Re: [PATCH] bitmap: fix memset optimization on big-endian systems

From: Linus Torvalds
Date: Mon Apr 02 2018 - 19:37:52 EST

On Mon, Apr 2, 2018 at 3:58 PM, Omar Sandoval <osandov@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> Commit 2a98dc028f91 introduced an optimization to bitmap_{set,clear}()
> which uses memset() when the start and length are constants aligned to a
> byte. This is wrong on big-endian systems;

Ugh, yes.

In retrospect, I do wish I had just made the bitmap types be
byte-based, but we had strong reasons for those "unsigned long" array

The traditional problem - and the reason why it is byte-order
dependent - was that we often mix bitmap operations with "unsigned
long flags" style operations.

We should probably have at least switched it to "unsigned long int"
with the whole 64-bit transition, but never did even that, so the
bitmap format is not just byte order dependent, but dependent on the
size of "long".

I guess the "unsigned long flag" issue still exists in several places,
and we're stuck with it, probably forever. Think page flags, but also
various networking flags etc.

You'd *think* they use bitmap operations consistently, but they
definitely mix it with direct accesses to the flags field, eg the page
flags are usually done using the PG_xyz bit numbers, but occasionally
you have code that checks multiple independent bits at once, doing
things like

(1UL << PG_private | 1UL << PG_private_2)

static inline int page_has_private(struct page *page)
return !!(page->flags & PAGE_FLAGS_PRIVATE);

so the bits really are _exposed_ as being encoded as bits in an unsigned long.

Your patch is obviously correct, and we just need to make sure people
*really* understand that bitmaps are arrays of unsigned long, and byte
(and bit) order is a real thing.