Re: [PATCH] fix a race condition in cancelable mcs spinlocks
From: Paul E. McKenney
Date: Mon Jun 02 2014 - 12:39:47 EST
On Mon, Jun 02, 2014 at 11:57:14AM -0400, Mikulas Patocka wrote:
> On Mon, 2 Jun 2014, Paul E. McKenney wrote:
> > On Mon, Jun 02, 2014 at 05:19:39AM -0400, Mikulas Patocka wrote:
> > >
> > >
> > > On Sun, 1 Jun 2014, Peter Zijlstra wrote:
> > >
> > > > On Sun, Jun 01, 2014 at 04:46:26PM -0400, John David Anglin wrote:
> > > > > On 1-Jun-14, at 3:20 PM, Peter Zijlstra wrote:
> > > > >
> > > > > >>If you write to some variable with ACCESS_ONCE and use cmpxchg or xchg
> > > > > >>at
> > > > > >>the same time, you break it. ACCESS_ONCE doesn't take the hashed
> > > > > >>spinlock,
> > > > > >>so, in this case, cmpxchg or xchg isn't really atomic at all.
> > > > > >
> > > > > >And this is really the first place in the kernel that breaks like this?
> > > > > >I've been using xchg() and cmpxchg() without such consideration for
> > > > > >quite a while.
> > > > >
> > > > > I believe Mikulas is correct. Even in a controlled situation where a
> > > > > cmpxchg operation
> > > > > is used to implement pthread_spin_lock() in userspace, we found recently
> > > > > that the lock
> > > > > must be released with a cmpxchg operation and not a simple write on SMP
> > > > > systems.
> > > > > There is a race in the cache operations or instruction ordering that's not
> > > > > present with
> > > > > the ldcw instruction.
> > > >
> > > > Oh, I'm not arguing that. He's quite right that its broken, but this
> > > > form of atomic ops is also quite insane and unusual. Most sane machines
> > > > don't have this problem.
> > > >
> > > > My main concern is how are we going to avoid breaking parisc (and I
> > > > think sparc32, which is similarly retarded) in the future; we should
> > > > invest in machinery to find and detect these things.
> > >
> > > Grep the kernel for "\<xchg\>" and "\<cmpxchg\>" and replace them with
> > > atomic types and atomic access functions.
> > Not so good for pointers, though. Defeats type-checking, for one thing.
> > An example of this is use of xchg() for atomically enqueuing RCU callbacks
> > in kernel/rcu/tree_plugin.h.
> > I still like the idea of PA-RISC's compiler implementing ACCESS_ONCE()
> > as needed to make things work on that architecture.
> > Thanx, Paul
> We can perform some preprocessor tricks to check the pointer type. See my
> next patch that adds type checking - you declare the variable with
> atomic_pointer(struct optimistic_spin_queue *) next;
> and the pointer type is checked on all atomic operations involving this
The special handling of ACCESS_ONCE() on architectures needing it is
way better than this sort of modification, from what I can see.
> The problem with ACCESS_ONCE is that people omit it. There's plenty of
> places in the kernel where ACCESS_ONCE should be used and isn't
> (i_size_read, i_size_write, rt_mutex_is_locked...). Nothing really forces
> people to write the code correctly and use it.
Well, that would be another thing to add to the compiler modification,
have it check for a variable passed to xchg() or cmpxchg() and assigned
without the benefit of ACCESS_ONCE(). Of course, there will be false
positives, such as non-atomic assignments during initialization and
cleanup that cannot race with xchg() or cmpxchg(). Also cases where
all the xchg() and cmpxchg() are done under a lock, so that normal
assignments under that lock are OK.
Alternatively, perhaps a coccinelle script or change to sparse, smatch,
or whatever could help here.
> atomic_pointer (and other atomic types) have the advantage that they force
> people to use the atomic functions to access them. If you read or write to
> the variable directly, it won't compile.
Including the safe uses of normal assignment called out above?
> I think the best solution is to wrap the critical pointers with
> atomic_pointer(pointer_type *) and let the compiler report errors on all
> places where it is used unsafely.
I understand that you like this approach, but I am not at all convinced.
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