Re: [PATCH 1/3] pfn_t: Change the encoding

From: Matthew Wilcox
Date: Sat Mar 12 2016 - 13:32:23 EST

On Fri, Mar 11, 2016 at 01:40:20PM -0800, Dan Williams wrote:
> On Fri, Mar 11, 2016 at 1:13 PM, Matthew Wilcox
> <matthew.r.wilcox@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> > By moving the flag bits to the bottom, we encourage commonality
> > between SGs with pages and those using pfn_t. We can also then insert
> > a pfn_t into a radix tree, as it uses the same two bits for indirect &
> > exceptional indicators.
> It's not immediately clear to me what we gain with SG entry
> commonality. The down side is that we lose the property that
> pfn_to_pfn_t() is a nop. This was Dave's suggestion so that the
> nominal case did not change the binary layout of a typical pfn.

I understand that motivation!

> Can we just bit swizzle a pfn_t on insertion/retrieval from the radix?

Of course we *can*, but we end up doing more swizzling that way than we
do this way. In the Brave New Future where we're storing pfn_t in the
radix tree, on a page fault we find the pfn_t in the radix tree then
we want to insert it into the page tables. So DAX would first have to
convert the radix tree entry to a pfn_t, then the page table code has to
convert the pfn_t into a pte/pmd/pud (which we currently do by converting
a pfn_t to a pfn, then converting the pfn to a pte/pmd/pud, but I assume
that either the compiler optimises that into a single conversion, or we'll
add pfn_t_pte to each architecture in future if it's actually a problem).

Much easier to look up a pfn_t in the radix tree and pass it directly
to vm_insert_mixed().

If there's any part of the kernel that is doing a *lot* of conversion
between pfn_t and pfn, that surely indicates a place in the kernel where
we need to convert an interface from pfn to pfn_t.

(It occurs to me we can make the code simpler on architectures that
don't support PUDs. The PFN_HUGE bit is still available to distinguish
between PMDs and PTEs, but we won't need to clear the bottom bit of the
PFN if PFN_HUGE is set, since nobody can add a PUD pfn to the radix tree).