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Date:	Tue, 28 Aug 2012 13:27:26 +0200
From:	Sasha Levin <>
To:	Mathieu Desnoyers <>
CC:	Tejun Heo <>,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
Subject: Re: [PATCH v3 01/17] hashtable: introduce a small and naive hashtable

On 08/28/2012 12:11 PM, Mathieu Desnoyers wrote:
> * Sasha Levin ( wrote:
>> On 08/25/2012 06:24 AM, Mathieu Desnoyers wrote:
>>> * Tejun Heo ( wrote:
>>>> Hello,
>>>> On Sat, Aug 25, 2012 at 12:59:25AM +0200, Sasha Levin wrote:
>>>>> Thats the thing, the amount of things of things you can do with a given bucket
>>>>> is very limited. You can't add entries to any point besides the head (without
>>>>> walking the entire list).
>>>> Kinda my point.  We already have all the hlist*() interface to deal
>>>> with such cases.  Having something which is evidently the trivial
>>>> hlist hashtable and advertises as such in the interface can be
>>>> helpful.  I think we need that more than we need anything fancy.
>>>> Heh, this is a debate about which one is less insignificant.  I can
>>>> see your point.  I'd really like to hear what others think on this.
>>>> Guys, do we want something which is evidently trivial hlist hashtable
>>>> which can use hlist_*() API directly or do we want something better
>>>> encapsulated?
>>> My 2 cents, FWIW: I think this specific effort should target a trivially
>>> understandable API and implementation, for use-cases where one would be
>>> tempted to reimplement his own trivial hash table anyway. So here
>>> exposing hlist internals, with which kernel developers are already
>>> familiar, seems like a good approach in my opinion, because hiding stuff
>>> behind new abstraction might make the target users go away.
>>> Then, as we see the need, we can eventually merge a more elaborate hash
>>> table with poneys and whatnot, but I would expect that the trivial hash
>>> table implementation would still be useful. There are of course very
>>> compelling reasons to use a more featureful hash table: automatic
>>> resize, RT-aware updates, scalable updates, etc... but I see a purpose
>>> for a trivial implementation. Its primary strong points being:
>>> - it's trivially understandable, so anyone how want to be really sure
>>>   they won't end up debugging the hash table instead of their
>>>   work-in-progress code can have a full understanding of it,
>>> - it has few dependencies, which makes it easier to understand and
>>>   easier to use in some contexts (e.g. early boot).
>>> So I'm in favor of not overdoing the abstraction for this trivial hash
>>> table, and honestly I would rather prefer that this trivial hash table
>>> stays trivial. A more elaborate hash table should probably come as a
>>> separate API.
>>> Thanks,
>>> Mathieu
>> Alright, let's keep it simple then.
>> I do want to keep the hash_for_each[rcu,safe] family though.
> Just a thought: if the API offered by the simple hash table focus on
> providing a mechanism to find the hash bucket to which belongs the hash
> chain containing the key looked up, and then expects the user to use the
> hlist API to iterate on the chain (with or without the hlist _rcu
> variant), then it might seem consistent that a helper providing
> iteration over the entire table would actually just provide iteration on
> all buckets, and let the user call the hlist for each iterator for each
> node within the bucket, e.g.:
> struct hlist_head *head;
> struct hlist_node *pos;
> hash_for_each_bucket(ht, head) {
>         hlist_for_each(pos, head) {
>                 ...
>         }
> }
> That way you only have to provide one single macro
> (hash_for_each_bucket), and rely on the already existing:
> - hlist_for_each_entry
> - hlist_for_each_safe
> - hlist_for_each_entry_rcu
> - hlist_for_each_safe_rcu
>   .....
> and various flavors that can appear in the future without duplicating
> this API. So you won't even have to create _rcu, _safe, nor _safe_rcu
> versions of the hash_for_each_bucket macro.
> Thoughts ?

In my opinion, the downside here is that it'll require 2 function calls and 2
levels of nesting for a simple hash iteration.

hash_for_each_bucket() will always be followed by an iteration of that bucket,
so splitting a hash_for_each() which does both into 2 different functions which
will almost always must be called in that given order sounds unintuitive to me.

It's also just 3 different possible iterators:

 - hlist_for_each_entry
 - hlist_for_each_entry_safe
 - hlist_for_each_entry_rcu

So I think that it's a good price to pay - 2 extra macro definitions in the
header to save a macro call + nesting level in each place that uses a hashtable.


> Thanks,
> Mathieu

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