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SubjectRe: /proc/stat btime accuracy problem
On Wed, Jun 1, 2011 at 5:58 PM, john stultz <> wrote:
> On Wed, 2011-06-01 at 17:35 -0600, Bjorn Helgaas wrote:
>> On Wed, Jun 1, 2011 at 4:35 PM, john stultz <> wrote:
>> > On Wed, 2011-06-01 at 14:50 -0600, Bjorn Helgaas wrote:
>> >> timekeeping_init() basically does the following:
>> >>
>> >>     xtime = RTC
>> >>     if (arch implements read_boot_clock())
>> >>         wall_to_monotonic = -read_boot_clock()
>> >>     else
>> >>       wall_to_monotonic = -xtime
>> >>
>> >> So wall_to_monotonic records some approximation of the system boot
>> >> time, which is then used to derive the "btime" reported in /proc/stat.
>> >>
>> >> The problem I'm seeing is that xtime is updated on timer ticks, so
>> >> uninterruptible code, like kernel serial printk, makes us miss ticks,
>> >> so xtime falls behind the RTC.
>> >
>> > Huh. So this sort of issue was common back when we had tick-based
>> > timekeeping (in combination with troubled hardware), but with the
>> > current clocksource based timekeeping, occasional lost ticks shouldn't
>> > really effect time.
>> Makes sense.  Your presentation here was a great help:
>> > Can you explain a bit more about what kind of hardware this is happening
>> > on, and what clocksource is being used?
>> Sure.  This is an x86 box.  Normally we're using the TSC clocksource,
>> and I don't think the issue happens after that.  I guess my
>> experimentation so far has been with uninterruptible time before we
>> register *any* clocksource (or at least before I see any "Switching to
>> clocksource" messages).
> Huh.
> So yea, if we are very early at boot, we're likely using the jiffies
> clocksource, which is basically a software-based tick counter, which
> would be prone to lost-ticks issues if irqs were disabled for too long.
> Do you know if this is this a relatively new issue?
> My first instinct is "don't do that!" to whatever driver is disabling
> irqs for so long. Do you know what's actually causing these long irq off
> periods?
> I assume you're noticing this offset by seeing that CLOCK_REALTIME is
> off from the RTC right after boot? How severe is this? The RTC read is
> only second granular, so there's a fair amount of error (~1 second)
> possible right at boot, so this then must be many seconds worth of lost
> ticks to be noticeable, right?

I'm using 2.6.34, so not really new. I think the major offender is
kernel serial printk, which is done in polled mode. A *lot* of it,
e.g., 30+ seconds' worth. I wonder if there's some reasonably clean
way to resync with the RTC, say at the time we register a clocksource
better than jiffies, or in clocksource_done_booting(), or something.

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