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Date:	Mon, 20 Aug 2007 09:28:05 -0400
From:	Chris Snook <>
To:	Stefan Richter <>
CC:	Jonathan Corbet <>,
	Greg Kroah-Hartman <>,
	Nick Piggin <>,,
	Herbert Xu <>,
	Paul Mackerras <>,
	Satyam Sharma <>,
	Christoph Lameter <>,
	Linux Kernel Mailing List <>,,
	Linus Torvalds <>,, Andrew Morton <>,,,,,,,,,,,,
Subject: Re: LDD3 pitfalls (was Re: [PATCH 0/24] make atomic_read() behave
 consistently across all architectures)

Stefan Richter wrote:
> Nick Piggin wrote:
>> Stefan Richter wrote:
>>> Nick Piggin wrote:
>>>> I don't know why people would assume volatile of atomics. AFAIK, most
>>>> of the documentation is pretty clear that all the atomic stuff can be
>>>> reordered etc. except for those that modify and return a value.
>>> Which documentation is there?
>> Documentation/atomic_ops.txt
>>> For driver authors, there is LDD3.  It doesn't specifically cover
>>> effects of optimization on accesses to atomic_t.
>>> For architecture port authors, there is Documentation/atomic_ops.txt.
>>> Driver authors also can learn something from that document, as it
>>> indirectly documents the atomic_t and bitops APIs.
>> "Semantics and Behavior of Atomic and Bitmask Operations" is
>> pretty direct :)
>> Sure, it says that it's for arch maintainers, but there is no
>> reason why users can't make use of it.
> Note, LDD3 page 238 says:  "It is worth noting that most of the other
> kernel primitives dealing with synchronization, such as spinlock and
> atomic_t operations, also function as memory barriers."
> I don't know about Linux 2.6.10 against which LDD3 was written, but
> currently only _some_ atomic_t operations function as memory barriers.
> Besides, judging from some posts in this thread, saying that atomic_t
> operations dealt with synchronization may not be entirely precise.

atomic_t is often used as the basis for implementing more sophisticated 
synchronization mechanisms, such as rwlocks.  Whether or not they are designed 
for that purpose, the atomic_* operations are de facto synchronization primitives.

	-- Chris
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