[lkml]   [2011]   [Dec]   [11]   [last100]   RSS Feed
Views: [wrap][no wrap]   [headers]  [forward] 
Messages in this thread
SubjectRe: [PATCH 3/3] kref: Remove the memory barriers
On Mon, Dec 12, 2011 at 4:42 AM, Peter Zijlstra <> wrote:
> On Sun, 2011-12-11 at 16:35 +0100, Peter Zijlstra wrote:
>> On Sun, 2011-12-11 at 20:59 +0800, Ming Lei wrote:
>> >
>> > The implicit rule about kref is that use should make sure
>> > that kref can not be touched once it is released.
>> The only transition for with order makes any difference what so ever is
>> 1 -> 0, you just said that should be done by external means (I agree and
>> have argued thusly), therefore any memory barriers outside of these
>> external means are superfluous.
>> Thus the proposed patch is correct.
> Also, this was an entirely different issue than was raised in the
> original changelog. Memory barriers in general are about ordering
> visibility between multiple operations done on one cpu vs them being
> visible on another.

For kref, maybe it is still multiple operations done on one cpu vs them
being visible on another, but seems a bit implicit, see the common kref
usage below:


C:access obj E:access obj

There is one smp_mb between E and F on CPU1, and we still need
another one between B and C on CPU 0 to keep the order. Otherwise,
CPU1 may observe out of order about B and C, then make obj released
(F)too early, and cause OOPS on CPU 0.

> The important point being that there need to be multiple operations on
> one cpu in order for them to be able to make a difference. And the whole
> issue in the past few emails only had a single operation on each cpu.
> Therefore memory barriers are completely irrelevant.
> Ever so more because atomic_t is atomic on the variable regardless of
> visibility by a second party.

Maybe not, see above.

> Anyway, one more way to illustrate my point; there's three distinct
> phases in the life cycle of a kref managed object: insert, lookup and
> removal. They are as follows:
>        obj = alloc_obj();
>        init_obj(obj);
>          kref_set(&obj->ref, 1);
>        LOCK
>        insert(obj);
>        UNLOCK
>        LOCK
>        obj = lookup(key);
>        if (obj)
>          kref_get();
>        UNLOCK
>        ...
>        kref_put(); /* assuming obj != NULL */
> REMOVAL: /* assumes obj was acquired using a preceding LOOKUP */
>        LOCK
>        remove(obj);
>        UNLOCK
>        kref_sub(&obj->ref, 2); /* lookup + insert */

Looks like should be kref_sub(1) since LOOKUP may handle by itself.

> Before the insert() our obj isn't visible to other CPUs doing lookup(),
> therefore there can be no concurrency on the kref, after insert the
> insert's UNLOCK + lookup's LOCK provide the full memory barrier

We can't assume any lock about kref usage, because kref is often used
in lockless scenario.

> separating the last write to the object and the first read of it.
> Multiple lookup()s can be concurrent with each other and the last
> remove(). Concurrent lookups are completely non-interesting since they
> can't ever trigger the ->0 transition.
> A lookup interleaved with a removal is serialized on the lock around our
> data-structure, after the removal no new lookups will succeed, and thus
> no new kref_get()s will be issued and all that happens is decrements
> until we hit 0.
> The issue from the original changelog was that within a lookup, reads
> and writes to the obj might be re-ordered with the acquisition of the
> refcount. IOW. something like:
>  obj = lookup(); /* lets assume obj != NULL */
>  kref_get(&obj->ref);
>  value = obj->member;
>  kref_put(&obj->ref);
> Now, under our memory model, the read from obj->member can both happen,
> or be observed to happen before the increment from kref_get() is
> processed.

It should be the problem if another CPU observed that write/read obj
is done before kref_get.

> I completely fail to see how that is an issue, nor when it is, why kref
> should care. If you rely on that, you're doing something weird and
> exotic and had better place the appropriate memory barriers yourself.

Ming Lei
To unsubscribe from this list: send the line "unsubscribe linux-kernel" in
the body of a message to
More majordomo info at
Please read the FAQ at

 \ /
  Last update: 2011-12-12 04:51    [W:0.084 / U:0.500 seconds]
©2003-2018 Jasper Spaans|hosted at Digital Ocean and TransIP|Read the blog|Advertise on this site