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Date:	Thu, 10 Oct 2013 12:05:32 -0700
From:	"Paul E. McKenney" <>
To:	Eric Dumazet <>,
	Josh Triplett <>,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
	"David S. Miller" <>,
	Alexey Kuznetsov <>,
	James Morris <>,
	Hideaki YOSHIFUJI <>,
	Patrick McHardy <>,
Subject: Re: [PATCH v2 tip/core/rcu 07/13] ipv6/ip6_tunnel: Apply
 rcu_access_pointer() to avoid sparse false positive

On Thu, Oct 10, 2013 at 04:04:22AM +0200, Hannes Frederic Sowa wrote:
> On Wed, Oct 09, 2013 at 05:28:33PM -0700, Paul E. McKenney wrote:
> > On Wed, Oct 09, 2013 at 05:12:40PM -0700, Eric Dumazet wrote:
> > > On Wed, 2013-10-09 at 16:40 -0700, Josh Triplett wrote:
> > > 
> > > > that.  Constructs like list_del_rcu are much clearer, and not
> > > > open-coded.  Open-coding synchronization code is almost always a Bad
> > > > Idea.
> > > 
> > > OK, so you think there is synchronization code.
> > > 
> > > I will shut up then, no need to waste time.
> > 
> > As you said earlier, we should at least get rid of the memory barrier
> > as long as we are changing the code.
> Interesting thread!
> Sorry to chime in and asking a question:
> Why do we need an ACCESS_ONCE here if rcu_assign_pointer can do without one?
> In other words I wonder why rcu_assign_pointer is not a static inline function
> to use the sequence point in argument evaluation (if I remember correctly this
> also holds for inline functions) to not allow something like this:
> E.g. we want to publish which lock to take first to prevent an ABBA problem
> (extreme example):
> rcu_assign_pointer(lockptr, min(lptr1, lptr2));
> Couldn't a compiler spill the lockptr memory location as a temporary buffer
> if the compiler is under register pressure? (yes, this seems unlikely if we
> flushed out most registers to memory because of the barrier, but still... ;) )
> This seems to be also the case if we publish a multi-dereferencing pointers
> e.g. ptr->ptr->ptr.

IIRC, sequence points only confine volatile accesses.  For non-volatile
accesses, the so-called "as-if rule" allows compiler writers to do some
surprisingly global reordering.

The reason that rcu_assign_pointer() isn't an inline function is because
it needs to be type-generic, in other words, it needs to be OK to use
it on any type of pointers as long as the C types of the two pointers
match (the sparse types can vary a bit).

One of the reasons for wanting a volatile cast in rcu_assign_pointer() is
to prevent compiler mischief such as you described in your last two
paragraphs.  That said, it would take a very brave compiler to pull
a pointer-referenced memory location into a register and keep it there.
Unfortunately, increasing compiler bravery seems to be a solid long-term

							Thanx, Paul

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