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Date:	Tue, 3 Dec 2013 22:01:01 -0500
From:	Johannes Weiner <>
To:	David Rientjes <>
Cc:	Michal Hocko <>,
	Andrew Morton <>,,,
Subject: Re: [patch] mm: memcg: do not declare OOM from __GFP_NOFAIL

On Tue, Dec 03, 2013 at 03:40:13PM -0800, David Rientjes wrote:
> On Tue, 3 Dec 2013, Johannes Weiner wrote:
> > > > Spin on which level? The whole point of this change was to not spin for
> > > > ever because the caller might sit on top of other locks which might
> > > > prevent somebody else to die although it has been killed.
> > > 
> > > See my question about the non-memcg page allocator behavior below.
> > 
> > No, please answer the question.
> > 
> The question would be answered below, by having consistency in allocation 
> and charging paths between both the page allocator and memcg.
> > > I'm not quite sure how significant of a point this is, though, because it 
> > > depends on the caller doing the __GFP_NOFAIL allocations that allow the 
> > > bypass.  If you're doing
> > > 
> > > 	for (i = 0; i < 1 << 20; i++)
> > > 		page[i] = alloc_page(GFP_NOFS | __GFP_NOFAIL);
> > 
> > Hyperbole serves no one.
> > 
> Since this bypasses all charges to the root memcg in oom conditions as a 
> result of your patch, how do you ensure the "leakage" is contained to a 
> small amount of memory?  Are we currently just trusting the users of 
> __GFP_NOFAIL that they aren't allocating a large amount of memory?

Yes, as answered in my first reply to you:


> Ah, this is because of 3168ecbe1c04 ("mm: memcg: use proper memcg in limit 
> bypass") which just bypasses all of these allocations and charges the root 
> memcg.  So if allocations want to bypass memcg isolation they just have to 
> be __GFP_NOFAIL?

I don't think we have another option.


Is there a specific reason you keep repeating the same questions?

> > > I'm referring to the generic non-memcg page allocator behavior.  Forget 
> > > memcg for a moment.  What is the behavior in the _page_allocator_ for 
> > > GFP_NOFS | __GFP_NOFAIL?  Do we spin forever if reclaim fails or do we 
> > > bypas the per-zone min watermarks to allow it to allocate because "it 
> > > needs to succeed, it may be holding filesystem locks"?
> > > 
> > > It's already been acknowledged in this thread that no bypassing is done 
> > > in the page allocator and it just spins.  There's some handwaving saying 
> > > that since the entire system is oom that there is a greater chance that 
> > > memory will be freed by something else, but that's just handwaving and is 
> > > certainly no guaranteed.
> > 
> > Do you have another explanation of why this deadlock is not triggering
> > in the global case?  It's pretty obvious that there is a deadlock that
> > can not be resolved unless some unrelated task intervenes, just read
> > __alloc_pages_slowpath().
> > 
> > But we had a concrete bug report for memcg where there was no other
> > task to intervene.  One was stuck in the OOM killer waiting for the
> > victim to exit, the victim was stuck on locks that the killer held.
> > 
> I believe the page allocator would be susceptible to the same deadlock if 
> nothing else on the system can reclaim memory and that belief comes from 
> code inspection that shows __GFP_NOFAIL is not guaranteed to ever succeed 
> in the page allocator as their charges now are (with your patch) in memcg.  
> I do not have an example of such an incident.

Me neither.

> > > So, my question again: why not bypass the per-zone min watermarks in the 
> > > page allocator?
> > 
> > I don't even know what your argument is supposed to be.  The fact that
> > we don't do it in the page allocator means that there can't be a bug
> > in memcg?
> > 
> I'm asking if we should allow GFP_NOFS | __GFP_NOFAIL allocations in the 
> page allocator to bypass per-zone min watermarks after reclaim has failed 
> since the oom killer cannot be called in such a context so that the page 
> allocator is not susceptible to the same deadlock without a complete 
> depletion of memory reserves?

Yes, I think so.

> It's not an argument, it's a question.  Relax.

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