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SubjectRe: [PATCH for 2.5] preemptible kernel
On Wed, Mar 28, 2001 at 12:51:02PM -0800, george anzinger wrote:
> Dipankar Sarma wrote:
> >
> > Also, a task could be preempted and then rescheduled on the same cpu
> > making
> > the depth counter 0 (right ?), but it could still be holding references
> > to data
> > structures to be updated using synchronize_kernel(). There seems to be
> > two
> > approaches to tackle preemption -
> >
> > 1. Disable pre-emption during the time when references to data
> > structures
> > updated using such Two-phase updates are held.
> Doesn't this fly in the face of the whole Two-phase system? It seems to
> me that the point was to not require any locks. Preemption disable IS a
> lock. Not as strong as some, but a lock none the less.

The point is to avoid acquring costly locks, so it is a question of
relative cost. Disabling preemption (by an atomic increment) for
short critical sections may not be as bad as spin-waiting for
highly contended locks or thrashing lock cachelines.

> >
> > Pros: easy to implement using a flag (ctx_sw_off() ?)
> > Cons: not so easy to use since critical sections need to be clearly
> > identified and interfaces defined. also affects preemptive behavior.
> >
> > 2. In synchronize_kernel(), distinguish between "natural" and preemptive
> > schedules() and ignore preemptive ones.
> >
> > Pros: easy to use
> > Cons: Not so easy to implement. Also a low priority task that keeps
> > getting
> > preempted often can affect update side performance significantly.
> Actually is is fairly easy to distinguish the two (see TASK_PREEMPTED in
> state). Don't you also have to have some sort of task flag that
> indicates that the task is one that needs to sync? Something that gets
> set when it enters the area of interest and cleared when it hits the
> sync point?

None of the two two-phase update implementations (synchronize_kernel())
by Rusty and read-copy update by us, monitor the tasks that require
sync for update. synchronize_kernel() forces a schedule on every
cpu and read-copy update waits until every cpu goes through
a quiscent state, before updating. Both approaches will require
significant special handling because they implicitly assume
that tasks inside the kernel are bound to the current cpu until it
reaches a quiescent state (like a "normal"
context switch). Since preempted tasks can run later on any cpu, we
will have to keep track of sync points on a per-task basis and
that will probably require using a snapshot of the running
tasks from the global runqueue. That may not be a good thing
from performance standpoint, not to mention the complexity.

Also, in situations where read-to-write ratio is not heavily
skewed towards read or lots of updates happening, a very low
priority task can have a significant impact on performance
by getting preempted all the time.

Dipankar Sarma (
IBM Linux Technology Center
IBM Software Lab, Bangalore, India.
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