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Date:   Thu, 6 Aug 2020 11:17:30 +0200
From:   Rasmus Villemoes <>
To:     Stephen Hemminger <>
Cc:     Network Development <>
Subject: Re: rtnl_trylock() versus SCHED_FIFO lockup

On 06/08/2020 01.34, Stephen Hemminger wrote:
> On Wed, 5 Aug 2020 16:25:23 +0200
> Rasmus Villemoes <> wrote:
>> Hi,
>> We're seeing occasional lockups on an embedded board (running an -rt
>> kernel), which I believe I've tracked down to the
>>             if (!rtnl_trylock())
>>                     return restart_syscall();
>> in net/bridge/br_sysfs_br.c. The problem is that some SCHED_FIFO task
>> writes a "1" to the /sys/class/net/foo/bridge/flush file, while some
>> lower-priority SCHED_FIFO task happens to hold rtnl_lock(). When that
>> happens, the higher-priority task is stuck in an eternal ERESTARTNOINTR
>> loop, and the lower-priority task never gets runtime and thus cannot
>> release the lock.
>> I've written a script that rather quickly reproduces this both on our
>> target and my desktop machine (pinning everything on one CPU to emulate
>> the uni-processor board), see below. Also, with this hacky patch
> There is a reason for the trylock, it works around a priority inversion.

Can you elaborate? It seems to me that it _causes_ a priority inversion
since priority inheritance doesn't have a chance to kick in.

> The real problem is expecting a SCHED_FIFO task to be safe with this
> kind of network operation.

Maybe. But ignoring the SCHED_FIFO/rt-prio stuff, it also seems a bit
odd to do what is essentially a busy-loop - yes, the restart_syscall()
allows signals to be delivered (including allowing the process to get
killed), but in the absence of any signals, the pattern essentially
boils down to

  while (!rtnl_trylock())

So even for regular tasks, this seems to needlessly hog the cpu.

I tried this

diff --git a/net/bridge/br_sysfs_br.c b/net/bridge/br_sysfs_br.c
index 0318a69888d4..e40e264f9b16 100644
--- a/net/bridge/br_sysfs_br.c
+++ b/net/bridge/br_sysfs_br.c
@@ -44,8 +44,8 @@ static ssize_t store_bridge_parm(struct device *d,
        if (endp == buf)
                return -EINVAL;

-       if (!rtnl_trylock())
-               return restart_syscall();
+       if (rtnl_lock_interruptible())
+               return -ERESTARTNOINTR;

        err = (*set)(br, val);
        if (!err)

with the obvious definition of rtnl_lock_interruptible(), and it makes
the problem go away. Isn't it better to sleep waiting for the lock (and
with -rt, giving proper priority boost) or a signal to arrive rather
than busy-looping back and forth between syscall entry point and the

I see quite a lot of

    if (mutex_lock_interruptible(...))
            return -ERESTARTSYS;

but for the rtnl_mutex, I see the trylock...restart_syscall pattern
being used in a couple of places. So there must be something special
about the rtnl_mutex?


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