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authorFathi Boudra <fathi.boudra@linaro.org>2013-04-28 09:33:08 +0300
committerFathi Boudra <fathi.boudra@linaro.org>2013-04-28 09:33:08 +0300
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treeb9996006addfd7ae70a39672b76843b49aebc189 /Documentation/DocBook/kernel-locking.tmpl
downloadlinux-linaro-highbank-upstream/3.9.0.tar.gz
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+<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
+<!DOCTYPE book PUBLIC "-//OASIS//DTD DocBook XML V4.1.2//EN"
+ "http://www.oasis-open.org/docbook/xml/4.1.2/docbookx.dtd" []>
+
+<book id="LKLockingGuide">
+ <bookinfo>
+ <title>Unreliable Guide To Locking</title>
+
+ <authorgroup>
+ <author>
+ <firstname>Rusty</firstname>
+ <surname>Russell</surname>
+ <affiliation>
+ <address>
+ <email>rusty@rustcorp.com.au</email>
+ </address>
+ </affiliation>
+ </author>
+ </authorgroup>
+
+ <copyright>
+ <year>2003</year>
+ <holder>Rusty Russell</holder>
+ </copyright>
+
+ <legalnotice>
+ <para>
+ This documentation is free software; you can redistribute
+ it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public
+ License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either
+ version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later
+ version.
+ </para>
+
+ <para>
+ This program is distributed in the hope that it will be
+ useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied
+ warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.
+ See the GNU General Public License for more details.
+ </para>
+
+ <para>
+ You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public
+ License along with this program; if not, write to the Free
+ Software Foundation, Inc., 59 Temple Place, Suite 330, Boston,
+ MA 02111-1307 USA
+ </para>
+
+ <para>
+ For more details see the file COPYING in the source
+ distribution of Linux.
+ </para>
+ </legalnotice>
+ </bookinfo>
+
+ <toc></toc>
+ <chapter id="intro">
+ <title>Introduction</title>
+ <para>
+ Welcome, to Rusty's Remarkably Unreliable Guide to Kernel
+ Locking issues. This document describes the locking systems in
+ the Linux Kernel in 2.6.
+ </para>
+ <para>
+ With the wide availability of HyperThreading, and <firstterm
+ linkend="gloss-preemption">preemption </firstterm> in the Linux
+ Kernel, everyone hacking on the kernel needs to know the
+ fundamentals of concurrency and locking for
+ <firstterm linkend="gloss-smp"><acronym>SMP</acronym></firstterm>.
+ </para>
+ </chapter>
+
+ <chapter id="races">
+ <title>The Problem With Concurrency</title>
+ <para>
+ (Skip this if you know what a Race Condition is).
+ </para>
+ <para>
+ In a normal program, you can increment a counter like so:
+ </para>
+ <programlisting>
+ very_important_count++;
+ </programlisting>
+
+ <para>
+ This is what they would expect to happen:
+ </para>
+
+ <table>
+ <title>Expected Results</title>
+
+ <tgroup cols="2" align="left">
+
+ <thead>
+ <row>
+ <entry>Instance 1</entry>
+ <entry>Instance 2</entry>
+ </row>
+ </thead>
+
+ <tbody>
+ <row>
+ <entry>read very_important_count (5)</entry>
+ <entry></entry>
+ </row>
+ <row>
+ <entry>add 1 (6)</entry>
+ <entry></entry>
+ </row>
+ <row>
+ <entry>write very_important_count (6)</entry>
+ <entry></entry>
+ </row>
+ <row>
+ <entry></entry>
+ <entry>read very_important_count (6)</entry>
+ </row>
+ <row>
+ <entry></entry>
+ <entry>add 1 (7)</entry>
+ </row>
+ <row>
+ <entry></entry>
+ <entry>write very_important_count (7)</entry>
+ </row>
+ </tbody>
+
+ </tgroup>
+ </table>
+
+ <para>
+ This is what might happen:
+ </para>
+
+ <table>
+ <title>Possible Results</title>
+
+ <tgroup cols="2" align="left">
+ <thead>
+ <row>
+ <entry>Instance 1</entry>
+ <entry>Instance 2</entry>
+ </row>
+ </thead>
+
+ <tbody>
+ <row>
+ <entry>read very_important_count (5)</entry>
+ <entry></entry>
+ </row>
+ <row>
+ <entry></entry>
+ <entry>read very_important_count (5)</entry>
+ </row>
+ <row>
+ <entry>add 1 (6)</entry>
+ <entry></entry>
+ </row>
+ <row>
+ <entry></entry>
+ <entry>add 1 (6)</entry>
+ </row>
+ <row>
+ <entry>write very_important_count (6)</entry>
+ <entry></entry>
+ </row>
+ <row>
+ <entry></entry>
+ <entry>write very_important_count (6)</entry>
+ </row>
+ </tbody>
+ </tgroup>
+ </table>
+
+ <sect1 id="race-condition">
+ <title>Race Conditions and Critical Regions</title>
+ <para>
+ This overlap, where the result depends on the
+ relative timing of multiple tasks, is called a <firstterm>race condition</firstterm>.
+ The piece of code containing the concurrency issue is called a
+ <firstterm>critical region</firstterm>. And especially since Linux starting running
+ on SMP machines, they became one of the major issues in kernel
+ design and implementation.
+ </para>
+ <para>
+ Preemption can have the same effect, even if there is only one
+ CPU: by preempting one task during the critical region, we have
+ exactly the same race condition. In this case the thread which
+ preempts might run the critical region itself.
+ </para>
+ <para>
+ The solution is to recognize when these simultaneous accesses
+ occur, and use locks to make sure that only one instance can
+ enter the critical region at any time. There are many
+ friendly primitives in the Linux kernel to help you do this.
+ And then there are the unfriendly primitives, but I'll pretend
+ they don't exist.
+ </para>
+ </sect1>
+ </chapter>
+
+ <chapter id="locks">
+ <title>Locking in the Linux Kernel</title>
+
+ <para>
+ If I could give you one piece of advice: never sleep with anyone
+ crazier than yourself. But if I had to give you advice on
+ locking: <emphasis>keep it simple</emphasis>.
+ </para>
+
+ <para>
+ Be reluctant to introduce new locks.
+ </para>
+
+ <para>
+ Strangely enough, this last one is the exact reverse of my advice when
+ you <emphasis>have</emphasis> slept with someone crazier than yourself.
+ And you should think about getting a big dog.
+ </para>
+
+ <sect1 id="lock-intro">
+ <title>Two Main Types of Kernel Locks: Spinlocks and Mutexes</title>
+
+ <para>
+ There are two main types of kernel locks. The fundamental type
+ is the spinlock
+ (<filename class="headerfile">include/asm/spinlock.h</filename>),
+ which is a very simple single-holder lock: if you can't get the
+ spinlock, you keep trying (spinning) until you can. Spinlocks are
+ very small and fast, and can be used anywhere.
+ </para>
+ <para>
+ The second type is a mutex
+ (<filename class="headerfile">include/linux/mutex.h</filename>): it
+ is like a spinlock, but you may block holding a mutex.
+ If you can't lock a mutex, your task will suspend itself, and be woken
+ up when the mutex is released. This means the CPU can do something
+ else while you are waiting. There are many cases when you simply
+ can't sleep (see <xref linkend="sleeping-things"/>), and so have to
+ use a spinlock instead.
+ </para>
+ <para>
+ Neither type of lock is recursive: see
+ <xref linkend="deadlock"/>.
+ </para>
+ </sect1>
+
+ <sect1 id="uniprocessor">
+ <title>Locks and Uniprocessor Kernels</title>
+
+ <para>
+ For kernels compiled without <symbol>CONFIG_SMP</symbol>, and
+ without <symbol>CONFIG_PREEMPT</symbol> spinlocks do not exist at
+ all. This is an excellent design decision: when no-one else can
+ run at the same time, there is no reason to have a lock.
+ </para>
+
+ <para>
+ If the kernel is compiled without <symbol>CONFIG_SMP</symbol>,
+ but <symbol>CONFIG_PREEMPT</symbol> is set, then spinlocks
+ simply disable preemption, which is sufficient to prevent any
+ races. For most purposes, we can think of preemption as
+ equivalent to SMP, and not worry about it separately.
+ </para>
+
+ <para>
+ You should always test your locking code with <symbol>CONFIG_SMP</symbol>
+ and <symbol>CONFIG_PREEMPT</symbol> enabled, even if you don't have an SMP test box, because it
+ will still catch some kinds of locking bugs.
+ </para>
+
+ <para>
+ Mutexes still exist, because they are required for
+ synchronization between <firstterm linkend="gloss-usercontext">user
+ contexts</firstterm>, as we will see below.
+ </para>
+ </sect1>
+
+ <sect1 id="usercontextlocking">
+ <title>Locking Only In User Context</title>
+
+ <para>
+ If you have a data structure which is only ever accessed from
+ user context, then you can use a simple mutex
+ (<filename>include/linux/mutex.h</filename>) to protect it. This
+ is the most trivial case: you initialize the mutex. Then you can
+ call <function>mutex_lock_interruptible()</function> to grab the mutex,
+ and <function>mutex_unlock()</function> to release it. There is also a
+ <function>mutex_lock()</function>, which should be avoided, because it
+ will not return if a signal is received.
+ </para>
+
+ <para>
+ Example: <filename>net/netfilter/nf_sockopt.c</filename> allows
+ registration of new <function>setsockopt()</function> and
+ <function>getsockopt()</function> calls, with
+ <function>nf_register_sockopt()</function>. Registration and
+ de-registration are only done on module load and unload (and boot
+ time, where there is no concurrency), and the list of registrations
+ is only consulted for an unknown <function>setsockopt()</function>
+ or <function>getsockopt()</function> system call. The
+ <varname>nf_sockopt_mutex</varname> is perfect to protect this,
+ especially since the setsockopt and getsockopt calls may well
+ sleep.
+ </para>
+ </sect1>
+
+ <sect1 id="lock-user-bh">
+ <title>Locking Between User Context and Softirqs</title>
+
+ <para>
+ If a <firstterm linkend="gloss-softirq">softirq</firstterm> shares
+ data with user context, you have two problems. Firstly, the current
+ user context can be interrupted by a softirq, and secondly, the
+ critical region could be entered from another CPU. This is where
+ <function>spin_lock_bh()</function>
+ (<filename class="headerfile">include/linux/spinlock.h</filename>) is
+ used. It disables softirqs on that CPU, then grabs the lock.
+ <function>spin_unlock_bh()</function> does the reverse. (The
+ '_bh' suffix is a historical reference to "Bottom Halves", the
+ old name for software interrupts. It should really be
+ called spin_lock_softirq()' in a perfect world).
+ </para>
+
+ <para>
+ Note that you can also use <function>spin_lock_irq()</function>
+ or <function>spin_lock_irqsave()</function> here, which stop
+ hardware interrupts as well: see <xref linkend="hardirq-context"/>.
+ </para>
+
+ <para>
+ This works perfectly for <firstterm linkend="gloss-up"><acronym>UP
+ </acronym></firstterm> as well: the spin lock vanishes, and this macro
+ simply becomes <function>local_bh_disable()</function>
+ (<filename class="headerfile">include/linux/interrupt.h</filename>), which
+ protects you from the softirq being run.
+ </para>
+ </sect1>
+
+ <sect1 id="lock-user-tasklet">
+ <title>Locking Between User Context and Tasklets</title>
+
+ <para>
+ This is exactly the same as above, because <firstterm
+ linkend="gloss-tasklet">tasklets</firstterm> are actually run
+ from a softirq.
+ </para>
+ </sect1>
+
+ <sect1 id="lock-user-timers">
+ <title>Locking Between User Context and Timers</title>
+
+ <para>
+ This, too, is exactly the same as above, because <firstterm
+ linkend="gloss-timers">timers</firstterm> are actually run from
+ a softirq. From a locking point of view, tasklets and timers
+ are identical.
+ </para>
+ </sect1>
+
+ <sect1 id="lock-tasklets">
+ <title>Locking Between Tasklets/Timers</title>
+
+ <para>
+ Sometimes a tasklet or timer might want to share data with
+ another tasklet or timer.
+ </para>
+
+ <sect2 id="lock-tasklets-same">
+ <title>The Same Tasklet/Timer</title>
+ <para>
+ Since a tasklet is never run on two CPUs at once, you don't
+ need to worry about your tasklet being reentrant (running
+ twice at once), even on SMP.
+ </para>
+ </sect2>
+
+ <sect2 id="lock-tasklets-different">
+ <title>Different Tasklets/Timers</title>
+ <para>
+ If another tasklet/timer wants
+ to share data with your tasklet or timer , you will both need to use
+ <function>spin_lock()</function> and
+ <function>spin_unlock()</function> calls.
+ <function>spin_lock_bh()</function> is
+ unnecessary here, as you are already in a tasklet, and
+ none will be run on the same CPU.
+ </para>
+ </sect2>
+ </sect1>
+
+ <sect1 id="lock-softirqs">
+ <title>Locking Between Softirqs</title>
+
+ <para>
+ Often a softirq might
+ want to share data with itself or a tasklet/timer.
+ </para>
+
+ <sect2 id="lock-softirqs-same">
+ <title>The Same Softirq</title>
+
+ <para>
+ The same softirq can run on the other CPUs: you can use a
+ per-CPU array (see <xref linkend="per-cpu"/>) for better
+ performance. If you're going so far as to use a softirq,
+ you probably care about scalable performance enough
+ to justify the extra complexity.
+ </para>
+
+ <para>
+ You'll need to use <function>spin_lock()</function> and
+ <function>spin_unlock()</function> for shared data.
+ </para>
+ </sect2>
+
+ <sect2 id="lock-softirqs-different">
+ <title>Different Softirqs</title>
+
+ <para>
+ You'll need to use <function>spin_lock()</function> and
+ <function>spin_unlock()</function> for shared data, whether it
+ be a timer, tasklet, different softirq or the same or another
+ softirq: any of them could be running on a different CPU.
+ </para>
+ </sect2>
+ </sect1>
+ </chapter>
+
+ <chapter id="hardirq-context">
+ <title>Hard IRQ Context</title>
+
+ <para>
+ Hardware interrupts usually communicate with a
+ tasklet or softirq. Frequently this involves putting work in a
+ queue, which the softirq will take out.
+ </para>
+
+ <sect1 id="hardirq-softirq">
+ <title>Locking Between Hard IRQ and Softirqs/Tasklets</title>
+
+ <para>
+ If a hardware irq handler shares data with a softirq, you have
+ two concerns. Firstly, the softirq processing can be
+ interrupted by a hardware interrupt, and secondly, the
+ critical region could be entered by a hardware interrupt on
+ another CPU. This is where <function>spin_lock_irq()</function> is
+ used. It is defined to disable interrupts on that cpu, then grab
+ the lock. <function>spin_unlock_irq()</function> does the reverse.
+ </para>
+
+ <para>
+ The irq handler does not to use
+ <function>spin_lock_irq()</function>, because the softirq cannot
+ run while the irq handler is running: it can use
+ <function>spin_lock()</function>, which is slightly faster. The
+ only exception would be if a different hardware irq handler uses
+ the same lock: <function>spin_lock_irq()</function> will stop
+ that from interrupting us.
+ </para>
+
+ <para>
+ This works perfectly for UP as well: the spin lock vanishes,
+ and this macro simply becomes <function>local_irq_disable()</function>
+ (<filename class="headerfile">include/asm/smp.h</filename>), which
+ protects you from the softirq/tasklet/BH being run.
+ </para>
+
+ <para>
+ <function>spin_lock_irqsave()</function>
+ (<filename>include/linux/spinlock.h</filename>) is a variant
+ which saves whether interrupts were on or off in a flags word,
+ which is passed to <function>spin_unlock_irqrestore()</function>. This
+ means that the same code can be used inside an hard irq handler (where
+ interrupts are already off) and in softirqs (where the irq
+ disabling is required).
+ </para>
+
+ <para>
+ Note that softirqs (and hence tasklets and timers) are run on
+ return from hardware interrupts, so
+ <function>spin_lock_irq()</function> also stops these. In that
+ sense, <function>spin_lock_irqsave()</function> is the most
+ general and powerful locking function.
+ </para>
+
+ </sect1>
+ <sect1 id="hardirq-hardirq">
+ <title>Locking Between Two Hard IRQ Handlers</title>
+ <para>
+ It is rare to have to share data between two IRQ handlers, but
+ if you do, <function>spin_lock_irqsave()</function> should be
+ used: it is architecture-specific whether all interrupts are
+ disabled inside irq handlers themselves.
+ </para>
+ </sect1>
+
+ </chapter>
+
+ <chapter id="cheatsheet">
+ <title>Cheat Sheet For Locking</title>
+ <para>
+ Pete Zaitcev gives the following summary:
+ </para>
+ <itemizedlist>
+ <listitem>
+ <para>
+ If you are in a process context (any syscall) and want to
+ lock other process out, use a mutex. You can take a mutex
+ and sleep (<function>copy_from_user*(</function> or
+ <function>kmalloc(x,GFP_KERNEL)</function>).
+ </para>
+ </listitem>
+ <listitem>
+ <para>
+ Otherwise (== data can be touched in an interrupt), use
+ <function>spin_lock_irqsave()</function> and
+ <function>spin_unlock_irqrestore()</function>.
+ </para>
+ </listitem>
+ <listitem>
+ <para>
+ Avoid holding spinlock for more than 5 lines of code and
+ across any function call (except accessors like
+ <function>readb</function>).
+ </para>
+ </listitem>
+ </itemizedlist>
+
+ <sect1 id="minimum-lock-reqirements">
+ <title>Table of Minimum Requirements</title>
+
+ <para> The following table lists the <emphasis>minimum</emphasis>
+ locking requirements between various contexts. In some cases,
+ the same context can only be running on one CPU at a time, so
+ no locking is required for that context (eg. a particular
+ thread can only run on one CPU at a time, but if it needs
+ shares data with another thread, locking is required).
+ </para>
+ <para>
+ Remember the advice above: you can always use
+ <function>spin_lock_irqsave()</function>, which is a superset
+ of all other spinlock primitives.
+ </para>
+
+ <table>
+<title>Table of Locking Requirements</title>
+<tgroup cols="11">
+<tbody>
+
+<row>
+<entry></entry>
+<entry>IRQ Handler A</entry>
+<entry>IRQ Handler B</entry>
+<entry>Softirq A</entry>
+<entry>Softirq B</entry>
+<entry>Tasklet A</entry>
+<entry>Tasklet B</entry>
+<entry>Timer A</entry>
+<entry>Timer B</entry>
+<entry>User Context A</entry>
+<entry>User Context B</entry>
+</row>
+
+<row>
+<entry>IRQ Handler A</entry>
+<entry>None</entry>
+</row>
+
+<row>
+<entry>IRQ Handler B</entry>
+<entry>SLIS</entry>
+<entry>None</entry>
+</row>
+
+<row>
+<entry>Softirq A</entry>
+<entry>SLI</entry>
+<entry>SLI</entry>
+<entry>SL</entry>
+</row>
+
+<row>
+<entry>Softirq B</entry>
+<entry>SLI</entry>
+<entry>SLI</entry>
+<entry>SL</entry>
+<entry>SL</entry>
+</row>
+
+<row>
+<entry>Tasklet A</entry>
+<entry>SLI</entry>
+<entry>SLI</entry>
+<entry>SL</entry>
+<entry>SL</entry>
+<entry>None</entry>
+</row>
+
+<row>
+<entry>Tasklet B</entry>
+<entry>SLI</entry>
+<entry>SLI</entry>
+<entry>SL</entry>
+<entry>SL</entry>
+<entry>SL</entry>
+<entry>None</entry>
+</row>
+
+<row>
+<entry>Timer A</entry>
+<entry>SLI</entry>
+<entry>SLI</entry>
+<entry>SL</entry>
+<entry>SL</entry>
+<entry>SL</entry>
+<entry>SL</entry>
+<entry>None</entry>
+</row>
+
+<row>
+<entry>Timer B</entry>
+<entry>SLI</entry>
+<entry>SLI</entry>
+<entry>SL</entry>
+<entry>SL</entry>
+<entry>SL</entry>
+<entry>SL</entry>
+<entry>SL</entry>
+<entry>None</entry>
+</row>
+
+<row>
+<entry>User Context A</entry>
+<entry>SLI</entry>
+<entry>SLI</entry>
+<entry>SLBH</entry>
+<entry>SLBH</entry>
+<entry>SLBH</entry>
+<entry>SLBH</entry>
+<entry>SLBH</entry>
+<entry>SLBH</entry>
+<entry>None</entry>
+</row>
+
+<row>
+<entry>User Context B</entry>
+<entry>SLI</entry>
+<entry>SLI</entry>
+<entry>SLBH</entry>
+<entry>SLBH</entry>
+<entry>SLBH</entry>
+<entry>SLBH</entry>
+<entry>SLBH</entry>
+<entry>SLBH</entry>
+<entry>MLI</entry>
+<entry>None</entry>
+</row>
+
+</tbody>
+</tgroup>
+</table>
+
+ <table>
+<title>Legend for Locking Requirements Table</title>
+<tgroup cols="2">
+<tbody>
+
+<row>
+<entry>SLIS</entry>
+<entry>spin_lock_irqsave</entry>
+</row>
+<row>
+<entry>SLI</entry>
+<entry>spin_lock_irq</entry>
+</row>
+<row>
+<entry>SL</entry>
+<entry>spin_lock</entry>
+</row>
+<row>
+<entry>SLBH</entry>
+<entry>spin_lock_bh</entry>
+</row>
+<row>
+<entry>MLI</entry>
+<entry>mutex_lock_interruptible</entry>
+</row>
+
+</tbody>
+</tgroup>
+</table>
+
+</sect1>
+</chapter>
+
+<chapter id="trylock-functions">
+ <title>The trylock Functions</title>
+ <para>
+ There are functions that try to acquire a lock only once and immediately
+ return a value telling about success or failure to acquire the lock.
+ They can be used if you need no access to the data protected with the lock
+ when some other thread is holding the lock. You should acquire the lock
+ later if you then need access to the data protected with the lock.
+ </para>
+
+ <para>
+ <function>spin_trylock()</function> does not spin but returns non-zero if
+ it acquires the spinlock on the first try or 0 if not. This function can
+ be used in all contexts like <function>spin_lock</function>: you must have
+ disabled the contexts that might interrupt you and acquire the spin lock.
+ </para>
+
+ <para>
+ <function>mutex_trylock()</function> does not suspend your task
+ but returns non-zero if it could lock the mutex on the first try
+ or 0 if not. This function cannot be safely used in hardware or software
+ interrupt contexts despite not sleeping.
+ </para>
+</chapter>
+
+ <chapter id="Examples">
+ <title>Common Examples</title>
+ <para>
+Let's step through a simple example: a cache of number to name
+mappings. The cache keeps a count of how often each of the objects is
+used, and when it gets full, throws out the least used one.
+
+ </para>
+
+ <sect1 id="examples-usercontext">
+ <title>All In User Context</title>
+ <para>
+For our first example, we assume that all operations are in user
+context (ie. from system calls), so we can sleep. This means we can
+use a mutex to protect the cache and all the objects within
+it. Here's the code:
+ </para>
+
+ <programlisting>
+#include &lt;linux/list.h&gt;
+#include &lt;linux/slab.h&gt;
+#include &lt;linux/string.h&gt;
+#include &lt;linux/mutex.h&gt;
+#include &lt;asm/errno.h&gt;
+
+struct object
+{
+ struct list_head list;
+ int id;
+ char name[32];
+ int popularity;
+};
+
+/* Protects the cache, cache_num, and the objects within it */
+static DEFINE_MUTEX(cache_lock);
+static LIST_HEAD(cache);
+static unsigned int cache_num = 0;
+#define MAX_CACHE_SIZE 10
+
+/* Must be holding cache_lock */
+static struct object *__cache_find(int id)
+{
+ struct object *i;
+
+ list_for_each_entry(i, &amp;cache, list)
+ if (i-&gt;id == id) {
+ i-&gt;popularity++;
+ return i;
+ }
+ return NULL;
+}
+
+/* Must be holding cache_lock */
+static void __cache_delete(struct object *obj)
+{
+ BUG_ON(!obj);
+ list_del(&amp;obj-&gt;list);
+ kfree(obj);
+ cache_num--;
+}
+
+/* Must be holding cache_lock */
+static void __cache_add(struct object *obj)
+{
+ list_add(&amp;obj-&gt;list, &amp;cache);
+ if (++cache_num > MAX_CACHE_SIZE) {
+ struct object *i, *outcast = NULL;
+ list_for_each_entry(i, &amp;cache, list) {
+ if (!outcast || i-&gt;popularity &lt; outcast-&gt;popularity)
+ outcast = i;
+ }
+ __cache_delete(outcast);
+ }
+}
+
+int cache_add(int id, const char *name)
+{
+ struct object *obj;
+
+ if ((obj = kmalloc(sizeof(*obj), GFP_KERNEL)) == NULL)
+ return -ENOMEM;
+
+ strlcpy(obj-&gt;name, name, sizeof(obj-&gt;name));
+ obj-&gt;id = id;
+ obj-&gt;popularity = 0;
+
+ mutex_lock(&amp;cache_lock);
+ __cache_add(obj);
+ mutex_unlock(&amp;cache_lock);
+ return 0;
+}
+
+void cache_delete(int id)
+{
+ mutex_lock(&amp;cache_lock);
+ __cache_delete(__cache_find(id));
+ mutex_unlock(&amp;cache_lock);
+}
+
+int cache_find(int id, char *name)
+{
+ struct object *obj;
+ int ret = -ENOENT;
+
+ mutex_lock(&amp;cache_lock);
+ obj = __cache_find(id);
+ if (obj) {
+ ret = 0;
+ strcpy(name, obj-&gt;name);
+ }
+ mutex_unlock(&amp;cache_lock);
+ return ret;
+}
+</programlisting>
+
+ <para>
+Note that we always make sure we have the cache_lock when we add,
+delete, or look up the cache: both the cache infrastructure itself and
+the contents of the objects are protected by the lock. In this case
+it's easy, since we copy the data for the user, and never let them
+access the objects directly.
+ </para>
+ <para>
+There is a slight (and common) optimization here: in
+<function>cache_add</function> we set up the fields of the object
+before grabbing the lock. This is safe, as no-one else can access it
+until we put it in cache.
+ </para>
+ </sect1>
+
+ <sect1 id="examples-interrupt">
+ <title>Accessing From Interrupt Context</title>
+ <para>
+Now consider the case where <function>cache_find</function> can be
+called from interrupt context: either a hardware interrupt or a
+softirq. An example would be a timer which deletes object from the
+cache.
+ </para>
+ <para>
+The change is shown below, in standard patch format: the
+<symbol>-</symbol> are lines which are taken away, and the
+<symbol>+</symbol> are lines which are added.
+ </para>
+<programlisting>
+--- cache.c.usercontext 2003-12-09 13:58:54.000000000 +1100
++++ cache.c.interrupt 2003-12-09 14:07:49.000000000 +1100
+@@ -12,7 +12,7 @@
+ int popularity;
+ };
+
+-static DEFINE_MUTEX(cache_lock);
++static DEFINE_SPINLOCK(cache_lock);
+ static LIST_HEAD(cache);
+ static unsigned int cache_num = 0;
+ #define MAX_CACHE_SIZE 10
+@@ -55,6 +55,7 @@
+ int cache_add(int id, const char *name)
+ {
+ struct object *obj;
++ unsigned long flags;
+
+ if ((obj = kmalloc(sizeof(*obj), GFP_KERNEL)) == NULL)
+ return -ENOMEM;
+@@ -63,30 +64,33 @@
+ obj-&gt;id = id;
+ obj-&gt;popularity = 0;
+
+- mutex_lock(&amp;cache_lock);
++ spin_lock_irqsave(&amp;cache_lock, flags);
+ __cache_add(obj);
+- mutex_unlock(&amp;cache_lock);
++ spin_unlock_irqrestore(&amp;cache_lock, flags);
+ return 0;
+ }
+
+ void cache_delete(int id)
+ {
+- mutex_lock(&amp;cache_lock);
++ unsigned long flags;
++
++ spin_lock_irqsave(&amp;cache_lock, flags);
+ __cache_delete(__cache_find(id));
+- mutex_unlock(&amp;cache_lock);
++ spin_unlock_irqrestore(&amp;cache_lock, flags);
+ }
+
+ int cache_find(int id, char *name)
+ {
+ struct object *obj;
+ int ret = -ENOENT;
++ unsigned long flags;
+
+- mutex_lock(&amp;cache_lock);
++ spin_lock_irqsave(&amp;cache_lock, flags);
+ obj = __cache_find(id);
+ if (obj) {
+ ret = 0;
+ strcpy(name, obj-&gt;name);
+ }
+- mutex_unlock(&amp;cache_lock);
++ spin_unlock_irqrestore(&amp;cache_lock, flags);
+ return ret;
+ }
+</programlisting>
+
+ <para>
+Note that the <function>spin_lock_irqsave</function> will turn off
+interrupts if they are on, otherwise does nothing (if we are already
+in an interrupt handler), hence these functions are safe to call from
+any context.
+ </para>
+ <para>
+Unfortunately, <function>cache_add</function> calls
+<function>kmalloc</function> with the <symbol>GFP_KERNEL</symbol>
+flag, which is only legal in user context. I have assumed that
+<function>cache_add</function> is still only called in user context,
+otherwise this should become a parameter to
+<function>cache_add</function>.
+ </para>
+ </sect1>
+ <sect1 id="examples-refcnt">
+ <title>Exposing Objects Outside This File</title>
+ <para>
+If our objects contained more information, it might not be sufficient
+to copy the information in and out: other parts of the code might want
+to keep pointers to these objects, for example, rather than looking up
+the id every time. This produces two problems.
+ </para>
+ <para>
+The first problem is that we use the <symbol>cache_lock</symbol> to
+protect objects: we'd need to make this non-static so the rest of the
+code can use it. This makes locking trickier, as it is no longer all
+in one place.
+ </para>
+ <para>
+The second problem is the lifetime problem: if another structure keeps
+a pointer to an object, it presumably expects that pointer to remain
+valid. Unfortunately, this is only guaranteed while you hold the
+lock, otherwise someone might call <function>cache_delete</function>
+and even worse, add another object, re-using the same address.
+ </para>
+ <para>
+As there is only one lock, you can't hold it forever: no-one else would
+get any work done.
+ </para>
+ <para>
+The solution to this problem is to use a reference count: everyone who
+has a pointer to the object increases it when they first get the
+object, and drops the reference count when they're finished with it.
+Whoever drops it to zero knows it is unused, and can actually delete it.
+ </para>
+ <para>
+Here is the code:
+ </para>
+
+<programlisting>
+--- cache.c.interrupt 2003-12-09 14:25:43.000000000 +1100
++++ cache.c.refcnt 2003-12-09 14:33:05.000000000 +1100
+@@ -7,6 +7,7 @@
+ struct object
+ {
+ struct list_head list;
++ unsigned int refcnt;
+ int id;
+ char name[32];
+ int popularity;
+@@ -17,6 +18,35 @@
+ static unsigned int cache_num = 0;
+ #define MAX_CACHE_SIZE 10
+
++static void __object_put(struct object *obj)
++{
++ if (--obj-&gt;refcnt == 0)
++ kfree(obj);
++}
++
++static void __object_get(struct object *obj)
++{
++ obj-&gt;refcnt++;
++}
++
++void object_put(struct object *obj)
++{
++ unsigned long flags;
++
++ spin_lock_irqsave(&amp;cache_lock, flags);
++ __object_put(obj);
++ spin_unlock_irqrestore(&amp;cache_lock, flags);
++}
++
++void object_get(struct object *obj)
++{
++ unsigned long flags;
++
++ spin_lock_irqsave(&amp;cache_lock, flags);
++ __object_get(obj);
++ spin_unlock_irqrestore(&amp;cache_lock, flags);
++}
++
+ /* Must be holding cache_lock */
+ static struct object *__cache_find(int id)
+ {
+@@ -35,6 +65,7 @@
+ {
+ BUG_ON(!obj);
+ list_del(&amp;obj-&gt;list);
++ __object_put(obj);
+ cache_num--;
+ }
+
+@@ -63,6 +94,7 @@
+ strlcpy(obj-&gt;name, name, sizeof(obj-&gt;name));
+ obj-&gt;id = id;
+ obj-&gt;popularity = 0;
++ obj-&gt;refcnt = 1; /* The cache holds a reference */
+
+ spin_lock_irqsave(&amp;cache_lock, flags);
+ __cache_add(obj);
+@@ -79,18 +111,15 @@
+ spin_unlock_irqrestore(&amp;cache_lock, flags);
+ }
+
+-int cache_find(int id, char *name)
++struct object *cache_find(int id)
+ {
+ struct object *obj;
+- int ret = -ENOENT;
+ unsigned long flags;
+
+ spin_lock_irqsave(&amp;cache_lock, flags);
+ obj = __cache_find(id);
+- if (obj) {
+- ret = 0;
+- strcpy(name, obj-&gt;name);
+- }
++ if (obj)
++ __object_get(obj);
+ spin_unlock_irqrestore(&amp;cache_lock, flags);
+- return ret;
++ return obj;
+ }
+</programlisting>
+
+<para>
+We encapsulate the reference counting in the standard 'get' and 'put'
+functions. Now we can return the object itself from
+<function>cache_find</function> which has the advantage that the user
+can now sleep holding the object (eg. to
+<function>copy_to_user</function> to name to userspace).
+</para>
+<para>
+The other point to note is that I said a reference should be held for
+every pointer to the object: thus the reference count is 1 when first
+inserted into the cache. In some versions the framework does not hold
+a reference count, but they are more complicated.
+</para>
+
+ <sect2 id="examples-refcnt-atomic">
+ <title>Using Atomic Operations For The Reference Count</title>
+<para>
+In practice, <type>atomic_t</type> would usually be used for
+<structfield>refcnt</structfield>. There are a number of atomic
+operations defined in
+
+<filename class="headerfile">include/asm/atomic.h</filename>: these are
+guaranteed to be seen atomically from all CPUs in the system, so no
+lock is required. In this case, it is simpler than using spinlocks,
+although for anything non-trivial using spinlocks is clearer. The
+<function>atomic_inc</function> and
+<function>atomic_dec_and_test</function> are used instead of the
+standard increment and decrement operators, and the lock is no longer
+used to protect the reference count itself.
+</para>
+
+<programlisting>
+--- cache.c.refcnt 2003-12-09 15:00:35.000000000 +1100
++++ cache.c.refcnt-atomic 2003-12-11 15:49:42.000000000 +1100
+@@ -7,7 +7,7 @@
+ struct object
+ {
+ struct list_head list;
+- unsigned int refcnt;
++ atomic_t refcnt;
+ int id;
+ char name[32];
+ int popularity;
+@@ -18,33 +18,15 @@
+ static unsigned int cache_num = 0;
+ #define MAX_CACHE_SIZE 10
+
+-static void __object_put(struct object *obj)
+-{
+- if (--obj-&gt;refcnt == 0)
+- kfree(obj);
+-}
+-
+-static void __object_get(struct object *obj)
+-{
+- obj-&gt;refcnt++;
+-}
+-
+ void object_put(struct object *obj)
+ {
+- unsigned long flags;
+-
+- spin_lock_irqsave(&amp;cache_lock, flags);
+- __object_put(obj);
+- spin_unlock_irqrestore(&amp;cache_lock, flags);
++ if (atomic_dec_and_test(&amp;obj-&gt;refcnt))
++ kfree(obj);
+ }
+
+ void object_get(struct object *obj)
+ {
+- unsigned long flags;
+-
+- spin_lock_irqsave(&amp;cache_lock, flags);
+- __object_get(obj);
+- spin_unlock_irqrestore(&amp;cache_lock, flags);
++ atomic_inc(&amp;obj-&gt;refcnt);
+ }
+
+ /* Must be holding cache_lock */
+@@ -65,7 +47,7 @@
+ {
+ BUG_ON(!obj);
+ list_del(&amp;obj-&gt;list);
+- __object_put(obj);
++ object_put(obj);
+ cache_num--;
+ }
+
+@@ -94,7 +76,7 @@
+ strlcpy(obj-&gt;name, name, sizeof(obj-&gt;name));
+ obj-&gt;id = id;
+ obj-&gt;popularity = 0;
+- obj-&gt;refcnt = 1; /* The cache holds a reference */
++ atomic_set(&amp;obj-&gt;refcnt, 1); /* The cache holds a reference */
+
+ spin_lock_irqsave(&amp;cache_lock, flags);
+ __cache_add(obj);
+@@ -119,7 +101,7 @@
+ spin_lock_irqsave(&amp;cache_lock, flags);
+ obj = __cache_find(id);
+ if (obj)
+- __object_get(obj);
++ object_get(obj);
+ spin_unlock_irqrestore(&amp;cache_lock, flags);
+ return obj;
+ }
+</programlisting>
+</sect2>
+</sect1>
+
+ <sect1 id="examples-lock-per-obj">
+ <title>Protecting The Objects Themselves</title>
+ <para>
+In these examples, we assumed that the objects (except the reference
+counts) never changed once they are created. If we wanted to allow
+the name to change, there are three possibilities:
+ </para>
+ <itemizedlist>
+ <listitem>
+ <para>
+You can make <symbol>cache_lock</symbol> non-static, and tell people
+to grab that lock before changing the name in any object.
+ </para>
+ </listitem>
+ <listitem>
+ <para>
+You can provide a <function>cache_obj_rename</function> which grabs
+this lock and changes the name for the caller, and tell everyone to
+use that function.
+ </para>
+ </listitem>
+ <listitem>
+ <para>
+You can make the <symbol>cache_lock</symbol> protect only the cache
+itself, and use another lock to protect the name.
+ </para>
+ </listitem>
+ </itemizedlist>
+
+ <para>
+Theoretically, you can make the locks as fine-grained as one lock for
+every field, for every object. In practice, the most common variants
+are:
+</para>
+ <itemizedlist>
+ <listitem>
+ <para>
+One lock which protects the infrastructure (the <symbol>cache</symbol>
+list in this example) and all the objects. This is what we have done
+so far.
+ </para>
+ </listitem>
+ <listitem>
+ <para>
+One lock which protects the infrastructure (including the list
+pointers inside the objects), and one lock inside the object which
+protects the rest of that object.
+ </para>
+ </listitem>
+ <listitem>
+ <para>
+Multiple locks to protect the infrastructure (eg. one lock per hash
+chain), possibly with a separate per-object lock.
+ </para>
+ </listitem>
+ </itemizedlist>
+
+<para>
+Here is the "lock-per-object" implementation:
+</para>
+<programlisting>
+--- cache.c.refcnt-atomic 2003-12-11 15:50:54.000000000 +1100
++++ cache.c.perobjectlock 2003-12-11 17:15:03.000000000 +1100
+@@ -6,11 +6,17 @@
+
+ struct object
+ {
++ /* These two protected by cache_lock. */
+ struct list_head list;
++ int popularity;
++
+ atomic_t refcnt;
++
++ /* Doesn't change once created. */
+ int id;
++
++ spinlock_t lock; /* Protects the name */
+ char name[32];
+- int popularity;
+ };
+
+ static DEFINE_SPINLOCK(cache_lock);
+@@ -77,6 +84,7 @@
+ obj-&gt;id = id;
+ obj-&gt;popularity = 0;
+ atomic_set(&amp;obj-&gt;refcnt, 1); /* The cache holds a reference */
++ spin_lock_init(&amp;obj-&gt;lock);
+
+ spin_lock_irqsave(&amp;cache_lock, flags);
+ __cache_add(obj);
+</programlisting>
+
+<para>
+Note that I decide that the <structfield>popularity</structfield>
+count should be protected by the <symbol>cache_lock</symbol> rather
+than the per-object lock: this is because it (like the
+<structname>struct list_head</structname> inside the object) is
+logically part of the infrastructure. This way, I don't need to grab
+the lock of every object in <function>__cache_add</function> when
+seeking the least popular.
+</para>
+
+<para>
+I also decided that the <structfield>id</structfield> member is
+unchangeable, so I don't need to grab each object lock in
+<function>__cache_find()</function> to examine the
+<structfield>id</structfield>: the object lock is only used by a
+caller who wants to read or write the <structfield>name</structfield>
+field.
+</para>
+
+<para>
+Note also that I added a comment describing what data was protected by
+which locks. This is extremely important, as it describes the runtime
+behavior of the code, and can be hard to gain from just reading. And
+as Alan Cox says, <quote>Lock data, not code</quote>.
+</para>
+</sect1>
+</chapter>
+
+ <chapter id="common-problems">
+ <title>Common Problems</title>
+ <sect1 id="deadlock">
+ <title>Deadlock: Simple and Advanced</title>
+
+ <para>
+ There is a coding bug where a piece of code tries to grab a
+ spinlock twice: it will spin forever, waiting for the lock to
+ be released (spinlocks, rwlocks and mutexes are not
+ recursive in Linux). This is trivial to diagnose: not a
+ stay-up-five-nights-talk-to-fluffy-code-bunnies kind of
+ problem.
+ </para>
+
+ <para>
+ For a slightly more complex case, imagine you have a region
+ shared by a softirq and user context. If you use a
+ <function>spin_lock()</function> call to protect it, it is
+ possible that the user context will be interrupted by the softirq
+ while it holds the lock, and the softirq will then spin
+ forever trying to get the same lock.
+ </para>
+
+ <para>
+ Both of these are called deadlock, and as shown above, it can
+ occur even with a single CPU (although not on UP compiles,
+ since spinlocks vanish on kernel compiles with
+ <symbol>CONFIG_SMP</symbol>=n. You'll still get data corruption
+ in the second example).
+ </para>
+
+ <para>
+ This complete lockup is easy to diagnose: on SMP boxes the
+ watchdog timer or compiling with <symbol>DEBUG_SPINLOCK</symbol> set
+ (<filename>include/linux/spinlock.h</filename>) will show this up
+ immediately when it happens.
+ </para>
+
+ <para>
+ A more complex problem is the so-called 'deadly embrace',
+ involving two or more locks. Say you have a hash table: each
+ entry in the table is a spinlock, and a chain of hashed
+ objects. Inside a softirq handler, you sometimes want to
+ alter an object from one place in the hash to another: you
+ grab the spinlock of the old hash chain and the spinlock of
+ the new hash chain, and delete the object from the old one,
+ and insert it in the new one.
+ </para>
+
+ <para>
+ There are two problems here. First, if your code ever
+ tries to move the object to the same chain, it will deadlock
+ with itself as it tries to lock it twice. Secondly, if the
+ same softirq on another CPU is trying to move another object
+ in the reverse direction, the following could happen:
+ </para>
+
+ <table>
+ <title>Consequences</title>
+
+ <tgroup cols="2" align="left">
+
+ <thead>
+ <row>
+ <entry>CPU 1</entry>
+ <entry>CPU 2</entry>
+ </row>
+ </thead>
+
+ <tbody>
+ <row>
+ <entry>Grab lock A -&gt; OK</entry>
+ <entry>Grab lock B -&gt; OK</entry>
+ </row>
+ <row>
+ <entry>Grab lock B -&gt; spin</entry>
+ <entry>Grab lock A -&gt; spin</entry>
+ </row>
+ </tbody>
+ </tgroup>
+ </table>
+
+ <para>
+ The two CPUs will spin forever, waiting for the other to give up
+ their lock. It will look, smell, and feel like a crash.
+ </para>
+ </sect1>
+
+ <sect1 id="techs-deadlock-prevent">
+ <title>Preventing Deadlock</title>
+
+ <para>
+ Textbooks will tell you that if you always lock in the same
+ order, you will never get this kind of deadlock. Practice
+ will tell you that this approach doesn't scale: when I
+ create a new lock, I don't understand enough of the kernel
+ to figure out where in the 5000 lock hierarchy it will fit.
+ </para>
+
+ <para>
+ The best locks are encapsulated: they never get exposed in
+ headers, and are never held around calls to non-trivial
+ functions outside the same file. You can read through this
+ code and see that it will never deadlock, because it never
+ tries to grab another lock while it has that one. People
+ using your code don't even need to know you are using a
+ lock.
+ </para>
+
+ <para>
+ A classic problem here is when you provide callbacks or
+ hooks: if you call these with the lock held, you risk simple
+ deadlock, or a deadly embrace (who knows what the callback
+ will do?). Remember, the other programmers are out to get
+ you, so don't do this.
+ </para>
+
+ <sect2 id="techs-deadlock-overprevent">
+ <title>Overzealous Prevention Of Deadlocks</title>
+
+ <para>
+ Deadlocks are problematic, but not as bad as data
+ corruption. Code which grabs a read lock, searches a list,
+ fails to find what it wants, drops the read lock, grabs a
+ write lock and inserts the object has a race condition.
+ </para>
+
+ <para>
+ If you don't see why, please stay the fuck away from my code.
+ </para>
+ </sect2>
+ </sect1>
+
+ <sect1 id="racing-timers">
+ <title>Racing Timers: A Kernel Pastime</title>
+
+ <para>
+ Timers can produce their own special problems with races.
+ Consider a collection of objects (list, hash, etc) where each
+ object has a timer which is due to destroy it.
+ </para>
+
+ <para>
+ If you want to destroy the entire collection (say on module
+ removal), you might do the following:
+ </para>
+
+ <programlisting>
+ /* THIS CODE BAD BAD BAD BAD: IF IT WAS ANY WORSE IT WOULD USE
+ HUNGARIAN NOTATION */
+ spin_lock_bh(&amp;list_lock);
+
+ while (list) {
+ struct foo *next = list-&gt;next;
+ del_timer(&amp;list-&gt;timer);
+ kfree(list);
+ list = next;
+ }
+
+ spin_unlock_bh(&amp;list_lock);
+ </programlisting>
+
+ <para>
+ Sooner or later, this will crash on SMP, because a timer can
+ have just gone off before the <function>spin_lock_bh()</function>,
+ and it will only get the lock after we
+ <function>spin_unlock_bh()</function>, and then try to free
+ the element (which has already been freed!).
+ </para>
+
+ <para>
+ This can be avoided by checking the result of
+ <function>del_timer()</function>: if it returns
+ <returnvalue>1</returnvalue>, the timer has been deleted.
+ If <returnvalue>0</returnvalue>, it means (in this
+ case) that it is currently running, so we can do:
+ </para>
+
+ <programlisting>
+ retry:
+ spin_lock_bh(&amp;list_lock);
+
+ while (list) {
+ struct foo *next = list-&gt;next;
+ if (!del_timer(&amp;list-&gt;timer)) {
+ /* Give timer a chance to delete this */
+ spin_unlock_bh(&amp;list_lock);
+ goto retry;
+ }
+ kfree(list);
+ list = next;
+ }
+
+ spin_unlock_bh(&amp;list_lock);
+ </programlisting>
+
+ <para>
+ Another common problem is deleting timers which restart
+ themselves (by calling <function>add_timer()</function> at the end
+ of their timer function). Because this is a fairly common case
+ which is prone to races, you should use <function>del_timer_sync()</function>
+ (<filename class="headerfile">include/linux/timer.h</filename>)
+ to handle this case. It returns the number of times the timer
+ had to be deleted before we finally stopped it from adding itself back
+ in.
+ </para>
+ </sect1>
+
+ </chapter>
+
+ <chapter id="Efficiency">
+ <title>Locking Speed</title>
+
+ <para>
+There are three main things to worry about when considering speed of
+some code which does locking. First is concurrency: how many things
+are going to be waiting while someone else is holding a lock. Second
+is the time taken to actually acquire and release an uncontended lock.
+Third is using fewer, or smarter locks. I'm assuming that the lock is
+used fairly often: otherwise, you wouldn't be concerned about
+efficiency.
+</para>
+ <para>
+Concurrency depends on how long the lock is usually held: you should
+hold the lock for as long as needed, but no longer. In the cache
+example, we always create the object without the lock held, and then
+grab the lock only when we are ready to insert it in the list.
+</para>
+ <para>
+Acquisition times depend on how much damage the lock operations do to
+the pipeline (pipeline stalls) and how likely it is that this CPU was
+the last one to grab the lock (ie. is the lock cache-hot for this
+CPU): on a machine with more CPUs, this likelihood drops fast.
+Consider a 700MHz Intel Pentium III: an instruction takes about 0.7ns,
+an atomic increment takes about 58ns, a lock which is cache-hot on
+this CPU takes 160ns, and a cacheline transfer from another CPU takes
+an additional 170 to 360ns. (These figures from Paul McKenney's
+<ulink url="http://www.linuxjournal.com/article.php?sid=6993"> Linux
+Journal RCU article</ulink>).
+</para>
+ <para>
+These two aims conflict: holding a lock for a short time might be done
+by splitting locks into parts (such as in our final per-object-lock
+example), but this increases the number of lock acquisitions, and the
+results are often slower than having a single lock. This is another
+reason to advocate locking simplicity.
+</para>
+ <para>
+The third concern is addressed below: there are some methods to reduce
+the amount of locking which needs to be done.
+</para>
+
+ <sect1 id="efficiency-rwlocks">
+ <title>Read/Write Lock Variants</title>
+
+ <para>
+ Both spinlocks and mutexes have read/write variants:
+ <type>rwlock_t</type> and <structname>struct rw_semaphore</structname>.
+ These divide users into two classes: the readers and the writers. If
+ you are only reading the data, you can get a read lock, but to write to
+ the data you need the write lock. Many people can hold a read lock,
+ but a writer must be sole holder.
+ </para>
+
+ <para>
+ If your code divides neatly along reader/writer lines (as our
+ cache code does), and the lock is held by readers for
+ significant lengths of time, using these locks can help. They
+ are slightly slower than the normal locks though, so in practice
+ <type>rwlock_t</type> is not usually worthwhile.
+ </para>
+ </sect1>
+
+ <sect1 id="efficiency-read-copy-update">
+ <title>Avoiding Locks: Read Copy Update</title>
+
+ <para>
+ There is a special method of read/write locking called Read Copy
+ Update. Using RCU, the readers can avoid taking a lock
+ altogether: as we expect our cache to be read more often than
+ updated (otherwise the cache is a waste of time), it is a
+ candidate for this optimization.
+ </para>
+
+ <para>
+ How do we get rid of read locks? Getting rid of read locks
+ means that writers may be changing the list underneath the
+ readers. That is actually quite simple: we can read a linked
+ list while an element is being added if the writer adds the
+ element very carefully. For example, adding
+ <symbol>new</symbol> to a single linked list called
+ <symbol>list</symbol>:
+ </para>
+
+ <programlisting>
+ new-&gt;next = list-&gt;next;
+ wmb();
+ list-&gt;next = new;
+ </programlisting>
+
+ <para>
+ The <function>wmb()</function> is a write memory barrier. It
+ ensures that the first operation (setting the new element's
+ <symbol>next</symbol> pointer) is complete and will be seen by
+ all CPUs, before the second operation is (putting the new
+ element into the list). This is important, since modern
+ compilers and modern CPUs can both reorder instructions unless
+ told otherwise: we want a reader to either not see the new
+ element at all, or see the new element with the
+ <symbol>next</symbol> pointer correctly pointing at the rest of
+ the list.
+ </para>
+ <para>
+ Fortunately, there is a function to do this for standard
+ <structname>struct list_head</structname> lists:
+ <function>list_add_rcu()</function>
+ (<filename>include/linux/list.h</filename>).
+ </para>
+ <para>
+ Removing an element from the list is even simpler: we replace
+ the pointer to the old element with a pointer to its successor,
+ and readers will either see it, or skip over it.
+ </para>
+ <programlisting>
+ list-&gt;next = old-&gt;next;
+ </programlisting>
+ <para>
+ There is <function>list_del_rcu()</function>
+ (<filename>include/linux/list.h</filename>) which does this (the
+ normal version poisons the old object, which we don't want).
+ </para>
+ <para>
+ The reader must also be careful: some CPUs can look through the
+ <symbol>next</symbol> pointer to start reading the contents of
+ the next element early, but don't realize that the pre-fetched
+ contents is wrong when the <symbol>next</symbol> pointer changes
+ underneath them. Once again, there is a
+ <function>list_for_each_entry_rcu()</function>
+ (<filename>include/linux/list.h</filename>) to help you. Of
+ course, writers can just use
+ <function>list_for_each_entry()</function>, since there cannot
+ be two simultaneous writers.
+ </para>
+ <para>
+ Our final dilemma is this: when can we actually destroy the
+ removed element? Remember, a reader might be stepping through
+ this element in the list right now: if we free this element and
+ the <symbol>next</symbol> pointer changes, the reader will jump
+ off into garbage and crash. We need to wait until we know that
+ all the readers who were traversing the list when we deleted the
+ element are finished. We use <function>call_rcu()</function> to
+ register a callback which will actually destroy the object once
+ all pre-existing readers are finished. Alternatively,
+ <function>synchronize_rcu()</function> may be used to block until
+ all pre-existing are finished.
+ </para>
+ <para>
+ But how does Read Copy Update know when the readers are
+ finished? The method is this: firstly, the readers always
+ traverse the list inside
+ <function>rcu_read_lock()</function>/<function>rcu_read_unlock()</function>
+ pairs: these simply disable preemption so the reader won't go to
+ sleep while reading the list.
+ </para>
+ <para>
+ RCU then waits until every other CPU has slept at least once:
+ since readers cannot sleep, we know that any readers which were
+ traversing the list during the deletion are finished, and the
+ callback is triggered. The real Read Copy Update code is a
+ little more optimized than this, but this is the fundamental
+ idea.
+ </para>
+
+<programlisting>
+--- cache.c.perobjectlock 2003-12-11 17:15:03.000000000 +1100
++++ cache.c.rcupdate 2003-12-11 17:55:14.000000000 +1100
+@@ -1,15 +1,18 @@
+ #include &lt;linux/list.h&gt;
+ #include &lt;linux/slab.h&gt;
+ #include &lt;linux/string.h&gt;
++#include &lt;linux/rcupdate.h&gt;
+ #include &lt;linux/mutex.h&gt;
+ #include &lt;asm/errno.h&gt;
+
+ struct object
+ {
+- /* These two protected by cache_lock. */
++ /* This is protected by RCU */
+ struct list_head list;
+ int popularity;
+
++ struct rcu_head rcu;
++
+ atomic_t refcnt;
+
+ /* Doesn't change once created. */
+@@ -40,7 +43,7 @@
+ {
+ struct object *i;
+
+- list_for_each_entry(i, &amp;cache, list) {
++ list_for_each_entry_rcu(i, &amp;cache, list) {
+ if (i-&gt;id == id) {
+ i-&gt;popularity++;
+ return i;
+@@ -49,19 +52,25 @@
+ return NULL;
+ }
+
++/* Final discard done once we know no readers are looking. */
++static void cache_delete_rcu(void *arg)
++{
++ object_put(arg);
++}
++
+ /* Must be holding cache_lock */
+ static void __cache_delete(struct object *obj)
+ {
+ BUG_ON(!obj);
+- list_del(&amp;obj-&gt;list);
+- object_put(obj);
++ list_del_rcu(&amp;obj-&gt;list);
+ cache_num--;
++ call_rcu(&amp;obj-&gt;rcu, cache_delete_rcu);
+ }
+
+ /* Must be holding cache_lock */
+ static void __cache_add(struct object *obj)
+ {
+- list_add(&amp;obj-&gt;list, &amp;cache);
++ list_add_rcu(&amp;obj-&gt;list, &amp;cache);
+ if (++cache_num > MAX_CACHE_SIZE) {
+ struct object *i, *outcast = NULL;
+ list_for_each_entry(i, &amp;cache, list) {
+@@ -104,12 +114,11 @@
+ struct object *cache_find(int id)
+ {
+ struct object *obj;
+- unsigned long flags;
+
+- spin_lock_irqsave(&amp;cache_lock, flags);
++ rcu_read_lock();
+ obj = __cache_find(id);
+ if (obj)
+ object_get(obj);
+- spin_unlock_irqrestore(&amp;cache_lock, flags);
++ rcu_read_unlock();
+ return obj;
+ }
+</programlisting>
+
+<para>
+Note that the reader will alter the
+<structfield>popularity</structfield> member in
+<function>__cache_find()</function>, and now it doesn't hold a lock.
+One solution would be to make it an <type>atomic_t</type>, but for
+this usage, we don't really care about races: an approximate result is
+good enough, so I didn't change it.
+</para>
+
+<para>
+The result is that <function>cache_find()</function> requires no
+synchronization with any other functions, so is almost as fast on SMP
+as it would be on UP.
+</para>
+
+<para>
+There is a furthur optimization possible here: remember our original
+cache code, where there were no reference counts and the caller simply
+held the lock whenever using the object? This is still possible: if
+you hold the lock, no one can delete the object, so you don't need to
+get and put the reference count.
+</para>
+
+<para>
+Now, because the 'read lock' in RCU is simply disabling preemption, a
+caller which always has preemption disabled between calling
+<function>cache_find()</function> and
+<function>object_put()</function> does not need to actually get and
+put the reference count: we could expose
+<function>__cache_find()</function> by making it non-static, and
+such callers could simply call that.
+</para>
+<para>
+The benefit here is that the reference count is not written to: the
+object is not altered in any way, which is much faster on SMP
+machines due to caching.
+</para>
+ </sect1>
+
+ <sect1 id="per-cpu">
+ <title>Per-CPU Data</title>
+
+ <para>
+ Another technique for avoiding locking which is used fairly
+ widely is to duplicate information for each CPU. For example,
+ if you wanted to keep a count of a common condition, you could
+ use a spin lock and a single counter. Nice and simple.
+ </para>
+
+ <para>
+ If that was too slow (it's usually not, but if you've got a
+ really big machine to test on and can show that it is), you
+ could instead use a counter for each CPU, then none of them need
+ an exclusive lock. See <function>DEFINE_PER_CPU()</function>,
+ <function>get_cpu_var()</function> and
+ <function>put_cpu_var()</function>
+ (<filename class="headerfile">include/linux/percpu.h</filename>).
+ </para>
+
+ <para>
+ Of particular use for simple per-cpu counters is the
+ <type>local_t</type> type, and the
+ <function>cpu_local_inc()</function> and related functions,
+ which are more efficient than simple code on some architectures
+ (<filename class="headerfile">include/asm/local.h</filename>).
+ </para>
+
+ <para>
+ Note that there is no simple, reliable way of getting an exact
+ value of such a counter, without introducing more locks. This
+ is not a problem for some uses.
+ </para>
+ </sect1>
+
+ <sect1 id="mostly-hardirq">
+ <title>Data Which Mostly Used By An IRQ Handler</title>
+
+ <para>
+ If data is always accessed from within the same IRQ handler, you
+ don't need a lock at all: the kernel already guarantees that the
+ irq handler will not run simultaneously on multiple CPUs.
+ </para>
+ <para>
+ Manfred Spraul points out that you can still do this, even if
+ the data is very occasionally accessed in user context or
+ softirqs/tasklets. The irq handler doesn't use a lock, and
+ all other accesses are done as so:
+ </para>
+
+<programlisting>
+ spin_lock(&amp;lock);
+ disable_irq(irq);
+ ...
+ enable_irq(irq);
+ spin_unlock(&amp;lock);
+</programlisting>
+ <para>
+ The <function>disable_irq()</function> prevents the irq handler
+ from running (and waits for it to finish if it's currently
+ running on other CPUs). The spinlock prevents any other
+ accesses happening at the same time. Naturally, this is slower
+ than just a <function>spin_lock_irq()</function> call, so it
+ only makes sense if this type of access happens extremely
+ rarely.
+ </para>
+ </sect1>
+ </chapter>
+
+ <chapter id="sleeping-things">
+ <title>What Functions Are Safe To Call From Interrupts?</title>
+
+ <para>
+ Many functions in the kernel sleep (ie. call schedule())
+ directly or indirectly: you can never call them while holding a
+ spinlock, or with preemption disabled. This also means you need
+ to be in user context: calling them from an interrupt is illegal.
+ </para>
+
+ <sect1 id="sleeping">
+ <title>Some Functions Which Sleep</title>
+
+ <para>
+ The most common ones are listed below, but you usually have to
+ read the code to find out if other calls are safe. If everyone
+ else who calls it can sleep, you probably need to be able to
+ sleep, too. In particular, registration and deregistration
+ functions usually expect to be called from user context, and can
+ sleep.
+ </para>
+
+ <itemizedlist>
+ <listitem>
+ <para>
+ Accesses to
+ <firstterm linkend="gloss-userspace">userspace</firstterm>:
+ </para>
+ <itemizedlist>
+ <listitem>
+ <para>
+ <function>copy_from_user()</function>
+ </para>
+ </listitem>
+ <listitem>
+ <para>
+ <function>copy_to_user()</function>
+ </para>
+ </listitem>
+ <listitem>
+ <para>
+ <function>get_user()</function>
+ </para>
+ </listitem>
+ <listitem>
+ <para>
+ <function>put_user()</function>
+ </para>
+ </listitem>
+ </itemizedlist>
+ </listitem>
+
+ <listitem>
+ <para>
+ <function>kmalloc(GFP_KERNEL)</function>
+ </para>
+ </listitem>
+
+ <listitem>
+ <para>
+ <function>mutex_lock_interruptible()</function> and
+ <function>mutex_lock()</function>
+ </para>
+ <para>
+ There is a <function>mutex_trylock()</function> which does not
+ sleep. Still, it must not be used inside interrupt context since
+ its implementation is not safe for that.
+ <function>mutex_unlock()</function> will also never sleep.
+ It cannot be used in interrupt context either since a mutex
+ must be released by the same task that acquired it.
+ </para>
+ </listitem>
+ </itemizedlist>
+ </sect1>
+
+ <sect1 id="dont-sleep">
+ <title>Some Functions Which Don't Sleep</title>
+
+ <para>
+ Some functions are safe to call from any context, or holding
+ almost any lock.
+ </para>
+
+ <itemizedlist>
+ <listitem>
+ <para>
+ <function>printk()</function>
+ </para>
+ </listitem>
+ <listitem>
+ <para>
+ <function>kfree()</function>
+ </para>
+ </listitem>
+ <listitem>
+ <para>
+ <function>add_timer()</function> and <function>del_timer()</function>
+ </para>
+ </listitem>
+ </itemizedlist>
+ </sect1>
+ </chapter>
+
+ <chapter id="apiref">
+ <title>Mutex API reference</title>
+!Iinclude/linux/mutex.h
+!Ekernel/mutex.c
+ </chapter>
+
+ <chapter id="references">
+ <title>Further reading</title>
+
+ <itemizedlist>
+ <listitem>
+ <para>
+ <filename>Documentation/spinlocks.txt</filename>:
+ Linus Torvalds' spinlocking tutorial in the kernel sources.
+ </para>
+ </listitem>
+
+ <listitem>
+ <para>
+ Unix Systems for Modern Architectures: Symmetric
+ Multiprocessing and Caching for Kernel Programmers:
+ </para>
+
+ <para>
+ Curt Schimmel's very good introduction to kernel level
+ locking (not written for Linux, but nearly everything
+ applies). The book is expensive, but really worth every
+ penny to understand SMP locking. [ISBN: 0201633388]
+ </para>
+ </listitem>
+ </itemizedlist>
+ </chapter>
+
+ <chapter id="thanks">
+ <title>Thanks</title>
+
+ <para>
+ Thanks to Telsa Gwynne for DocBooking, neatening and adding
+ style.
+ </para>
+
+ <para>
+ Thanks to Martin Pool, Philipp Rumpf, Stephen Rothwell, Paul
+ Mackerras, Ruedi Aschwanden, Alan Cox, Manfred Spraul, Tim
+ Waugh, Pete Zaitcev, James Morris, Robert Love, Paul McKenney,
+ John Ashby for proofreading, correcting, flaming, commenting.
+ </para>
+
+ <para>
+ Thanks to the cabal for having no influence on this document.
+ </para>
+ </chapter>
+
+ <glossary id="glossary">
+ <title>Glossary</title>
+
+ <glossentry id="gloss-preemption">
+ <glossterm>preemption</glossterm>
+ <glossdef>
+ <para>
+ Prior to 2.5, or when <symbol>CONFIG_PREEMPT</symbol> is
+ unset, processes in user context inside the kernel would not
+ preempt each other (ie. you had that CPU until you gave it up,
+ except for interrupts). With the addition of
+ <symbol>CONFIG_PREEMPT</symbol> in 2.5.4, this changed: when
+ in user context, higher priority tasks can "cut in": spinlocks
+ were changed to disable preemption, even on UP.
+ </para>
+ </glossdef>
+ </glossentry>
+
+ <glossentry id="gloss-bh">
+ <glossterm>bh</glossterm>
+ <glossdef>
+ <para>
+ Bottom Half: for historical reasons, functions with
+ '_bh' in them often now refer to any software interrupt, e.g.
+ <function>spin_lock_bh()</function> blocks any software interrupt
+ on the current CPU. Bottom halves are deprecated, and will
+ eventually be replaced by tasklets. Only one bottom half will be
+ running at any time.
+ </para>
+ </glossdef>
+ </glossentry>
+
+ <glossentry id="gloss-hwinterrupt">
+ <glossterm>Hardware Interrupt / Hardware IRQ</glossterm>
+ <glossdef>
+ <para>
+ Hardware interrupt request. <function>in_irq()</function> returns
+ <returnvalue>true</returnvalue> in a hardware interrupt handler.
+ </para>
+ </glossdef>
+ </glossentry>
+
+ <glossentry id="gloss-interruptcontext">
+ <glossterm>Interrupt Context</glossterm>
+ <glossdef>
+ <para>
+ Not user context: processing a hardware irq or software irq.
+ Indicated by the <function>in_interrupt()</function> macro
+ returning <returnvalue>true</returnvalue>.
+ </para>
+ </glossdef>
+ </glossentry>
+
+ <glossentry id="gloss-smp">
+ <glossterm><acronym>SMP</acronym></glossterm>
+ <glossdef>
+ <para>
+ Symmetric Multi-Processor: kernels compiled for multiple-CPU
+ machines. (CONFIG_SMP=y).
+ </para>
+ </glossdef>
+ </glossentry>
+
+ <glossentry id="gloss-softirq">
+ <glossterm>Software Interrupt / softirq</glossterm>
+ <glossdef>
+ <para>
+ Software interrupt handler. <function>in_irq()</function> returns
+ <returnvalue>false</returnvalue>; <function>in_softirq()</function>
+ returns <returnvalue>true</returnvalue>. Tasklets and softirqs
+ both fall into the category of 'software interrupts'.
+ </para>
+ <para>
+ Strictly speaking a softirq is one of up to 32 enumerated software
+ interrupts which can run on multiple CPUs at once.
+ Sometimes used to refer to tasklets as
+ well (ie. all software interrupts).
+ </para>
+ </glossdef>
+ </glossentry>
+
+ <glossentry id="gloss-tasklet">
+ <glossterm>tasklet</glossterm>
+ <glossdef>
+ <para>
+ A dynamically-registrable software interrupt,
+ which is guaranteed to only run on one CPU at a time.
+ </para>
+ </glossdef>
+ </glossentry>
+
+ <glossentry id="gloss-timers">
+ <glossterm>timer</glossterm>
+ <glossdef>
+ <para>
+ A dynamically-registrable software interrupt, which is run at
+ (or close to) a given time. When running, it is just like a
+ tasklet (in fact, they are called from the TIMER_SOFTIRQ).
+ </para>
+ </glossdef>
+ </glossentry>
+
+ <glossentry id="gloss-up">
+ <glossterm><acronym>UP</acronym></glossterm>
+ <glossdef>
+ <para>
+ Uni-Processor: Non-SMP. (CONFIG_SMP=n).
+ </para>
+ </glossdef>
+ </glossentry>
+
+ <glossentry id="gloss-usercontext">
+ <glossterm>User Context</glossterm>
+ <glossdef>
+ <para>
+ The kernel executing on behalf of a particular process (ie. a
+ system call or trap) or kernel thread. You can tell which
+ process with the <symbol>current</symbol> macro.) Not to
+ be confused with userspace. Can be interrupted by software or
+ hardware interrupts.
+ </para>
+ </glossdef>
+ </glossentry>
+
+ <glossentry id="gloss-userspace">
+ <glossterm>Userspace</glossterm>
+ <glossdef>
+ <para>
+ A process executing its own code outside the kernel.
+ </para>
+ </glossdef>
+ </glossentry>
+
+ </glossary>
+</book>
+