Re: [RFC] mm: kmemleak: replace __GFP_NOFAIL to GFP_NOWAIT in gfp_kmemleak_mask

From: Catalin Marinas
Date: Thu Apr 26 2018 - 08:56:45 EST

On Thu, Apr 26, 2018 at 08:23:19AM -0400, Chunyu Hu wrote:
> kmemleak is using kmem_cache to record every pointers returned from kernel mem
> allocation activities such as kmem_cache_alloc(). every time an object from
> slab allocator is returned, a following new kmemleak object is allocated.
> And when a slab object is freed, then the kmemleak object which contains
> the ptr will also be freed.
> and kmemleak scan thread will run in period to scan the kernel data, stack,
> and per cpu areas to check that every pointers recorded by kmemleak has at least
> one reference in those areas beside the one recorded by kmemleak. If there
> is no place in the memory acreas recording the ptr, then it's possible a leak.
> so once a kmemleak object allocation failed, it has to disable itself, otherwise
> it would lose track of some object pointers, and become less meaningful to
> continue record and scan the kernel memory for the pointers. So disable
> it forever. so this is why kmemleak can't tolerate a slab alloc fail (from fault injection)
> @Catalin,
> Is this right? If something not so correct or precise, please correct me.

That's a good description, thanks.

> I'm thinking about, is it possible that make kmemleak don't disable itself
> when fail_page_alloc is enabled? I can't think clearly what would happen
> if several memory allocation missed by kmelkeak trace, what's the bad result?

Take for example a long linked list. If kmemleak doesn't track an object
in such list (because the metadata allocation failed), such list_head is
never scanned and the subsequent objects in the list (pointed at by
'next') will be reported as leaks. Kmemleak pretty much becomes unusable
with a high number of false positives.