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SubjectRe: [RFC][PATCH]: documentation,atomic: Add a new atomic_t document
On Fri, Jun 09, 2017 at 04:44:42PM +0100, Will Deacon wrote:

> > +++ b/Documentation/atomic_t.txt 2017-06-09 11:05:31.501599153 +0200
> > @@ -0,0 +1,147 @@
> > +
> > +On atomic types (atomic_t atomic64_t and atomic_long_t).
> > +
> > +The atomic type provides an interface to the architecture's means of atomic
> > +RmW operations between CPUs (it specifically does not order/work/etc. on
> > +IO).
>
> We should be stronger here: atomics to IO could lead to kernel panics (i.e.
> raise a fatal abort), whereas this sounds like they just lose some ordering
> or atomicity guarantees.
>
> > +The 'full' API consists of:
>
> Need to mention the 64-bit and the long variants?

Makes a bit of a mess of things I felt, maybe I should be a little more
explicit and mention that everything applies to all 3 variants?


> > +Non RmW ops:
> > +
> > +The non-RmW ops are (typically) regular LOADs and STOREs and are canonically
> > +implemented using READ_ONCE(), WRITE_ONCE(), smp_load_acquire() and
> > +smp_store_release() respectively.
> > +
> > +The one detail to this is that atomic_set() should be observable to the RmW
> > +ops. That is:
> > +
> > + CPU0 CPU1
> > +
> > + val = atomic_read(&X)
> > + do {
> > + atomic_set(&X, 0)
> > + new = val + 1;
> > + } while (!atomic_try_cmpxchg(&X, &val, new));
> > +
> > +Should cause the cmpxchg to *FAIL* (when @val != 0). This is typically true;
> > +on 'normal' platforms; a regular competing STORE will invalidate a LL/SC.
>
> I see what you're getting at here, but the example is a bit weird because
> CPU1 might hold the store to X in a local store-buffer and not shoot down
> the cmpxchg immediately. I think you need something to show how the write
> to X has at least partially propagated.

Hurm.. would the example from metag atomic_set be better?

> > +The obvious case where this is not so is where we need to implement atomic ops
> > +with a spinlock hashtable; the typical solution is to then implement
> > +atomic_set() with atomic_xchg().
>
> Looking at sparc32, atomic_set takes the hashed lock, so I can't see what
> goes wrong here: atomic_try_cmpxchg will get called with val !=0, but the
> comparison will fail because the value in memory will be 0. What am I
> missing?

This is the reason their atomic_set() is special and needs to take the
lock.

> > +
> > +
> > +RmW ops:
> > +
> > +These come in various forms:
> > +
> > + - plain operations without return value: atomic_{}()
>
> Maybe just list the API here, instead of having the separate section
> previously?

That then leaves you with no place to put those comments. I wanted
to slice the API in different ways for each subject without endless
repetition.

> > + - operations which return the modified value: atomic_{}_return()
> > +
> > + these are limited to the arithmetic operations because those are
> > + reversible. Bitops are irreversible and therefore the modified value
> > + is of dubious utility.
> > +
> > + - operations which return the original value: atomic_fetch_{}()
> > +
> > + - swap operations: xchg(), cmpxchg() and try_cmpxchg()
> > +
> > + - misc; the special purpose operations that are commonly used and would,
> > + given the interface, normally be implemented using (try_)cmpxchg loops but
> > + are time critical and can, (typically) on LL/SC architectures, be more
> > + efficiently implemented.
> > +
> > +
> > +All these operations are SMP atomic; that is, the operations (for a single
> > +atomic variable) can be fully ordered and no intermediate state is lost or
> > +visible.
> > +
> > +
> > +Ordering: (go read memory-barriers.txt first)
> > +
> > +The rule of thumb:
> > +
> > + - non-RmW operations are unordered;
> > +
> > + - RmW operations that have no return value are unordered;
> > +
> > + - RmW operations that have a return value are Sequentially Consistent;
>
> I think it's stronger than that, because they also order non-RmW operations,
> whereas this makes it sounds like there's just a total order over all RmW
> operations.

Right, what should I call it?

> > + - RmW operations that are conditional are unordered on FAILURE, otherwise the
> > + above rules apply.
>
> We should make it clear that "unordered" here refers to accesses to other
> memory locations.
>
> > +
> > +Except of course when an operation has an explicit ordering like:
> > +
> > + {}_relaxed: unordered
> > + {}_acquire: the R of the RmW is an ACQUIRE
> > + {}_release: the W of the RmW is a RELEASE
> > +
> > +NOTE: our ACQUIRE/RELEASE are RCpc
>
> The NOTE belongs in memory-barriers.txt

It is of course; I'll remove that line.

> > +The barriers:
> > +
> > + smp_mb__{before,after}_atomic()
> > +
> > +only apply to the RmW ops and can be used to augment/upgrade the ordering
> > +inherit to the used atomic op. These barriers provide a full smp_mb().
>
> inherit?

"inherent" is I think the word I wanted..

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