Re: [PATCH v3 01/17] mm: support madvise(MADV_FREE)

From: Minchan Kim
Date: Sun Nov 15 2015 - 21:13:13 EST

On Fri, Nov 13, 2015 at 11:46:07AM -0800, Andy Lutomirski wrote:
> On Fri, Nov 13, 2015 at 12:13 AM, Daniel Micay <danielmicay@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> > On 13/11/15 02:03 AM, Minchan Kim wrote:
> >> On Fri, Nov 13, 2015 at 01:45:52AM -0500, Daniel Micay wrote:
> >>>> And now I am thinking if we use access bit, we could implment MADV_FREE_UNDO
> >>>> easily when we need it. Maybe, that's what you want. Right?
> >>>
> >>> Yes, but why the access bit instead of the dirty bit for that? It could
> >>> always be made more strict (i.e. access bit) in the future, while going
> >>> the other way won't be possible. So I think the dirty bit is really the
> >>> more conservative choice since if it turns out to be a mistake it can be
> >>> fixed without a backwards incompatible change.
> >>
> >> Absolutely true. That's why I insist on dirty bit until now although
> >> I didn't tell the reason. But I thought you wanted to change for using
> >> access bit for the future, too. It seems MADV_FREE start to bloat
> >> over and over again before knowing real problems and usecases.
> >> It's almost same situation with volatile ranges so I really want to
> >> stop at proper point which maintainer should decide, I hope.
> >> Without it, we will make the feature a lot heavy by just brain storming
> >> and then causes lots of churn in MM code without real bebenfit
> >> It would be very painful for us.
> >
> > Well, I don't think you need more than a good API and an implementation
> > with no known bugs, kernel security concerns or backwards compatibility
> > issues. Configuration and API extensions are something for later (i.e.
> > land a baseline, then submit stuff like sysctl tunables). Just my take
> > on it though...
> >
> As long as it's anonymous MAP_PRIVATE only, then the security aspects
> should be okay. MADV_DONTNEED seems to work on pretty much any VMA,
> and there's been long history of interesting bugs there.
> As for dirty vs accessed, an argument in favor of going straight to
> accessed is that it means that users can write code like this without
> worrying about whether they have a kernel that uses the dirty bit:
> x = mmap(...);
> *x = 1; /* mark it present */
> /* i'm done with it */
> *x = 1;
> madvise(MADV_FREE, x, ...);
> wait a while;
> /* is it still there? */
> if (*x == 1) {
> /* use whatever was cached there */
> } else {
> /* reinitialize it */
> *x = 1;
> }
> With the dirty bit, this will look like it works, but on occasion
> users will lose the race where they probe *x to see if the data was
> lost and then the data gets lost before the next write comes in.
> Sure, that load from *x could be changed to RMW or users could do a
> dummy write (e.g. x[1] = 1; if (*x == 1) ...), but people might forget
> to do that, and the caching implications are a little bit worse.

I think your example is the case what people abuse MADV_FREE.
What happens if the object(ie, x) spans multiple pages?
User should know object's memory align and investigate all of pages
which span the object. Hmm, I don't think it's good for API.

> Note that switching to RMW is really really dangerous. Doing:
> *x &= 1;
> if (*x == 1) ...;
> is safe on x86 if the compiler generates:
> andl $1, (%[x]);
> cmpl $1, (%[x]);
> but is unsafe if the compiler generates:
> movl (%[x]), %eax;
> andl $1, %eax;
> movl %eax, (%[x]);
> cmpl $1, %eax;
> and even worse if the write is omitted when "provably" unnecessary.
> OTOH, if switching to the accessed bit is too much of a mess, then
> using the dirty bit at first isn't so bad.

Thanks! I want to use dirty bit first.

About access bit, I don't want to say it to mess but I guess it would
change a lot subtle thing for all architectures. Because we have used
access bit as just *hint* for aging while dirty bit is really
*critical marker* for system integrity. A example in x86, we don't
keep accuracy of access bit for reducing TLB flush IPI. I don't know
what technique other arches have used but they might have.


> --Andy
> --
> Andy Lutomirski
> AMA Capital Management, LLC
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