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Date:   Sat, 23 Oct 2021 22:41:41 +0100
From:   Matthew Wilcox <>
To:     Kent Overstreet <>
Cc:     David Hildenbrand <>,
        Johannes Weiner <>,
        "Kirill A. Shutemov" <>,
        Linus Torvalds <>,,,,
        Andrew Morton <>,
        "Darrick J. Wong" <>,
        Christoph Hellwig <>,
        David Howells <>,
        Hugh Dickins <>
Subject: Re: Folios for 5.15 request - Was: re: Folio discussion recap -

On Sat, Oct 23, 2021 at 12:00:38PM -0400, Kent Overstreet wrote:
> I ran into a major roadblock when I tried converting buddy allocator freelists
> to radix trees: freeing a page may require allocating a new page for the radix
> tree freelist, which is fine normally - we're freeing a page after all - but not
> if it's highmem. So right now I'm not sure if getting struct page down to two
> words is even possible. Oh well.

I have a design in mind that I think avoids the problem.  It's somewhat
based on Bonwick's vmem paper, but not exactly.  I need to write it up.

> > Your patches introduce the concept of folio across many layers and your
> > point is to eventually clean up later and eventually remove it from all
> > layers again. I can understand that approach, yet I am at least asking
> > the question if this is the right order to do this.
> > 
> > And again, I am not blocking this, I think cleaning up compound pages is
> > very nice. I'm asking questions to see how the concept of folios would
> > fit in long-term and if it would be required at all if types are done right.
> I'm also not really seeing the need to introduce folios as a replacement for all
> of compound pages, though - I think limiting it to file & anon and using the
> union-of-structs in struct page as the fault lines for introducing new types
> would be the reasonable thing to do. The struct slab patches were great, it's a
> real shame that the slab maintainers have been completely absent.

Right.  Folios are for unspecialised head pages.  If we decide
to specialise further in the future, that's great!  I think David
misunderstood me slightly; I don't know that specialising file + anon
pages (the aforementioned lru_mem) is the right approach.  It might be!
But it needs someone to try it, and find the advantages & disadvantages.

> Also introducing new types to be describing our current using of struct page
> isn't the only thing we should be doing - as we do that, that will (is!) uncover
> a lot of places where our ontology of struct page uses is just nonsensical (all
> the types of pages mapped into userspace!) - and part of our mission should be
> to clean those up.
> That does turn things into a much bigger project than what Matthew signed up
> for, but we shouldn't all be sitting on the sidelines here...

I'm happy to help.  Indeed I may take on some of these sub-projects
myself.  I just don't want the perfect to be the enemy of the good.

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