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Date:   Thu, 20 Aug 2020 19:55:05 -0300
From:   Mauricio Faria de Oliveira <>
To:     Jan Kara <>
        dann frazier <>,
        Jan Kara <>
Subject: Re: [RFC PATCH v2 3/5] ext4: data=journal: write-protect pages on
 submit inode data buffers callback

Hi Jan,

Thanks a bunch for the detailed comments, including in the cover letter.
Your attention and patience for explanations are really appreciated.

I _think_ I got most of it for the next iteration -- a few follow up questions:

On Wed, Aug 19, 2020 at 7:41 AM Jan Kara <> wrote:
> On Wed 19-08-20 10:44:21, Jan Kara wrote:
> > I was thinking about this and we may need to do this somewhat differently.
> > I've realized that there's the slight trouble that we now use page dirty
> > bit for two purposes in data=journal mode - to track pages that need write
> > protection during commit and also to track pages which have buffers that
> > need checkpointing. And this mixing is making things complex. So I was
> > thinking that we could simply leave PageDirty bit for checkpointing
> > purposes and always make sure buffers are appropriately attached to a
> > transaction as dirty in ext4_page_mkwrite(). [snip]
> > [snip] Furthermore I
> > don't think that the tricks with PageChecked logic we play in data=journal
> > mode are really needed as well which should bring further simplifications.
> > I'll try to code this cleanup.
> I was looking more into this but it isn't as simple as I thought because
> get_user_pages() users can still modify data and call set_page_dirty() when
> the page is no longer writeably mapped. And by the time set_page_dirty() is
> called page buffers are not necessarily part of any transaction so we need
> to do effectively what's in ext4_journalled_writepage(). To handle this
> corner case I didn't find anything considerably simpler than the current
> code.
> So let's stay with what we have in
> ext4_journalled_submit_inode_data_buffers(), we just have to also redirty
> the page if we find any dirty buffers.

Could you please clarify/comment whether the dirty buffers "flags" are
different between
the suggestions for ext4_page_mkwrite() and
ext4_journalled_submit_inode_data_buffers() ?

I'm asking because..

In ext4_page_mkwrite() the suggestion is to attach buffers as dirty to
a transaction, which I guess can be done with
ext4_walk_page_buffers(..., write_end_fn) after
ext4_walk_page_buffers(..., do_journal_get_write_access) -- just as
done in ext4_journalled_writepage() -- and that sets the buffer as
*jbd* dirty (BH_JBDDirty.)

In ext4_journalled_submit_inode_data_buffers() the suggestion is to
check for dirty buffers to redirty the page
(for the case of buffers that need checkpointing) and I think this is
the non-jbd/just dirty (BH_Dirty.)

If I actually understood your explanation/suggest, the dirty buffer
flags should be different,
as otherwise we'd be unconditionally setting buffers dirty on
ext4_page_mkwrite() to later
check for (known to be) dirty buffers in


And as you mentioned no cleanup / keeping ext4_journalled_writepage()
and the PageChecked bit,
I would like to revisit two questions from the cover letter that would
have no impact with the cleanup,
so to confirm my understanding for the next steps.

    > 3) When checking to redirty the page in the writepage callback,
    >    does a buffer without a journal head means we should redirty
    >    the page? (for the reason it's not part of the committing txn)

Per your explanation about the page dirty bit for buffers that need
checkpointing, I see we cannot redirty
the page just because a buffer isn't part of the transaction -- the
buffer has to be dirty -- so I think it falls
down to your suggestion of 'also redirty if we find any dirty buffers'
(regardless of a buffer w/out txns.) right?

    > 4) Should we clear the PageChecked bit?
    > Should we try to prevent that [ext4_journalled_writepage()
running later] by, say, clearing the pagechecked bit
    > in case we don't have to redirty the page (in the writepage callback) ?

And I think the answer is no, per your explanation about page dirty
being set elsewhere outside of our control,
and thus ext4_journalled_page() still needs to run, and thus the  page
checked bit still needs to remain set; correct?

Thanks again,

>                                                                 Honza
> --
> Jan Kara <>
> SUSE Labs, CR

Mauricio Faria de Oliveira

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