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SubjectRe: [PATCH] Export current_is_keventd() for libphy
On Sun, 3 Dec 2006, Andrew Morton wrote:

> wtf? That code was merged? This bug has been known for months and after
> several unsuccessful attempts at trying to understand what on earth that
> hackery is supposed to be doing I gave up on it and asked Jeff to look after
> it.

I am surprised it got merged too -- my understanding from the discussion
was it was to be sorted out somehow within libphy, one way or another.

> Maciej, please, in very small words written in a very large font, explain to
> us what is going on in phy_stop_interrupts()? Include pictures.

Would ASCII art qualify as pictures? Regardless, I am providing a
textual description, which please feel free to skip to the conclusion
below if uninterested in the details.

Essentially there is a race when disconnecting from a PHY, because
interrupt delivery uses the event queue for processing. The function to
handle interrupts that is called from the event queue is phy_change().
It takes a pointer to a structure that is associated with the PHY. At the
time phy_stop_interrupts() is called there may be one or more calls to
phy_change() still pending on the event queue. They may not be able to be
processed until the structure passed to phy_change() have been freed, at
which point calling the function is wrong.

One way of avoiding it is calling flush_scheduled_work() from
phy_stop_interrupts(). This is fine as long as a caller of
phy_stop_interrupts() (not necessarily the immediate one calling into
libphy) does not hold the netlink lock.

If a caller indeed holds the netlink lock, then a driver effectively
calling phy_stop_interrupts() may arrange for the function to be itself
scheduled through the event queue. This has the effect of avoiding the
race as well, as the queue is processed in order, except it causes more
hassle for the driver. Hence the choice was left to the driver's author
-- if a driver "knows" the netlink lock is not going to be held at that
point, it may call phy_stop_interrupts() directly, otherwise it shall use
the event queue.

With such an assumption in place the function has to check somehow
whether it has been scheduled through the queue or not and act
accordingly, which is why that "if" clause is there.

Now I gather the conclusion was the whole mess was going to be included
within libphy and not exposed to Ethernet MAC drivers. This way the
library would schedule both phy_stop_interrupts() and mdiobus_unregister()
(which is actually the function freeing the PHY device structure) through
the event queue as needed without a MAC driver having to know.

And the whole question that remains is whether it is Andy (cc-ed) or me
who is more competent to implement this change. ;-)

Maciej
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