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SubjectRe: [RFC] remove page_table_lock in anon_vma_prepare
On Mon, Jun 8, 2009 at 1:28 AM, Hugh Dickins<> wrote:
> On Mon, 8 Jun 2009, Minchan Kim wrote:
>> On Sat, Jun 6, 2009 at 3:26 AM, Hugh Dickins<> wrote:
>> > On Fri, 5 Jun 2009, Minchan Kim wrote:
>> > (As I expect you've noticed, we used not to bother with the spin_lock
>> > on anon_vma->lock when we'd freshly allocated the anon_vma, it looks
>> > as if it's unnecessary.  But in fact Nick and Linus found there's a
>> > subtle reason why it is necessary even then - hopefully the git log
> Actually, Linus put a lot of his git comment into the comment above
> anon_vma_prepare(); but it doesn't pin down the case Nick identified
> as well as Nick's original mail.
>> > explains it, or I could look up the mails if you want, but at this
>> > moment the details escape me.
>> Hmm. I didn't follow up that at that time.
>> After you noticed me, I found that.
>> commit d9d332e0874f46b91d8ac4604b68ee42b8a7a2c6
>> Author: Linus Torvalds <>
>> Date:   Sun Oct 19 10:32:20 2008 -0700
>>     anon_vma_prepare: properly lock even newly allocated entries
>> It's subtle race so I can't digest it fully but I can understand that
>> following as.
>> If we don't hold lock at fresh anon_vma, it can be removed and
>> reallocated by other threads since other cpu's can find it, free,
>> reallocate before first thread which call anon_vma_prepare adds
>> anon_vma to list after vma->anon_vma = anon_vma
>> I hope my above explanation is right :)
> Not really: I don't think there was a risk of it getting freed at
> that point, but there was a risk of its list head getting dereferenced
> before we'd initialized it.
> Here's a link to Nick's 16oct08 linux-mm mail on the subject, then you
> can follow the thread from there.  In brief, IIRC, Nick found a race
> which he proposed to fix with barriers, but in the end we were all
> much happier just taking the anon_vma lock in all cases.

Huge long.
Thanks for searching it for me.
I will read the thread and digest it. ;-)

>> > And do we need the page_table_lock even when find_mergeable_anon_vma
>> > succeeds?  That also looks as if it's unnecessary, but I've the ghost
>> > of a memory that it's needed even for that case: I seem to remember
>> > that there can be a benign race where find_mergeable_anon_vma called
>> > by concurrent threads could actually return different anon_vmas.
>> > That also is something I don't want to think too deeply into at
>> > this instant, but beg me if you wish!)
>> Unfortunately I can't found this issue mail or changelog.
>> Hugh. Could you explain this issue more detail in your convenient time ?
> Sure, I remembered it once I went to bed that night, it's an easy one;
> wasn't ever discussed on list, just something I'd been aware of.
> Remember that anon_vma_prepare() gets called at fault time, when we
> have only down_read of mmap_sem, so there may well be concurrent faults.
> find_mergeable_anon_vma looks at the vma on either side of our faulting
> vma, to see if the neighbouring vma already has an anon_vma, which we'd
> be wise to use if that vma could plausibly be merged with our vma later
> e.g. mprotect may have temporarily split ours from the next, but another
> mprotect may make them mergeable - it would be a pity to be prevented
> from merging them just because we'd already attached distinct anon_vmas.


> But, as I said, there may well be concurrent faults, on ours and on
> neighbouring vmas: so one call to find_mergeable_anon_vma on our vma
> may find that the next vma has no anon_vma yet, but the prev has one,
> so it returns the prev's anon_vma; but a racing fault on the next
> vma immediately gives it an anon_vma, and a racing fault on our vma
> finds that, so its find_mergeable_anon_vma returns the next's anon_vma.
> So the two faults on our vma could both be in anon_vma_prepare(),
> doing the spin_lock(&anon_vma->lock) on find_mergeable_anon_vma's
> anon_vma, but those could still be different anon_vmas: but if
> both lock the page_table_lock, we can be sure to catch that case.

I can understand it completely.
Thanks for quick replay and good explanation.

I expect this thread can help other some day. :)

> When I said the race was benign, I meant that it doesn't matter in
> such a case which one we choose; but we don't want to choose both!
> Hugh

Kinds regards,
Minchan Kim
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