Re: [PATCH 1/3] sched: add sched_task_call()

From: Josh Poimboeuf
Date: Wed Feb 18 2015 - 23:18:44 EST

On Thu, Feb 19, 2015 at 01:20:58AM +0100, Peter Zijlstra wrote:
> On Wed, Feb 18, 2015 at 11:12:56AM -0600, Josh Poimboeuf wrote:
> > > So uhm, what happens if your target task is running? When will you
> > > retry? The problem I see is that if you do a sample approach you might
> > > never hit an opportune moment.
> >
> > We attack it from multiple angles.
> >
> > First we check the stack of all sleeping tasks. That patches the
> > majority of tasks immediately. If necessary, we also do that
> > periodically in a workqueue to catch any stragglers.
> So not only do you need an 'atomic' stack save, you need to analyze and
> flip its state in the same atomic region. The task cannot start running
> again after the save and start using old functions while you analyze the
> stack and flip it.

Yes, exactly.

> > The next line of attack is patching tasks when exiting the kernel to
> > user space (system calls, interrupts, signals), to catch all CPU-bound
> > and some I/O-bound tasks. That's done in patch 9 [1] of the consistency
> > model patch set.
> So the HPC people are really into userspace that does for (;;) ; and
> isolate that on CPUs and have the tick interrupt stopped and all that.
> You'll not catch those threads on the sysexit path.
> And I'm fairly sure they'll not want to SIGSTOP/CONT their stuff either.
> Now its fairly easy to also handle this; just mark those tasks with a
> _TIF_WORK_SYSCALL_ENTRY flag, have that slowpath wait for the flag to
> go-away, then flip their state and clear the flag.

I guess you mean patch the task when it makes a syscall? I'm doing that
already on syscall exit with a bit in _TIF_ALLWORK_MASK and

> > As a last resort, if there are still any tasks which are sleeping on a
> > to-be-patched function, the user can send them SIGSTOP and SIGCONT to
> > force them to be patched.
> You typically cannot SIGSTOP/SIGCONT kernel threads. Also
> TASK_UNINTERRUPTIBLE sleeps are unaffected by signals.
> Bit pesky that.. needs pondering.

I did have a scheme for patching kthreads which are sleeping on
to-be-patched functions.

But now I'm thinking that kthreads will almost never be a problem. Most
kthreads are basically this:

void thread_fn()
while (1) {
/* do some stuff */


/* do other stuff */

So a kthread would typically only fail the stack check if we're trying
to patch either schedule() or the top-level thread_fn.

Patching thread_fn wouldn't be possible unless we killed the thread.

And I'd guess we can probably live without being able to patch
schedule() for now :-)

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