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    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:

    CPU0 CPU1

    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:
    > INSERT:
    >        obj = alloc_obj();
    >        init_obj(obj);
    >          kref_set(&obj->ref, 1);
    >        LOCK
    >        insert(obj);
    >        UNLOCK
    > LOOKUP:
    >        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:
    >  LOCK
    >  obj = lookup(); /* lets assume obj != NULL */
    >  kref_get(&obj->ref);
    >  UNLOCK
    >  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
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