[lkml]   [2005]   [Dec]   [19]   [last100]   RSS Feed
Views: [wrap][no wrap]   [headers]  [forward] 
Messages in this thread
SubjectRe: [patch 00/21] hrtimer - High-resolution timer subsystem

On Mon, 2005-12-19 at 15:50 +0100, Roman Zippel wrote:

> It's not just about optimization tricks, it's about redundant information.
> Right now the primary function of the state is to tell whether the timer
> node is in the tree or now, so I prefer to add this information directly
> to the rbnode, similiar to what we do with normal lists.
> The other problem is that such "simple" state variables quickly become
> inadequate as the state machine becomes more complex, especially if
> multiple processes run at the same time (e.g. a timer can be "running"
> and/or "active"). So for me it's also for clarity and extensibility
> reasons, that I want to avoid overloaded state machines and rather keep
> it as simple as possible.

You want to avoid overloaded state machines and therefor overload a
rbnode struct with state information ?


> > Not only in a -rt kernel, it also saves the context switch for a high
> > resolution timer enabled kernel, where you actually can execute the
> > callback in hard interrupt context. We can solve it differently, but we
> > should carefully think about the extensiblity issues. The wakeup +
> > restart szenario is a good reason to reconsider this.
> I don't think executing something in the soft or hard interrupt context
> makes a big difference on a normal kernel (at least I wouldn't call it a
> context switch).

Well. How would you call it then?

Thread A runs
hrtimer interrupt
timer X is expired, softirq is woken up

context switch to softirq

softirq runs
timer X callback is executed, thread B is woken up

context switch to thread B


Thread A runs
hrtimer interrupt
timer X is expired, callback is executed thread B is woken up

context switch to thread B

I still call it a context switch, because it is one, except for the case
where the softirq is called in the interrupt return path, but also then
we gain the advantage that we do not have to execute it.

> > > I can understand you want to keep the difference to the rt kernel small,
> > > but for me it's more about immediate benefits against uncertain long term
> > > benefits.
> >
> > If you have a clear target and the experience of having implemented the
> > extensions, you have to carefully weigh up the consequences of such
> > decisions. I'm not talking about "might be implemented by somebody
> > sometimes features", I'm talking about existing proof of concept
> > implementations. There is no real justification to ignore well known
> > consequences.
> >
> > Of course if you consider the possibility of including high resolution
> > timers (I'm not talking about -rt) as zero, your requests make sense.
> Thomas, please don't treat me like an idiot, you may have more experiance
> with hrtimer, but after working on it for a while I also know what I'm
> talking about. Please accept that I have different focus on this, I want
> to keep things as simple as possible. New features should stand on his
> own and this includes the complexity they add to the kernel. The new
> hrtimer especially cleans up greatly the posix timer stuff, this and
> keeping all other users working is my primary focus now.

The basic hrtimer patch without any addons does not introduce
complexities and is simple and keeps everything working.

Can you please elaborate the new features and complexities instead of
repeating this over and over without pointing out exactly what and where
it is?

> New features add new complexity and I want to see and evaluate it at the
> time it's added to the kernel, primarily to find solutions to avoid the
> (runtime) complexity for clocks which don't want to or can't support such
> high resolutions, so they don't have to pay the price for these new
> features. I want to keep things flexible and keeping things simple is IMO
> a much better starting point.

The code is flexible to handle low resolution as well as a later high
resolution extension. It does not introduce additional complexity to
anything. Stop this prayer wheel argumentation and show exactly which
complexitiy it introduces.

> > I disagree because I'm convinced that the problems "high res timers",
> > "dynamic ticks", "timekeeping", "clock event abstraction" are closely
> > related and we have high demands to get those solved in a clean way. So
> > providing some jiffies bound minimal solution in the first place is more
> > than shortsighted IMO.
> You're misunderstanding me, I don't want "some jiffies bound minimal
> solution", I want to solve one problem at a time and fixing the jiffies
> problem requires solving problems in the clock abstraction first,
> otherwise you produce a crutch which works in most cases, but leaves a few
> problem cases behind.

Which problem cases please ?

> > Goerge said explicitely:
> >
> > > My $0.02 worth: It is clear (from the standard) that the initial time
> > > is to be ABS_TIME. It is also clear that the interval is to be added
> > > to that time. IMHO then, the result should have the same property,
> > > i.e. ABS_TIME.
> >
> > I dont find a way to read out that the interval should not have the
> > ABSTIME property.
> That's not what you wrote earlier: "I agree, that the restriction to the
> initial it_value is definitely something you can read out of the spec."

I was talking about Georges citiation and not about some random pieces
of text cut out of the original context. I still dont find a way to
interprete Georges writing in the way you did.

> clock_settime says: "..., these time services shall expire when the
> requested relative interval elapses, independently of the new or old value
> of the clock." it_interval is a relative interval and otherwise the spec
> only talks about "an initial expiration time, again either relative or
> absolute," I can't really find a direct connection that TIMER_ABSTIME
> should apply to the interval as well.

timer_set says: "... The reload value of the timer is set to the value
specified by the it_interval member of value. When a timer is armed with
a non-zero it_interval, a periodic (or repetitive) timer is specified."

I dont see a notion that an interval does remove the ABSTIME property
from a timer which was set up with the ABSTIME flag set.

And you are claiming not to change anything in order not to break
anything. The current upstream code is keeping ABSTIME interval timers
on the abslist, so why are you changing this at will for no real good

> > Please elaborate how the timer can expire early.
> At this time you still did the rounding of the values, so it actually
> worked.
> When reading a time t from a clock with resolution r, the real time can be
> anything from t to t+r-1. Assuming it's currently t+r-1 and you try to set
> a relative timer to r-1, you will read t from the clock and arm the timer
> for t+r-1, which will cause the timer to expire at t+r, where it must not
> expire before t+r-1+r-1.

I dont see where you pull this from.

At any given point the clock reads a value between two ticks.

t(tickn) <= now < t(tickn+1), where t(tickn+1) - t(tickn) = resolution

In any given case the interval is added to now.

expiry = now + interval

The expiry check is still

if (expiry <= now)

The softirq which handles the expiry is called every tick, which
guarantees that the timer is always expired at or past the tick
boundary, but never ever it can be expired early.

> It currently only works because latencies are usually larger than the
> clock resolution, but if I want to configure hrtimer with a low resolution
> clock, the problem can become visible.

Where is this configuration switch in the posted code ? The posted
hrtimers code is low resolution.

Show me a simple example code which makes this become visible.

> > > > > But this is now exactly the bevhaviour your timer has, why is not
> > > > > "surprising" anymore?
> > > >
> > > > Yes, we wrote that before. After reconsidering the results we came to
> > > > the conclusion, that we actually dont need the rounding at all because
> > > > the uneven distance is equally surprising as the summing up errors
> > > > introduced by rounding.
> > >
> > > I don't think that the summing up error is surprising at all, the spec is
> > > quite clear that the time values have to be rounded up to the resolution
> > > of the timer and it's also the behaviour of the current timer.
> >
> > No, the spec is not clear at all about this.
> >
> > I pointed this out before and I still think that the part of the
> > RATIONALE section is the key to this decision.
> >
> > "Also note that some implementations may choose to adjust time and/or
> > interval values to exactly match the ticks of the underlying clock"
> You basically use this sentence as loophole to take the whole resolution
> rounding rule ad absurdum and I disagree that this sentence means
> "ignore everything above and do whatever you want".

I do not whatever I want and you well know that. The rounding is still
done on expiry time, which means the rounding happens on the tick

"Time values that are between two consecutive non-negative integer
multiples of the resolution of the specified timer will be rounded up to
the larger multiple of the resolution. Quantization error will not cause
the timer to expire earlier than the rounded time value.
Also note that some implementations may choose to adjust time and/or
interval values to exactly match the ticks of the underlying clock."

Please tell me where my interpretation is violating the spec.

It is different to your interpretation, thats all.

> > You decide to do the adjustment. I prefer not to do so and I dont buy
> > any argument which says, that the current behaviour is the yardstick for
> > everything. It can't be. Otherwise we would not be able to introduce
> > high resolution timers at all. Every application which relies on some
> > behaviour of the kernel which is not explicitely required by the
> > specification is broken by definition.
> The problem is that you force this behaviour also on other hrtimer users
> (itimers and nanosleep) and we should be very careful with such behaviour
> changes. My proposal keeps the current behaviour and is less likely to
> break anything. As I said before I'm not against changing the behaviour,
> but it should be done carefully.
> > I vote strongly against introducing private, special purpose APIs and I
> > consider CLOCK_XXX_HR as such. The proposed hrtimer solution does not
> > introduce any penalties for people who do not enable a future high
> > resolution extension. It gives us the benefit of a clean code base which
> > is capable to be switched simply and non intrusive to the high
> > resolution mode. We have done extensive tests on the impact of
> > converting all users unconditionally to high resolution mode once it is
> > switched on and the penalty is within the noise range.
> >
> > You are explicitely asking for increased complexity with your approach.
> Which in this case it would be good thing. Right now we don't have much
> choice in clock source, but that will change soon and I think it would be
> a good to be able to map a timer to specific clock source. The gained
> flexibility outweighs the required complexity greatly.

I really want to know what you are talking about. I have proven, that
without clock abstraction improvements the current code is working
without one single reference to jiffies. When clock abstractions are
available the code will make use of them just by changing the functions
which read the crurrent time.

> > > > While my focus is a clean merging of high resolution timers without
> > > > breaking the non hrt case, I still believe that we can find a solution,
> > > > where we can have the base implementation without any reference to
> > > > jiffies.
> > >
> > > This is what I think requires the better clock abstraction, most of it is
> > > related to the clock resolution, the generic timer code currently has no
> > > idea of the real resolution of the underlying clock, so I assumed a worst
> > > case of TICK_NSEC everywhere.
> >
> > Well, can you please show where the current hrtimer implementation is
> > doing something which requires a better clock abstraction ?
> 1. clock resolution is unknown (see above).
> 2. reprogrammable timer interrupts.

There is no single reference to a reprogrammable timer interrupt in the
current hrtimer code which was posted and replaced the initial ktimer

Please stop mixing up the high resolution timer implementation on top of
hrtimers with the hrtimers base patch for a cheap argument. We have been
there and I dont see a point to get back to this kind of discussion.

> > The clock abstraction layer is relevant if you actuallly want to switch
> > to high resolution mode and until then the coarse interface is
> > sufficient.
> Right and until then it's also not really avoidable, that you find a few
> references to jiffies. I'm not saying that we have to keep them, but
> please only one step at a time.

No, it is not necessary at all. Thats proven and it is one step at a
time. If we can avoid jiffies in the first place why should we put them
there ? What would we gain ?

> > > What I'd like to avoid is that we have to commit ourselves to only one
> > > solution right now. I think the first solution is better suited to the low
> > > resolution timer, that we have right now. The second solution requires a
> > > better clock framework - this includes better time keeping and
> > > reprogrammable timer interrupts.
> >
> > We have to choose one. Everything else is a bad compromise. There is
> > nothing worse than making no decision when you are at a point where a
> > decision is required.
> Do you really have so little trust in your own code, that we can't afford
> the flexibility and have to hardcode the timer resolution now?

I trust my code, but you seem to trust jiffies more than simple math.

What flexibility do you gain with your jiffies implementation ?
The flexibility to add some replacement code which will look basically
the same way as hrtimers are looking now ?


To unsubscribe from this list: send the line "unsubscribe linux-kernel" in
the body of a message to
More majordomo info at
Please read the FAQ at

 \ /
  Last update: 2005-12-19 23:07    [W:0.135 / U:4.440 seconds]
©2003-2017 Jasper Spaans. hosted at Digital OceanAdvertise on this site