Re: [PATCH 2/2] mm, debug: report when GFP_NO{FS,IO} is used explicitly from memalloc_no{fs,io}_{save,restore} context

From: Michal Hocko
Date: Tue May 03 2016 - 11:38:31 EST

On Sat 30-04-16 09:40:08, Dave Chinner wrote:
> On Fri, Apr 29, 2016 at 02:12:20PM +0200, Michal Hocko wrote:
> > - was it
> > "inconsistent {RECLAIM_FS-ON-[RW]} -> {IN-RECLAIM_FS-[WR]} usage"
> > or a different class reports?
> Typically that was involved, but it quite often there'd be a number
> of locks and sometimes even interrupt stacks in an interaction
> between 5 or 6 different processes. Lockdep covers all sorts of
> stuff now (like fs freeze annotations as well as locks and memory
> reclaim) so sometimes the only thing we can do is remove the
> reclaim context from the stack and see if that makes it go away...

That is what I was thinking of. lockdep_reclaim_{disable,enable} or
something like that to tell __lockdep_trace_alloc to not skip
mark_held_locks(). This would effectivelly help to get rid of reclaim
specific reports. It is hard to tell whether there would be others,

> > > They may have been fixed since, but I'm sceptical
> > > of that because, generally speaking, developer testing only catches
> > > the obvious lockdep issues. i.e. it's users that report all the
> > > really twisty issues, and they are generally not reproducable except
> > > under their production workloads...
> > >
> > > IOWs, the absence of reports in your testing does not mean there
> > > isn't a problem, and that is one of the biggest problems with
> > > lockdep annotations - we have no way of ever knowing if they are
> > > still necessary or not without exposing users to regressions and
> > > potential deadlocks.....
> >
> > I understand your points here but if we are sure that those lockdep
> > reports are just false positives then we should rather provide an api to
> > silence lockdep for those paths
> I agree with this - please provide such infrastructure before we
> need it...

Do you think a reclaim specific lockdep annotation would be sufficient?

> > than abusing GFP_NOFS which a) hurts
> > the overal reclaim healthiness
> Which doesn't actually seem to be a problem for the vast majority of
> users.

Yes, most users are OK. Those allocations can be triggered by the
userspace (read a malicious user) quite easily and be harmful without a
good way to contain them.

> > and b) works around a non-existing
> > problem with lockdep disabled which is the vast majority of
> > configurations.
> But the moment we have a lockdep problem, we get bug reports from
> all over the place and people complaining about it, so we are
> *required* to silence them one way or another. And, like I said,
> when the choice is simply adding GFP_NOFS or spending a week or two
> completely reworking complex code that has functioned correctly for
> 15 years, the risk/reward *always* falls on the side of "just add
> Please keep in mind that there is as much code in fs/xfs as there is
> in the mm/ subsystem, and XFS has twice that in userspace as well.
> I say this, because we have only have 3-4 full time developers to do
> all the work required on this code base, unlike the mm/ subsystem
> which had 30-40 full time MM developers attending LSFMM. This is why
> I push back on suggestions that require significant redesign of
> subsystem code to handle memory allocation/reclaim quirks - most
> subsystems simply don't have the resources available to do such
> work, and so will always look for the quick 2 minute fix when it is
> available....

I do understand your concerns and I really do not ask you to redesign
your code. I would like make the code more maintainable and reducing the
number of (undocumented) GFP_NOFS usage to the minimum seems to be like
a first step. Now the direct usage of GFP_NOFS (resp. KM_NOFS) in xfs is
not that large. If we can reduce the few instances which are using the
flag to silence the lockdep and replace them by a better annotation then
I think this would be an improvement as well. If we can go one step
further and can get rid of mapping_set_gfp_mask(inode->i_mapping,
(gfp_mask & ~(__GFP_FS))) then I would be even happier.

I think other fs and code which interacts with FS layer needs much more
changes than xfs to be honest.
Michal Hocko