Re: USB mass storage and ARM cache coherency

From: Benjamin Herrenschmidt
Date: Sat Mar 06 2010 - 16:09:25 EST

On Sat, 2010-03-06 at 16:17 +0530, James Bottomley wrote:
> On a fault in of exec data, we first try to get the page out of the page
> cache. If it's not present, we put the faulting process to sleep and
> fetch it in from storage. When we do the read, on the PIO path, the
> kernel alias for the page becomes dirty. Some time later, we place the
> page into the user space (updating the pte entry that caused a fault).
> At this point, we'll call both flush_icache_page() and
> update_mmu_cache() ... this is where the I/D resolution should be done.
> Since it's after any I/O has occurred, it doesn't matter whether the CPU
> speculatively moved anything in or not. As long as you flush the kernel
> alias and invalidate the user I and D aliases, we're good to go. Using
> the page arch flags is really only to optimise this process (defer
> kernel D alias flushing).

Ok, so while flush_icache_page() looks like something we could use
instead of set_pte_at() for the icache flushing, it doesn't answer all
the questions. Off the top of my mind:

- I see the calls to flush_icache_page() in mm/memory.c but I don't see
them next to all set_pte_at() that insert a valid PTE. For example, we
don't flush the icache for anonymous pages. While that might seem like a
good idea, we have been under pressure to "fix" that on powerpc to make
sure there is no stale icache content from another process leaking into

- It needs to be done -before- set_pte_at() but I think the code does it
right, only your explanation above makes it unclear :-)

- It doesn't take the PTE pointer as an argument, so here goes our trick
on powerpc of filtering out exec permission rather than flushing when a
page is accessed by a read fault

- We -still- have the problem of tracking whether the icache has been
flushed or not yet for a given physical page on archs with PIPT (or non
aliasing VIPT) like powerpc. Without that tracking, we flush a lot more
than necessary since we'll end up flushing things like glibc text pages
for every process they are mapped into which is totally wasteful. Thus
the idea of using a new PG bit to separate D$ from I$ tracking still
makes sense.


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