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SubjectRe: [RFC 1/2] deactive invalidated pages
On Mon, Nov 22, 2010 at 09:01:32PM -0800, Andrew Morton wrote:
> On Tue, 23 Nov 2010 13:52:05 +0900 Minchan Kim <> wrote:
> > >> +/*
> > >> + * Function used to forecefully demote a page to the head of the inactive
> > >> + * list.
> > >> + */
> > >
> > > This comment is wrong? __The page gets moved to the _tail_ of the
> > > inactive list?
> >
> > No. I add it in _head_ of the inactive list intentionally.
> > Why I don't add it to _tail_ is that I don't want to be aggressive.
> > The page might be real working set. So I want to give a chance to
> > activate it again.
> Well.. why? The user just tried to toss the page away altogether. If
> the kernel wasn't able to do that immediately, the best it can do is to
> toss the page away asap?

I'm just guessing here on the motivation but maybe it is in case FADV_DONENEED
was called on a page in use by another process (via read/write more do than
being mapped). Process A says "I don't need this" but by moving it to the
head of the list we give Process B a chance to reference it and reactivate
without incurring a major fault?

> > If it's not working set, it can be reclaimed easily and it can prevent
> > active page demotion since inactive list size would be big enough for
> > not calling shrink_active_list.
> What is "working set"? Mapped and unmapped pagecache, or are you
> referring solely to mapped pagecache?
> If it's mapped pagecache then the user was being a bit silly (or didn't
> know that some other process had mapped the file). In which case we
> need to decide what to do - leave the page alone, deactivate it, or
> half-deactivate it as this patch does.

What are the odds of an fadvise() user having used mincore() in advance
to determine if the page was in use by another process? I would guess
"low" so this half-deactivate gives a chance for the page to be promoted
again as well as a chance for the flusher threads to clean the page if
it really is to be reclaimed.

Mel Gorman
Part-time Phd Student Linux Technology Center
University of Limerick IBM Dublin Software Lab

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