Re: [RESEND PATCH V2 1/3] Add mmap flag to request pages are locked after page fault

From: Vlastimil Babka
Date: Tue Jun 23 2015 - 08:45:29 EST

On 06/22/2015 04:18 PM, Eric B Munson wrote:
On Mon, 22 Jun 2015, Michal Hocko wrote:

On Fri 19-06-15 12:43:33, Eric B Munson wrote:
On Fri, 19 Jun 2015, Michal Hocko wrote:

On Thu 18-06-15 16:30:48, Eric B Munson wrote:
On Thu, 18 Jun 2015, Michal Hocko wrote:
Wouldn't it be much more reasonable and straightforward to have
MAP_FAULTPOPULATE as a counterpart for MAP_POPULATE which would
explicitly disallow any form of pre-faulting? It would be usable for
other usecases than with MAP_LOCKED combination.

I don't see a clear case for it being more reasonable, it is one
possible way to solve the problem.

MAP_FAULTPOPULATE would be usable for other cases as well. E.g. fault
around is all or nothing feature. Either all mappings (which support
this) fault around or none. There is no way to tell the kernel that
this particular mapping shouldn't fault around. I haven't seen such a
request yet but we have seen requests to have a way to opt out from
a global policy in the past (e.g. per-process opt out from THP). So
I can imagine somebody will come with a request to opt out from any
speculative operations on the mapped area in the future.

That sounds like something where new madvise() flag would make more sense than a new mmap flag, and conflating it with locking behavior would lead to all kinds of weird corner cases as Eric mentioned.

But I think it leaves us in an even
more akward state WRT VMA flags. As you noted in your fix for the
mmap() man page, one can get into a state where a VMA is VM_LOCKED, but
not present. Having VM_LOCKONFAULT states that this was intentional, if
we go to using MAP_FAULTPOPULATE instead of MAP_LOCKONFAULT, we no
longer set VM_LOCKONFAULT (unless we want to start mapping it to the
presence of two MAP_ flags). This can make detecting the MAP_LOCKED +
populate failure state harder.

I am not sure I understand your point here. Could you be more specific
how would you check for that and what for?

My thought on detecting was that someone might want to know if they had
a VMA that was VM_LOCKED but had not been made present becuase of a
failure in mmap. We don't have a way today, but adding VM_LOCKONFAULT
is at least explicit about what is happening which would make detecting
the VM_LOCKED but not present state easier.

One could use /proc/<pid>/pagemap to query the residency.

I think that's all too much complex scenario for a little gain. If someone knows that mmap(MAP_LOCKED|MAP_POPULATE) is not perfect, he should either mlock() separately from mmap(), or fault the range manually with a for loop. Why try to detect if the corner case was hit?

This assumes that
MAP_FAULTPOPULATE does not translate to a VMA flag, but it sounds like
it would have to.

Yes, it would have to have a VM flag for the vma.

So with your approach, VM_LOCKED flag is enough, right? The new MAP_ / MLOCK_ flags just cause setting VM_LOCKED to not fault the whole vma, but otherwise nothing changes.

If that's true, I think it's better than a new vma flag.

From my understanding MAP_LOCKONFAULT is essentially
MAP_FAULTPOPULATE|MAP_LOCKED with a quite obvious semantic (unlike
single MAP_LOCKED unfortunately). I would love to also have
MAP_LOCKED|MAP_POPULATE (aka full mlock semantic) but I am really
skeptical considering how my previous attempt to make MAP_POPULATE
reasonable went.

Are you objecting to the addition of the VMA flag VM_LOCKONFAULT, or the
new MAP_LOCKONFAULT flag (or both)?

I thought the MAP_FAULTPOPULATE (or any other better name) would
directly translate into VM_FAULTPOPULATE and wouldn't be tight to the
locked semantic. We already have VM_LOCKED for that. The direct effect
of the flag would be to prevent from population other than the direct
page fault - including any speculative actions like fault around or

I like the ability to control other speculative population, but I am not
sure about overloading it with the VM_LOCKONFAULT case. Here is my
concern. If we are using VM_FAULTPOPULATE | VM_LOCKED to denote
LOCKONFAULT, how can we tell the difference between someone that wants
to avoid read-ahead and wants to use mlock()? This might lead to some
interesting states with mlock() and munlock() that take flags. For
instance, using VM_LOCKONFAULT mlock(MLOCK_ONFAULT) followed by
munlock(MLOCK_LOCKED) leaves the VMAs in the same state with
VM_LOCKONFAULT set. If we use VM_FAULTPOPULATE, the same pair of calls
would clear VM_LOCKED, but leave VM_FAULTPOPULATE. It may not matter in
the end, but I am concerned about the subtleties here.


If you prefer that MAP_LOCKED |
MAP_FAULTPOPULATE means that VM_LOCKONFAULT is set, I am fine with that
instead of introducing MAP_LOCKONFAULT. I went with the new flag
because to date, we have a one to one mapping of MAP_* to VM_* flags.

If this is the preferred path for mmap(), I am fine with that.

I would like to see the new system calls that Andrew mentioned (and that
I am testing patches for) go in as well.

mlock with flags sounds like a good step but I am not sure it will make
sense in the future. POSIX has screwed that and I am not sure how many
applications would use it. This ship has sailed long time ago.

I don't know either, but the code is the question, right? I know that
we have at least one team that wants it here.

That way we give users the
ability to request VM_LOCKONFAULT for memory allocated using something
other than mmap.

mmap(MAP_FAULTPOPULATE); mlock() would have the same semantic even
without changing mlock syscall.

That is true as long as MAP_FAULTPOPULATE set a flag in the VMA(s). It
doesn't cover the actual case I was asking about, which is how do I get
lock on fault on malloc'd memory?

OK I see your point now. We would indeed need a flag argument for mlock.
Michal Hocko

To unsubscribe from this list: send the line "unsubscribe linux-alpha" in
the body of a message to majordomo@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
More majordomo info at