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SubjectRe: gettimeofday() jumping into the future
On 8/23/07, Peter Zijlstra <peterz@infradead.org> wrote:
> [ CCs added ]
>
> On Thu, 2007-08-23 at 13:08 +0200, Michael Smith wrote:
> > Hi,
> >
> > We've been seeing some strange behaviour on some of our applications
> > recently. I've tracked this down to gettimeofday() returning spurious
> > values occasionally.
> >
> > Specifically, gettimeofday() will suddenly, for a single call, return
> > a value about 4398 seconds (~1 hour 13 minutes) in the future. The
> > following call goes back to a normal value.
> >
> > This seems to be occurring when the clock source goes slightly
> > backwards for a single call. In
> > kernel/time/timekeeping.c:__get_nsec_offset(), we have this:
> > cycle_delta = (cycle_now - clock->cycle_last) & clock->mask;
> >
> > So a small decrease in time here will (this is all unsigned
> > arithmetic) give us a very large cycle_delta. cyc2ns() then multiplies
> > this by some value, then right shifts by 22. The resulting value (in
> > nanoseconds) is approximately 4398 seconds; this gets added on to the
> > xtime value, giving us our jump into the future. The next call to
> > gettimeofday() returns to normal as we don't have this huge nanosecond
> > offset.
> >
> > This system is a 2-socket core 2 quad machine (8 cpus), running 32 bit
> > mode. It's a dell poweredge 1950. The kernel selects the TSC as the
> > clock source, having determined that the tsc runs synchronously on
> > this system. Switching the systems to use a different time source
> > seems to make the problem go away (which is fine for us, but we'd like
> > to get this fixed properly upstream).
> >
> > We've also seen this behaviour with a synthetic test program (which
> > just runs 4 threads all calling gettimeofday() in a loop as fast as
> > possible and testing that it doesn't jump) on an older machine, a dell
> > poweredge SC1425 with two p4 hyperthreaded xeons.
> >
> > Can anyone advise on what's going wrong here? I can't find much in the
> > way of documentation on whether the TSC is guaranteed to be
> > monotonically increasing on intel systems. Should the code choose not
> > to use the TSC? Or should the TSC reading code ensure that the
> > returned values are monotonic?
> >
> > Is there any more information that would be useful? I'll be on a plane
> > for most of tomorrow, so might be a little slow responding.
>
> The exact version of the kernel you're using might be good thing to
> start with :-)

My apologies. It's always the obvious things one forgets to put in...

This was originally seen on an FC5 system running:
2.6.18-1.2257.fc5smp

We've reproduced it on the same system with a kernel built from
linus's git tree yesterday: 2.6.23-rc3.

Mike
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