lists  /  announce  owl-users  owl-dev  john-users  john-dev  passwdqc-users  yescrypt  popa3d-users  /  oss-security  kernel-hardening  musl  sabotage  tlsify  passwords  /  crypt-dev  xvendor  /  Bugtraq  Full-Disclosure  linux-kernel  linux-netdev  linux-ext4  PHC 
Open Source and information security mailing list archives
Hash Suite: Windows password security audit tool. GUI, reports in PDF.
[<prev] [next>] [<thread-prev] [thread-next>] [day] [month] [year] [list]
Date:	Mon, 16 Sep 2013 21:22:12 -0400
From:	Peter Hurley <>
To:	Josef Bacik <>
CC:	David Daney <>,
	Andrew Morton <>,,,,
Subject: Re: [PATCH] rwsem: add rwsem_is_contended

On 09/16/2013 09:11 PM, Josef Bacik wrote:
> On Mon, Sep 16, 2013 at 06:08:42PM -0700, David Daney wrote:
>> On 09/16/2013 05:37 PM, Peter Hurley wrote:
>>> On 09/16/2013 08:29 PM, David Daney wrote:
>>>> On 09/16/2013 05:05 PM, Josef Bacik wrote:
>>>>> On Mon, Sep 16, 2013 at 04:05:47PM -0700, Andrew Morton wrote:
>>>>>> On Fri, 30 Aug 2013 10:14:01 -0400 Josef Bacik <>
>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>> Btrfs uses an rwsem to control access to its extent tree.  Threads
>>>>>>> will hold a
>>>>>>> read lock on this rwsem while they scan the extent tree, and if
>>>>>>> need_resched()
>>>>>>> they will drop the lock and schedule.  The transaction commit needs
>>>>>>> to take a
>>>>>>> write lock for this rwsem for a very short period to switch out the
>>>>>>> commit
>>>>>>> roots.  If there are a lot of threads doing this caching operation
>>>>>>> we can starve
>>>>>>> out the committers which slows everybody out.  To address this we
>>>>>>> want to add
>>>>>>> this functionality to see if our rwsem has anybody waiting to take
>>>>>>> a write lock
>>>>>>> so we can drop it and schedule for a bit to allow the commit to
>>>>>>> continue.
>>>>>>> Thanks,
>>>>>> This sounds rather nasty and hacky.  Rather then working around a
>>>>>> locking shortcoming in a caller it would be better to fix/enhance the
>>>>>> core locking code.  What would such a change need to do?
>>>>>> Presently rwsem waiters are fifo-queued, are they not?  So the commit
>>>>>> thread will eventually get that lock.  Apparently that's not working
>>>>>> adequately for you but I don't fully understand what it is about these
>>>>>> dynamics which is causing observable problems.
>>>>> So the problem is not that its normal lock starvation, it's more our
>>>>> particular
>>>>> use case that is causing the starvation.  We can have lots of people
>>>>> holding
>>>>> readers and simply never give them up for long periods of time, which
>>>>> is why we
>>>>> need this is_contended helper so we know to drop things and let the
>>>>> committer
>>>>> through.  Thanks,
>>>> You could easily achieve the same thing by putting an "is_contending"
>>>> flag in parallel with the rwsem and testing that:
>>> Which adds a bunch more bus-locked operations to contended over
>> Would that be a problem in this particular case?  Has it been measured?
>>> , when
>>> a unlocked if (list_empty()) is sufficient.
>> I don't object to adding rwsem_is_contended() *if* it is required.  I was
>> just pointing out that there may be other options.
>> The patch adds a bunch of new semantics to rwsem.  There is a trade off
>> between increased complexity of core code, and generalizing subsystem
>> specific optimizations that may not be globally useful.
>> Is it worth it in this case?  I do not know.
> So what you suggested is actually what we did in order to prove that this was
> what the problem was.  I'm ok with continuing to do that, I just figured adding
> something like rwsem_is_contended() would be nice in case anybody else runs into
> the issue in the future, plus it would save me an atomic_t in an already large
> structure.

I saw the original patch you linked to earlier in the discussion, and
I agree that for your use case adding a contention test is cleaner and clearer
than other options.

That said, I think this extension is only useful for readers: writers should be
getting their business done and releasing the sem.

Also, I think the comment above the function should be clearer that the lock
must already be held by the caller; IOW, this is not a trylock replacement.

Peter Hurley

To unsubscribe from this list: send the line "unsubscribe linux-kernel" in
the body of a message to
More majordomo info at
Please read the FAQ at

Powered by blists - more mailing lists