Re: [parisc-linux] [patch 15/23] Add cmpxchg_local to parisc

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]


* Grant Grundler ([email protected]) wrote:
> On Mon, Aug 27, 2007 at 05:11:40PM -0400, Mathieu Desnoyers wrote:
> ...
> > > Can you add a description to Documentation/atomic_ops.txt ?
> > > *sigh* sorry for being "late to the party" on this one...
> > 
> > Does Documentation/local_ops.txt answer your questions ? If not, please
> > tell me and I'll gladly explain more.
> Yes, it does mostly - thanks. 
> A few questions/nits:
> o Did you attempt quantify how many places in the kernel could use this?
>   I'm just trying to get a feel for how useful this really is vs just 
>   using existing mechanisms (that people understand) to implement a 
>   non-SMP-safe counter that protects updates (writes) against interrupts.
>   If you did, adding some referencs to local_ops.txt would be helpful
>   so folks could look for examples of "correct usage".

Good question. Since it is useful to implement fast, interrupt
reentrant, counters of any kind without disabling interrupts, I think it
could be vastely used in the kernel. I also use it in my LTTng kernel
tracer implementation to provide very fast buffer management. It is used
in LTTng, but could be used for most kind of buffering management too;
meaning that we could manage buffers without disabling interrupts.

So I don't expect to come with an "upper bound" about where it can be

> o Wording in local_ops.txt: "on the 
> 	"... it will then appear to be written out of order wrt
> 	 other memory writes on the owner CPU."
>   I'd like to suggest "by the owner CPU".

Ok, fixing.. thanks!

> o How can a local_t counter protect updates (writes) against interrupts 
>   but not preemption?
>   I always thought preemption required some sort of interrupt or trap.
>   Maybe the local_ops.txt explains that and I just missed it.

"Local atomic operations only guarantee variable modification atomicity
wrt the CPU which owns the data. Therefore, care must taken to make sure
that only one CPU writes to the local_t data. This is done by using per
cpu data and making sure that we modify it from within a preemption safe
context." -> therefore, preemption must be disabled around local ops
usage. This is required to be pinned to one CPU anyway.

>   DaveM explained updates "in flight" would not be visible to interrupts
>   and I suspect that's the answer to my question....but then I don't "feel
>   good" the local_ops are safe to update in interrupts _and_ the process
>   context kernel.  Maybe the relationship between local_ops, preemption,
>   and interrupts could be explained more carefully in local_ops.txt.

Does the paragraph above explain it enough or should I add some more
explanation ?

> o OK to add a reference for local_ops.txt to atomic_ops.txt?
>   They are obviously related and anyone "discovering" one of the docs
>   should be made aware of the other.
>   Patch+log entry appended below. Please sign-off if that's ok with you.

I'm perfectly ok with the idea, but suggest a small modification. See

> thanks,
> grant
> Diff+Commit entry against
> local_t is a variant of atomic_t and has related ops to match.
> Add reference for local_t documentation to atomic_ops.txt. 
> Signed-off-by: Grant Grundler <[email protected]>
> ---	2007-08-27 22:50:27.000000000 -0700
> +++	2007-08-27 22:54:44.000000000 -0700
> @@ -14,6 +14,10 @@
>  	typedef struct { volatile int counter; } atomic_t;
> +local_t is very similar to atomic_t. If the counter is per CPU and only
> +updated by one CPU, local_t is probably more appropriate. Please see
> +Documentation/local_ops.txt for the semantics of local_t.
> +
>  	The first operations to implement for atomic_t's are the
>  initializers and plain reads.

The text snippet is good, but I am not sure it belongs between the
description of atomic_t type and its initializers. What if we do
something like: (with context, I tried to explain the distinction
between atomic_t and local_t some more)

                Semantics and Behavior of Atomic and
                         Bitmask Operations

                          David S. Miller

        This document is intended to serve as a guide to Linux port
maintainers on how to implement atomic counter, bitops, and spinlock
interfaces properly.

atomic_t should be used to provide a type with update primitives
executed atomically from any CPU.  If the counter is per CPU and only
updated by one CPU, local_t is probably more appropriate.  Please see
Documentation/local_ops.txt for the semantics of local_t.

        The atomic_t type should be defined as a signed integer.
Also, it should be made opaque such that any kind of cast to a normal
C integer type will fail.  Something like the following should


Mathieu Desnoyers
Computer Engineering Ph.D. Student, Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal
OpenPGP key fingerprint: 8CD5 52C3 8E3C 4140 715F  BA06 3F25 A8FE 3BAE 9A68
To unsubscribe from this list: send the line "unsubscribe linux-kernel" in
the body of a message to [email protected]
More majordomo info at
Please read the FAQ at

[Index of Archives]     [Kernel Newbies]     [Netfilter]     [Bugtraq]     [Photo]     [Stuff]     [Gimp]     [Yosemite News]     [MIPS Linux]     [ARM Linux]     [Linux Security]     [Linux RAID]     [Video 4 Linux]     [Linux for the blind]     [Linux Resources]
  Powered by Linux