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Date:	Fri, 8 Aug 2014 10:12:21 -0400
From:	Steven Rostedt <>
To:	Peter Zijlstra <>
Cc:	"Paul E. McKenney" <>,
	Oleg Nesterov <>,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
Subject: Re: [PATCH v3 tip/core/rcu 3/9] rcu: Add synchronous grace-period
 waiting for RCU-tasks

On Fri, 8 Aug 2014 08:40:20 +0200
Peter Zijlstra <> wrote:

> On Thu, Aug 07, 2014 at 05:18:23PM -0400, Steven Rostedt wrote:
> > On Thu, 7 Aug 2014 22:08:13 +0200
> > Peter Zijlstra <> wrote:
> > 
> > > OK, you've got to start over and start at the beginning, because I'm
> > > really not understanding this..
> > > 
> > > What is a 'trampoline' and what are you going to use them for.
> > 
> > Great question! :-)
> > 
> > The trampoline is some code that is used to jump to and then jump
> > someplace else. Currently, we use this for kprobes and ftrace. For
> > ftrace we have the ftrace_caller trampoline, which is static. When
> > booting, most functions in the kernel call the mcount code which
> > simply returns without doing anything. This too is a "trampoline". At
> > boot, we convert these calls to nops (as you already know). When we
> > enable callbacks from functions, we convert those calls to call
> > "ftrace_caller" which is a small assembly trampoline that will call
> > some function that registered with ftrace.
> > 
> > Now why do we need the call_rcu_task() routine?
> > 
> > Right now, if you register multiple callbacks to ftrace, even if they
> > are not tracing the same routine, ftrace has to change ftrace_caller to
> > call another trampoline (in C), that does a loop of all ops registered
> > with ftrace, and compares the function to the ops hash tables to see if
> > the ops function should be called for that function.
> > 
> > What we want to do is to create a dynamic trampoline that is a copy of
> > the ftrace_caller code, but instead of calling this list trampoline, it
> > calls the ops function directly. This way, each ops registered with
> > ftrace can have its own custom trampoline that when called will only
> > call the ops function and not have to iterate over a list. This only
> > happens if the function being traced only has this one ops registered.
> > For functions with multiple ops attached to it, we need to call the
> > list anyway. But for the majority of the cases, this is not the case.
> > 
> > The one caveat for this is, how do we free this custom trampoline when
> > the ops is done with it? Especially for users of ftrace that
> > dynamically create their own ops (like perf, and ftrace instances).
> > 
> > We need to find a way to free it, but unfortunately, there's no way to
> > know when it is safe to free it. There's no way to disable preemption
> > or have some other notifier to let us know if a task has jumped to this
> > trampoline and has been preempted (sleeping). The only safe way to know
> > that no task is on the trampoline is to remove the calls to it,
> > synchronize the CPUS (so the trampolines are not even in the caches),
> > and then wait for all tasks to go through some quiescent state. This
> > state happens to be either not running, in userspace, or when it
> > voluntarily calls schedule. Because nothing that uses this trampoline
> > should do that, and if the task voluntarily calls schedule, we know
> > it's not on the trampoline.
> > 
> > Make sense?
> Ok, so they're purely used in the function prologue/epilogue callchain.

No, they are also used by optimized kprobes. This is why optimized
kprobes depend on !CONFIG_PREEMPT. [ added Masami to the discussion ].

Which reminds me. On !CONFIG_PREEMPT, call_rcu_task() should be
equivalent to call_rcu_sched().

> And you don't want to use synchronize_tasks() because registering a trace
> functions is atomic ?

No. Has nothing to do with registering the trace function. The issue is
that we have no idea when a task happens to be on a trampoline after it
is registered. For example:

ops adds a callback to sys_read:

sys_read() {
 call trampoline ->
    set up regs for function call.

      [ new task runs for long time ]

While this new task is running, we remove the trampoline and want to
free it. Say this new task keeps the other task from running for
minutes! We call synchronize_sched() or any other rcu call, and all
grace periods finish and we free the trampoline. The sys_read() no
longer calls our trampoline. Doesn't matter, because that task is still
on it. Now we schedule that task back. It's on a trampoline that has
just been freed! BOOM. It's executing code that no longer exits.

> But why would you use dynamic memory allocation for these trampolines at
> all? Why not use the one default trampoline for this?

That's what ftrace does today.

> Suppose that thing looks like:
> ftrace_mcount_handler()
> {
> 	for_each_hlist_rcu(entry,..)
> 		entry->func();
> }
> so why not make it look like:
> ftrace_mcount_handler()
> {
> 	asm_volatile_goto("jmp %l[label]" ::: &do_list);
> 	return;
> do_list:
> 	for_each_hlist_rcu(entry,...)
> 		entry->func();
> }
> Then, for:
> 	no entries -> NOP, 
> 	one entry -> "CALL $func", 
> 	more entries -> "JMP &do_list.

Except that we don't use jump labels for this, but just update the
trampoline directly (we've been doing this before jump labels ever
existed, and the trampoline is all in assembly anyway).

> No need for extra allocations and fancy means of getting rid of them,
> and only a few bytes extra wrt the existing function.

This doesn't address the issue we want to solve.

Say we have 1000 functions we want to trace with 1000 different
callbacks. Each of theses functions has one call back. How do you solve
that with your solution? Today, we do the list for every function. That
is, for each of these 1000 functions, we run through 1000 ops looking
for the ops that registered for this function. Not very efficient is it?

What we want to do today, is to create a dynamic trampoline for each of
theses 1000 functions. Each function will call a separate trampoline
that will only call the function that was registered to it. That way,
we can have 1000 different ops registered to 1000 different functions
and still have the same performance.

-- Steve
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