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Date:   Thu, 2 Nov 2017 17:45:27 +0100
From:   Peter Zijlstra <peterz@...radead.org>
To:     Alan Stern <stern@...land.harvard.edu>
Cc:     "Reshetova, Elena" <elena.reshetova@...el.com>,
        "linux-kernel@...r.kernel.org" <linux-kernel@...r.kernel.org>,
        "gregkh@...uxfoundation.org" <gregkh@...uxfoundation.org>,
        "keescook@...omium.org" <keescook@...omium.org>,
        "tglx@...utronix.de" <tglx@...utronix.de>,
        "mingo@...hat.com" <mingo@...hat.com>,
        "ishkamiel@...il.com" <ishkamiel@...il.com>,
        Will Deacon <will.deacon@....com>,
        Paul McKenney <paulmck@...ux.vnet.ibm.com>,
        parri.andrea@...il.com, boqun.feng@...il.com, dhowells@...hat.com,
        david@...morbit.com
Subject: Re: [PATCH] refcount: provide same memory ordering guarantees as in
 atomic_t

On Thu, Nov 02, 2017 at 05:02:37PM +0100, Peter Zijlstra wrote:
> On Thu, Nov 02, 2017 at 11:40:35AM -0400, Alan Stern wrote:
> > On Thu, 2 Nov 2017, Peter Zijlstra wrote:
> > 
> > > > Lock functions such as refcount_dec_and_lock() &
> > > > refcount_dec_and_mutex_lock() Provide exactly the same guarantees as
> > > > they atomic counterparts. 
> > > 
> > > Nope. The atomic_dec_and_lock() provides smp_mb() while
> > > refcount_dec_and_lock() merely orders all prior load/store's against all
> > > later load/store's.
> > 
> > In fact there is no guaranteed ordering when refcount_dec_and_lock()  
> > returns false; 
> 
> It should provide a release:
> 
>  - if !=1, dec_not_one will provide release
>  - if ==1, dec_not_one will no-op, but then we'll acquire the lock and
>    dec_and_test will provide the release, even if the test fails and we
>    unlock again it should still dec.
> 
> The one exception is when the counter is saturated, but in that case
> we'll never free the object and the ordering is moot in any case.
> 
> > it provides ordering only if the return value is true.  
> > In which case it provides acquire ordering (thanks to the spin_lock),
> > and both release ordering and a control dependency (thanks to the
> > refcount_dec_and_test).
> > 
> > > The difference is subtle and involves at least 3 CPUs. I can't seem to
> > > write up anything simple, keeps turning into monsters :/ Will, Paul,
> > > have you got anything simple around?
> > 
> > The combination of acquire + release is not the same as smp_mb, because 
> 
> acquire+release is nothing, its release+acquire that I meant which
> should order things locally, but now that you've got me looking at it
> again, we don't in fact do that.
> 
> So refcount_dec_and_lock() will provide a release, irrespective of the
> return value (assuming we're not saturated). If it returns true, it also
> does an acquire for the lock.
> 
> But combined they're acquire+release, which is unfortunate.. it means
> the lock section and the refcount stuff overlaps, but I don't suppose
> that's actually a problem. Need to consider more.

Right, so in that case we have refcount==0 and are guaranteed no
concurrency. So its fine.

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