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Date:	Thu, 21 May 2009 16:27:05 +0930
From:	Rusty Russell <>
To:	David Miller <>
Subject: Re: [RFC] virtio: orphan skbs if we're relying on timer to free them

On Tue, 19 May 2009 12:10:13 pm David Miller wrote:
> From: Rusty Russell <>
> Date: Mon, 18 May 2009 22:18:47 +0930
> > We check for finished xmit skbs on every xmit, or on a timer (unless
> > the host promises to force an interrupt when the xmit ring is empty).
> > This can penalize userspace tasks which fill their sockbuf.  Not much
> > difference with TSO, but measurable with large numbers of packets.
> >
> > There are a finite number of packets which can be in the transmission
> > queue.  We could fire the timer more than every 100ms, but that would
> > just hurt performance for a corner case.  This seems neatest.
> > Signed-off-by: Rusty Russell <>
> If this is so great for virtio it would also be a great idea
> universally, but we don't do it.
> What you're doing by orphan'ing is creating a situation where a single
> UDP socket can loop doing sends and monopolize the TX queue of a
> device.  The only control we have over a sender for fairness in
> datagram protocols is that send buffer allocation.

Urgh, that hadn't even occurred to me.  Good point.

> I'm guilty of doing this too in the NIU driver, also because there I
> lack a "TX queue empty" interrupt and this can keep TCP sockets from
> getting stuck.
> I think we need a generic solution to this issue because it is getting
> quite common to see cases where the packets in the TX queue of a
> device can sit there indefinitely.

I haven't thought this through properly, but how about a hack where we don't 
orphan packets if the ring is over half full?

Then I guess we could overload the watchdog as a more general timer-after-no-

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