Re: [PATCH 01/31] mm: use pmdp_get_lockless() without surplus barrier()

From: Hugh Dickins
Date: Thu May 25 2023 - 18:35:32 EST

On Wed, 24 May 2023, Peter Xu wrote:
> On Sun, May 21, 2023 at 09:49:45PM -0700, Hugh Dickins wrote:
> > Use pmdp_get_lockless() in preference to READ_ONCE(*pmdp), to get a more
> > reliable result with PAE (or READ_ONCE as before without PAE); and remove
> > the unnecessary extra barrier()s which got left behind in its callers.
> Pure question: does it mean that some of below path (missing barrier()
> ones) could have problem when CONFIG_PAE, hence this can be seen as a
> (potential) bug fix?

I don't think so; or at least, I am not claiming that this fixes any.

It really depends on what use is made of the pmdval afterwards, and
I've not checked through them. The READ_ONCE()s which were there,
were good enough to make sure that the compiler did not reevaluate
the pmdval later on, with perhaps a confusingly different result.

But, at least in the x86 PAE case, they were not good enough to ensure
that the two halves of the entry match up; and, sad to say, nor is that
absolutely guaranteed by these conversions to pmdp_get_lockless() -
because of the "HOWEVER" below. PeterZ's comments in linux/pgtable.h
are well worth reading through.

You might question why I made these changes at all: some days
I question them too. Better though imperfect? Or deceptive?


> >
> > HOWEVER: Note the small print in linux/pgtable.h, where it was designed
> > specifically for fast GUP, and depends on interrupts being disabled for
> > its full guarantee: most callers which have been added (here and before)
> > do NOT have interrupts disabled, so there is still some need for caution.