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Date:	Wed, 15 Aug 2007 07:25:16 -0700
From:	"Paul E. McKenney" <paulmck@...ux.vnet.ibm.com>
To:	Satyam Sharma <satyam@...radead.org>
Cc:	Stefan Richter <stefanr@...6.in-berlin.de>,
	Christoph Lameter <clameter@....com>,
	Chris Snook <csnook@...hat.com>,
	Linux Kernel Mailing List <linux-kernel@...r.kernel.org>,
	linux-arch@...r.kernel.org,
	Linus Torvalds <torvalds@...ux-foundation.org>,
	netdev@...r.kernel.org, Andrew Morton <akpm@...ux-foundation.org>,
	ak@...e.de, heiko.carstens@...ibm.com, davem@...emloft.net,
	schwidefsky@...ibm.com, wensong@...ux-vs.org, horms@...ge.net.au,
	wjiang@...ilience.com, cfriesen@...tel.com, zlynx@....org,
	rpjday@...dspring.com, jesper.juhl@...il.com,
	segher@...nel.crashing.org,
	Herbert Xu <herbert@...dor.apana.org.au>
Subject: Re: [PATCH 0/24] make atomic_read() behave consistently across all architectures

On Wed, Aug 15, 2007 at 07:17:29PM +0530, Satyam Sharma wrote:
> On Wed, 15 Aug 2007, Stefan Richter wrote:
> > Satyam Sharma wrote:
> > > On Wed, 15 Aug 2007, Stefan Richter wrote:
> > >> Doesn't "atomic WRT all processors" require volatility?
> > > 
> > > No, it definitely doesn't. Why should it?
> > > 
> > > "Atomic w.r.t. all processors" is just your normal, simple "atomicity"
> > > for SMP systems (ensure that that object is modified / set / replaced
> > > in main memory atomically) and has nothing to do with "volatile"
> > > behaviour.
> > > 
> > > "Volatile behaviour" itself isn't consistently defined (at least
> > > definitely not consistently implemented in various gcc versions across
> > > platforms), but it is /expected/ to mean something like: "ensure that
> > > every such access actually goes all the way to memory, and is not
> > > re-ordered w.r.t. to other accesses, as far as the compiler can take
> > > care of these". The last "as far as compiler can take care" disclaimer
> > > comes about due to CPUs doing their own re-ordering nowadays.
> > > 
> > > For example (say on i386):
> > 
> > [...]
> > 
> > > In (A) the compiler optimized "a = 10;" away, but the actual store
> > > of the final value "20" to "a" was still "atomic". (B) and (C) also
> > > exhibit "volatile" behaviour apart from the "atomicity".
> > > 
> > > But as others replied, it seems some callers out there depend upon
> > > atomic ops exhibiting "volatile" behaviour as well, so that answers
> > > my initial question, actually. I haven't looked at the code Paul
> > > pointed me at, but I wonder if that "forget(x)" macro would help
> > > those cases. I'd wish to avoid the "volatile" primitive, personally.
> > 
> > So, looking at load instead of store, understand I correctly that in
> > your opinion
> > 
> > 	int b;
> > 
> > 	b = atomic_read(&a);
> > 	if (b)
> > 		do_something_time_consuming();
> > 
> > 	b = atomic_read(&a);
> > 	if (b)
> > 		do_something_more();
> > 
> > should be changed to explicitly forget(&a) after
> > do_something_time_consuming?
> 
> No, I'd actually prefer something like what Christoph Lameter suggested,
> i.e. users (such as above) who want "volatile"-like behaviour from atomic
> ops can use alternative functions. How about something like:
> 
> #define atomic_read_volatile(v)			\
> 	({					\
> 		forget(&(v)->counter);		\
> 		((v)->counter);			\
> 	})

Wouldn't the above "forget" the value, throw it away, then forget
that it forgot it, giving non-volatile semantics?

> Or possibly, implement these "volatile" atomic ops variants in inline asm
> like the patch that Sebastian Siewior has submitted on another thread just
> a while back.

Given that you are advocating a change (please keep in mind that
atomic_read() and atomic_set() had volatile semantics on almost all
platforms), care to give some example where these historical volatile
semantics are causing a problem?

> Of course, if we find there are more callers in the kernel who want the
> volatility behaviour than those who don't care, we can re-define the
> existing ops to such variants, and re-name the existing definitions to
> somethine else, say "atomic_read_nonvolatile" for all I care.

Do we really need another set of APIs?  Can you give even one example
where the pre-existing volatile semantics are causing enough of a problem
to justify adding yet more atomic_*() APIs?

							Thanx, Paul
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