svn commit: r225372 - head/sys/kern

Bruce Evans brde at
Tue Oct 4 16:52:18 UTC 2011

On Tue, 4 Oct 2011, Attilio Rao wrote:

> 2011/10/3 Bruce Evans <brde at>:
>> On Mon, 26 Sep 2011, Attilio Rao wrote:
>>> 2011/9/4 Bruce Evans <brde at>:
>>>> On Sun, 4 Sep 2011, Attilio Rao wrote:
>>>>> Also please notice that intr enable/disable happens in the wrong way
>>>>> as it is done via the MD (x86 specific likely) interface. This is
>>>>> wrong for 2 reasons:
>>>> No, intr_disable() is MI.  It is also used by witness.  disable_intr()
>>>> is the corresponding x86 interface that you may be thinking of.  The MI
>>>> interface intr_disable() was introduced to avoid the MD'ness of
>>>> intr_disable().
>>> I was a bit surprised to verify that you are right but
>>> spinlock_enter() has the big difference besides disable_intr() of also
>>> explicitly disabling preemption via critical_enter() which some
>>> codepath can trigger without even noticing it.
>>> This means it is more safer in presence of PREEMPTION option on and
>>> thus should be preferred to the normal intr_disable(), in particular
>>> for convoluted codepaths.
>> I think this is another implementation detail which shouldn't be depended
>> on.  Spinlocks may or may not need either interrupts disabled or a critical
>> section to work.  Now I'm a little surprised to remember that they use a
>> critical section.  This is to prevent context switching.  It is useful
>> behaviour, but not strictly necessary.
>> Since disabling interrupts also prevents context switching (excep by buggy
>> trap handlers including NMI), it is safe to use hard interrupt disabling
>> instead of critical_enter() to prevent context switching.  This is safe
>> because code that has interrupts disabled cannot wander off into other
>> code that doesn't understand this and does context switching! (unless it
>> is broken).  But for preventing context switching, critical_enter() is
>> better now that it doesn't hard-disable interrupts internally.
> This is not entirely correct, infact you may have preemption even with
> interrupts disabled by calling code that schedule threads. This is why
> spinlock_enter() disables interrupts _and_ preemption altogether.
> Look for example at hardclock() and its internal magic (this is what I
> meant, earlier, with "non convoluted codepaths").

That is a bug in -current.  As I said, only broken code can wander off
into other code that doesn't understand the caller's context.  This is
one of the things that prevents hardclock() being a non-broken fast
interrupt handler.  hardclock() wants to call scheduling code, but non-
broken fast interrupt handlers can't do that.

>> By un-inlining (un-macroizing) mtx_lock_spin(), but inlining
>> critical_enter(), I get the same number of function calls but much smaller
>> code since it is the tiny critical_enter() function and not the big
>> mtx_lock_spin() one that is inlined.
> I'm not entirely sure I follow.
> In -CURRENT, right now mtx_lock_spin() just yields
> _mtx_lock_spin_flags() which is not inlined.

That is the debugging version.  <sys/mutex.h> is obfuscated as follows:
- mtx_lock_spin(m) is mtx_lock_spin_flags((m), 0)
- if LOCK_DEBUG > 0 or defined(MUTEX_NOINLINE)
     mtx_lock_spin_flags((m), 0) is _mtx_lock_spin_flags((m), curthread, (0),
     This gives the version that you described.
     if LOCK_DEBUG > 0
       LOCK_FILE is __FILE__ and LOCK_LINE is __LINE__
       LOCK_FILE is NULL and LOCK_LINE is 0
     mtx_lock_spin_flags((m), 0) is __mtx_lock_spin((m), curthread, (0),
 	NULL, 0)
     This gives the version that I described.
     __mtx_lock_spin() is passed a dummy LOCK_FILE and LOCK_LINE although
     it doesn't use them in this case.  It is convoluted so that it can
     be used both in this case and in the non-inlined case, where it is
     expanded in _mtx_lock_spin_flags(), where it is passed __FILE__
     and __LINE__ iff LOCK_DEBUG > 0.  But this reuse is not so good since
     it gives a further obfuscations:
       __mtx_lock_spin() takes flags args but doesn't have `flags' in its
       name like some other mtx functions.
       In the non-inlined case:
         mtx_lock_spin(...) is _mtx_lock_spin_flags() as described above
 	_mtx_lock_spin_flags(...) invokes __mtx_lock_spin(...) as desc. above
         __mtx_lock_spin(...) invokes _mtx_lock_spin(...)
 	The macro obfuscations end at this point -- _mtx_lock_spin() is
 	always a function.
         _mtx_lock_spin(), like __mtx_lock_spin(), takes flags args but
 	doesn't have `flags' in its name.
   end if

> So the improvement here is just to have inlined critical_enter()? How
> this can lead to smaller code?

This should be obvious now.  Another detail is that my mtx_lock_spin()
takes only 1 arg (this is the normal API).  It doesn't need to support
passing (td, opt, file, line).  critical_enter() takes no args at all
(td = curthread is implicit for it, as it is for mtx_lock_spin()).  So
mtx_lock_spin(mp) calls expand to slightly more object code than
critical_enter() calls.  In -current for the inlined case, mtx_lock_spin()
expands to critical_enter() plus about 40 bytes (on i386) for the atomic
op on the mutex followed by the _mtx_lock_function call.

>> The complications are mainly in critical_exit():
>> - in my version, when td_critnest is decremented to 0, a MD function is
>>  called to "unpend" any pending interrupts that have accumulated while
>>  in the critical region.  Since mtx_lock_spin() doesn't hard-disable
>>  interrupts, they may occur when a spinlock is held.  Fast interrupts
>>  proceed.  Others are blocked until critical_exit() unpends them.
>>  This includes software interrupts.  The only really complicated part
>>  is letting fast interrupts proceed.  Fast interrupt handlers cannot
>>  use or be blocked by any normal locking, since they don't respect
>>  normal spinlocks.  So for example, hardclock() cannot be a fast interrupt
>>  handler.
> I don't think this is a good idea.
> We hardly rely on interrupts disabling during spinlock helding in
> order to get them be used by fast handlers and then avoid deadlocks
> with code running in interrupt/kernel context.

I think you mean "We strongly rely on...".  -current certainly relies on
this.  IMO this is mostly a bug.  There is the implementation detail that
spinlocks hard-disable interrupts to avoid a deadlock problem in the UP
case.  Too much code has come to depend on this IMO.

>>> [register_t intr_disable() interface not being quite NMI]
>>> I mostly agree, I think we should have an MD specified type to replace
>>> register_t for this (it could alias it, if it is suitable, but this
>>> interface smells a lot like x86-centric).
>> Really vax-centric.  spl "levels" are from vax or earlier CPUs.  x86
>> doesn't really have levels (the AT PIC has masks and precedences.  The
>> precedences correspond to levels are but rarely depended on or programmed
>> specifically).  alpha and sparc seem to have levels much closer to
>> vax.
>> With only levels, even an 8-bit interface for the level is enough (255
>> levels should be enough for anyone).  With masks, even a 64-bit interface
>> for the mask might not be enough.  When masks were mapped to levels
>> for FreeBSD on i386, the largish set of possible mask values was mapped
>> into < 8 standard levels (tty, net, bio, etc).  Related encoding of
>> MD details as cookies would probably work well enough in general.
> For cookie you just mean a void * ptr?

Either a pointer, or an integer that indexes a table of pointers, or an
an integer that encodes all the info in the integer's bits, possibly
with an identity encoding.


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