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Date:	Wed, 18 Jan 2012 13:06:47 -0800
From:	Tina Yang <>
To:	Ian Campbell <>
CC:	Konrad Rzeszutek Wilk <>,
	Zhenzhong Duan <>,
	"" <>,
	"" <>,
	"" <>,
	"" <>,
	Jeremy Fitzhardinge <>
Subject: Re: [PATCH] add netconsole support for xen-netfront

On 1/18/2012 12:59 AM, Ian Campbell wrote:
> On Tue, 2012-01-17 at 23:15 +0000, Tina Yang wrote:
>> On 1/17/2012 1:51 PM, Konrad Rzeszutek Wilk wrote:
>>> On Tue, Jan 17, 2012 at 01:42:22PM -0800, Tina Yang wrote:
>>>> On 1/13/2012 3:06 AM, Ian Campbell wrote:
>>>> Although netdump is now obsolete, I think it's always a good practice
>>>> to preserve caller's irq status as we had a very bad experience
>>>> chasing a similar problem caused by such a irq change in RDS
>>> Did you find the culprit of it? Was there a patch for that in the
>>> upstream kernel?
>> Yes.  It has nothing to do with net drivers but same cause
>> elsewhere in the kernel.
> I didn't think start_xmit could be called with interrupts disabled or
> from interrupt context but perhaps I am wrong about that or perhaps
> netconsole changes things?
Netdump does call it with interrupt disabled and hang because of
it in 2.6.9 as I remember it.  And you are right, netconsole has
undergone changes from time to time, which also can change
this specification.
> Right, Documentation/networking/netdevices.txt states that start_xmit
> can be called with interrupts disabled by netconsole and therefore using
> the irqsave/restore locking in this function is, AFAICT, correct.
>>>> in the not too long ago past.
>>> OK, it sounds like it was issues in the past but might not be the
>>> case anymore.
>>> Could please re-test it without that spinlock irqsave patch using
>>> the upstream kernel (or just UEK2 since it is an 3.0 type kernel).
>> Shouldn't be the case now, but don't know about the future.
>> The fact is as long as there is a new caller that has the expectation
>> of preserved irq status, it would be a problem.
> The question is not so much what may or may not be a problem in the
> future but what the requirements of this function are, in particular
> those imposed by the network stack for the start_xmit function.
Agreed.  It's not safe to assume it unless the API documentation states 
that it can
not be called with interrupt disabled explicitly.
>> As Ian said, some net drivers have been cautious in this regard already by
>> saving/restoring the status, but apparently not everyone.
> I was talking about the interrupt/poll handler here since I hadn't yet
> noticed that the locking change was also in start_xmit and not just the
> poll/interrupt paths (which was actually just code motion and not a
> locking change in any case).
I did look at the start_xmit of most of the net drivers myself when I 
hit the
netdump hang back in 2008, and some of them did save/restore already,
but others didn't.
> Ian.

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