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SubjectRe: [PATCH 5/9] writeback: introduce the pageout work

On Wed, Mar 07, 2012 at 05:48:21PM +0200, Artem Bityutskiy wrote:
> On Sat, 2012-03-03 at 21:55 +0800, Fengguang Wu wrote:
> > 13 1125 /c/linux/fs/ubifs/file.c <<do_truncation>> <===== deadlockable
> Sorry, but could you please explain once again how the deadlock may
> happen?

Sorry I confused ubifs do_truncation() with the truncate_inode_pages()
that may be called from iput().

The once suspected deadlock scheme is when the flusher thread calls
the final iput:

flusher thread
<some ubifs function>
wait_for_completion => end up waiting for the flusher itself

However I cannot find any ubifs functions to form the above loop, so
ubifs should be safe for now.

> > It seems they are all safe except for ubifs. ubifs may actually
> > deadlock from the above do_truncation() caller. However it should be
> > fixable because the ubifs call for writeback_inodes_sb_nr() sounds
> > very brute force writeback and wait and there may well be better way
> > out.
> I do not think this "fixable" - this is part of UBIFS design to force
> write-back when we are not sure we have enough space.
> The problem is that we do not know how much space the dirty data in RAM
> will take on the flash media (after it is actually written-back) - e.g.,
> because we compress all the data (UBIFS performs on-the-flight
> compression). So we do pessimistic assumptions and allow dirtying more
> and more data as long as we know for sure that there is enough flash
> space on the media for the worst-case scenario (data are not
> compressible). This is what the UBIFS budgeting subsystem does.
> Once the budgeting sub-system sees that we are not going to have enough
> flash space for the worst-case scenario, it starts forcing write-back to
> push some dirty data out to the flash media and update the budgeting
> numbers, and get more realistic picture.
> So basically, before you can change _anything_ on UBIFS file-system, you
> need to budget for the space. Even when you truncate - because
> truncation is also about allocating more space for writing the updated
> inode and update the FS index. (Remember, all writes are out-of-place in
> UBIFS because we work with raw flash, not a block device).

Thanks for the detailed explanations!

Judging from the git log, ubifs starts with flushing NR_TO_WRITE=16
pages at one time commit 2acf80675800d ("UBIFS: simplify
make_free_space") and is later changed to flushing *the whole*
superblock by a writeback change ("writeback: get rid of
generic_sync_sb_inodes() export"). This could greatly increase the
wait time. I'd suggest to limit the write chunk size to about 125ms
as the below change:

--- linux.orig/fs/ubifs/budget.c 2012-03-08 23:16:01.661194026 -0800
+++ linux/fs/ubifs/budget.c 2012-03-08 23:16:02.477194003 -0800
@@ -63,7 +63,9 @@
static void shrink_liability(struct ubifs_info *c, int nr_to_write)
- writeback_inodes_sb(c->vfs_sb, WB_REASON_FS_FREE_SPACE);
+ writeback_inodes_sb_nr(c->vfs_sb,
+ c->bdi.avg_write_bandwidth / 8 + nr_to_write,

Here nr_to_write=16 merely serves as some minimal safeguard in case
bdi.avg_write_bandwidth drops to 0. Perhaps we can eliminate the
parameter and use the constant number directly.

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