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SubjectRe: [RFC GIT PULL] softirq: Consolidation and stack overrun fix
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On Mon, 2013-09-23 at 18:19 -0700, Linus Torvalds wrote:
> On Mon, Sep 23, 2013 at 5:10 PM, Benjamin Herrenschmidt
> <benh@kernel.crashing.org> wrote:
> >
> > BTW, that boils down to a choice between using r13 as either a TLS for
> > current or current_thread_info, or as a per-cpu pointer, which one is
> > the most performance critical ?
>
> I think you can tune most of the architecture setup to best suit your needs.
>
> For example, on x86, we don't have much choice: the per-cpu accessors
> are going to be faster than the alternatives, and there are patches
> afoot to tune the preempt and rcu-readside counters to use the percpu
> area (and then save/restore things at task switch time). But having
> the counters natively in the thread_info struct is fine too and is
> what we do now.

Right, as long as the generic code doesn't move toward putting
everything in per-cpu without leaving us the option :-)

> Generally, we've put the performance-critical stuff into
> "current_thread_info" as opposed to "current", so it's likely that if
> the choice is between those two, then you might want to pick %r13
> pointing to the thread-info rather than the "struct task_struct" (ie
> things like low-level thread flags). But which is better probably
> depends on load, and again, some of it you can tweak by just making
> per-architecture structure choices and making the macros point at one
> or the other.

Well, if current_thread_info is basically inside the thread struct, it
will be the same, just a different offset from r13... task struct,
thread struct, thread info, it all becomes just one big structure
pointed to by r13.

> There's a few things that really depend on per-cpu areas, but I don't
> think it's a huge performance issue if you have to indirect off memory
> to get that. Most of the performance issues with per-cpu stuff is
> about avoiding cachelines ping-ponging back and forth, not so much
> about fast direct access. Of course, if some load really uses a *lot*
> of percpu accesses, you get both.
>
> The advantage of having %r13 point to thread data (which is "stable"
> as far as the compiler is concerned) as opposed to having it be a
> per-cpu pointer (which can change randomly due to task switching) is
> that from a correctness standpoint I really do think that either
> thread-info or current is *much* easier to handle than using it for
> the per-cpu base pointer.

Right. I had a chat with Alan Modra (gcc) and he reckons the "right" way
to make the per-cpu (or PACA) stuff work reasonably reliably is to do
something along the lines of:

register unsigned long per_cpu_offset asm("r13");

And have a barrier in preempt_enable/disable (and irq enable/disable,
though arguably we could just make barrier() do it) which marks r13 as
an *output* (not a clobber !).

From there, gcc knows that after any such barrier, r13 can have changed
and we intend to use the new value (if it's marked as a clobber, it
assumes it was *clobbered* and thus need to be restored to it's
*previous* value).

So if that holds, we have a solid way to do per-cpu. On one side, I tend
to think that r13 being task/thread/thread_info is probably a better
overall choice, I'm worried that going in a different direction than x86
means generic code will get "tuned" to use per-cpu for performance
critical stuff rather than task/thread/thread_info in inflexible ways.

Cheers,
Ben.

> Linus
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