0100, David Vrabel wrote:
>> This series removes the x86-specific implementation of
>> ptep_get_and_clear() and pmdp_get_and_clear().
>> The principal reason for this is it allows Xen paravitualized guests
>> to batch the PTE clears which is a significant performance
>> optimization of munmap() and mremap() -- the number of entries into
>> the hypervisor is reduced by about a factor of about 30 (60 in 32-bit
>> guests) for munmap().
>> There may be minimal gains on native and KVM guests due to the removal
>> of the locked xchg.
> What about lguest?

As I note in the description of patch 1:

"There may be a performance regression with lguest guests as
an optimization for avoiding calling pte_update() when doing a full
teardown of an mm is removed."

I don't know how much this performance regression would be or if the
performance of lguest guests is something people care about.

We could have an x86-specific ptep_get_and_clear_full() which looks like:

pte_t ptep_get_and_clear_full(
struct mm_struct *mm, unsigned long addr, pte_t *ptep,
int full)
pte_t pte = *ptep;

pte_clear(mm, address, ptep);
if (!full)
pte_update(mm, addr, ptep);

return pte;

Which would have all the performance benefits of the proposed patch
without the performance regression with lguest.


>> Removal of arch-specific functions where generic ones are suitable
>> seems to be a generally useful thing to me.
>> The full reasoning for why this is safe is included in the commit
>> message of patch 1 but to summarize. The atomic get-and-clear does
>> not guarantee that the latest dirty/accessed bits are returned as TLB
>> as there is a still a window after the get-and-clear and before the
>> TLB flush that the bits may be updated on other processors. So, user
>> space applications accessing pages that are being unmapped or remapped
>> already have unpredictable behaviour.
>> David

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