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Date:   Wed, 30 Dec 2020 10:58:47 +0000
From:   Russell King - ARM Linux admin <>
To:     Nicholas Piggin <>
Cc:     linuxppc-dev <>,
        Catalin Marinas <>,
        paulmck <>, Arnd Bergmann <>,
        Jann Horn <>,
        Peter Zijlstra <>,
        Benjamin Herrenschmidt <>,
        x86 <>,
        linux-kernel <>,
        stable <>,
        Mathieu Desnoyers <>,
        Andy Lutomirski <>,
        Michael Ellerman <>,
        Paul Mackerras <>,
        Will Deacon <>,
        linux-arm-kernel <>
Subject: Re: [RFC please help] membarrier: Rewrite sync_core_before_usermode()

On Wed, Dec 30, 2020 at 10:00:28AM +0000, Russell King - ARM Linux admin wrote:
> On Wed, Dec 30, 2020 at 12:33:02PM +1000, Nicholas Piggin wrote:
> > Excerpts from Russell King - ARM Linux admin's message of December 29, 2020 8:44 pm:
> > > On Tue, Dec 29, 2020 at 01:09:12PM +1000, Nicholas Piggin wrote:
> > >> I think it should certainly be documented in terms of what guarantees
> > >> it provides to application, _not_ the kinds of instructions it may or
> > >> may not induce the core to execute. And if existing API can't be
> > >> re-documented sanely, then deprecatd and new ones added that DTRT.
> > >> Possibly under a new system call, if arch's like ARM want a range
> > >> flush and we don't want to expand the multiplexing behaviour of
> > >> membarrier even more (sigh).
> > > 
> > > The 32-bit ARM sys_cacheflush() is there only to support self-modifying
> > > code, and takes whatever actions are necessary to support that.
> > > Exactly what actions it takes are cache implementation specific, and
> > > should be of no concern to the caller, but the underlying thing is...
> > > it's to support self-modifying code.
> > 
> >    Caveat
> >        cacheflush()  should  not  be used in programs intended to be portable.
> >        On Linux, this call first appeared on the MIPS architecture, but  nowa‐
> >        days, Linux provides a cacheflush() system call on some other architec‐
> >        tures, but with different arguments.
> > 
> > What a disaster. Another badly designed interface, although it didn't 
> > originate in Linux it sounds like we weren't to be outdone so
> > we messed it up even worse.
> > 
> > flushing caches is neither necessary nor sufficient for code modification
> > on many processors. Maybe some old MIPS specific private thing was fine,
> > but certainly before it grew to other architectures, somebody should 
> > have thought for more than 2 minutes about it. Sigh.
> WARNING: You are bordering on being objectionable and offensive with
> that comment.
> The ARM interface was designed by me back in the very early days of
> Linux, probably while you were still in dypers, based on what was
> known at the time.  Back in the early 2000s, ideas such as relaxed
> memory ordering were not known.  All there was was one level of
> harvard cache.

Sorry, I got that slightly wrong. Its origins on ARM were from 12 Dec

by Philip Blundell, and first appeared in the ARM
pre-patch-2.1.131-19981214-1.gz. It was subsequently documented in the
kernel sources by me in July 2001 in ARM patch-2.4.6-rmk2.gz. It has
a slightly different signature: the third argument on ARM is a flags
argument, whereas the MIPS code, it is some undocumented "cache"

Whether the ARM version pre or post dates the MIPS code, I couldn't say.
Whether it was ultimately taken from the MIPS implementation, again, I
couldn't say.

However, please stop insulting your fellow developers ability to think.

RMK's Patch system:
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