Re: [Ksummit-discuss] [BELATED CORE TOPIC] context tracking / nohz / RCU state

From: josh
Date: Tue Aug 11 2015 - 15:31:43 EST

On Tue, Aug 11, 2015 at 10:49:36AM -0700, Andy Lutomirski wrote:
> This is a bit late, but here goes anyway.
> Having played with the x86 context tracking hooks for awhile, I think
> it would be nice if core code that needs to be aware of CPU context
> (kernel, user, idle, guest, etc) could come up with single,
> comprehensible, easily validated set of hooks that arch code is
> supposed to call.
> Currently we have:
> - RCU hooks, which come in a wide variety to notify about IRQs, NMIs, etc.
> - Context tracking hooks. Only used by some arches. Calling these
> calls the RCU hooks for you in most cases. They have weird
> interactions with interrupts and they're slow.
> - vtime. Beats the heck out of me.
> - Whatever deferred things Christoph keeps reminding us about.
> Honestly, I don't fully understand what all these hooks are supposed
> to do, nor do I care all that much. From my perspective, the code
> code should be able to do whatever it wants and rely on appropriate
> notifications from arch code. It would be great if we could come up
> with something straightforward that covers everything. For example:
> user_mode_to_kernel_mode()
> kernel_mode_to_user_mode()
> kernel_mode_to_guest_mode()
> in_a_periodic_tick()
> starting_nmi()
> ending_nmi()
> may_i_turn_off_ticks_right_now()
> or, better yet:
> i_am_turning_off_ticks_right_now_and_register_your_own_darned_hrtimer_if_thats_a_problem()
> Some arches may need:
> i_am_lame_and_forgot_my_previous_context()
> x86 will soon (4.3 or 4.4, depending on how my syscall cleanup goes)
> no longer need that.
> Paul says that some arches need something that goes straight from IRQ
> to user mode (?) -- sigh.
> etc.
> It might make sense to get enough people who understand what's going
> on behind the scenes together to hash out the requirements.

I'm quite interested in this topic as well. In addition to the above
requirements, we also want to ensure that the kernel entry/exit fast
paths are as optimized as possible; everyone wants to hook those, and
very few things actually should.

- Josh Triplett
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