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SubjectRe: LDD3 pitfalls (was Re: [PATCH 0/24] make atomic_read() behave consistently across all architectures)
Stefan Richter wrote:
> Nick Piggin wrote:
>> Stefan Richter wrote:
>>> Nick Piggin wrote:
>>>
>>>> I don't know why people would assume volatile of atomics. AFAIK, most
>>>> of the documentation is pretty clear that all the atomic stuff can be
>>>> reordered etc. except for those that modify and return a value.
>>>
>>> Which documentation is there?
>> Documentation/atomic_ops.txt
>>
>>
>>> For driver authors, there is LDD3. It doesn't specifically cover
>>> effects of optimization on accesses to atomic_t.
>>>
>>> For architecture port authors, there is Documentation/atomic_ops.txt.
>>> Driver authors also can learn something from that document, as it
>>> indirectly documents the atomic_t and bitops APIs.
>>>
>> "Semantics and Behavior of Atomic and Bitmask Operations" is
>> pretty direct :)
>>
>> Sure, it says that it's for arch maintainers, but there is no
>> reason why users can't make use of it.
>
>
> Note, LDD3 page 238 says: "It is worth noting that most of the other
> kernel primitives dealing with synchronization, such as spinlock and
> atomic_t operations, also function as memory barriers."
>
> I don't know about Linux 2.6.10 against which LDD3 was written, but
> currently only _some_ atomic_t operations function as memory barriers.
>
> Besides, judging from some posts in this thread, saying that atomic_t
> operations dealt with synchronization may not be entirely precise.

atomic_t is often used as the basis for implementing more sophisticated
synchronization mechanisms, such as rwlocks. Whether or not they are designed
for that purpose, the atomic_* operations are de facto synchronization primitives.

-- Chris
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