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Re: [RFC][PATCH 0/5] arch: atomic rework


On 1 March 2014 08:03, Paul E. McKenney <paulmck@linux.vnet.ibm.com> wrote:
> On Sat, Mar 01, 2014 at 04:06:34AM -0600, Peter Sewell wrote:
>> Hi Paul,
>>
>> On 28 February 2014 18:50, Paul E. McKenney <paulmck@linux.vnet.ibm.com> wrote:
>> > On Thu, Feb 27, 2014 at 12:53:12PM -0800, Paul E. McKenney wrote:
>> >> On Thu, Feb 27, 2014 at 11:47:08AM -0800, Linus Torvalds wrote:
>> >> > On Thu, Feb 27, 2014 at 11:06 AM, Paul E. McKenney
>> >> > <paulmck@linux.vnet.ibm.com> wrote:
>> >> > >
>> >> > > 3.      The comparison was against another RCU-protected pointer,
>> >> > >         where that other pointer was properly fetched using one
>> >> > >         of the RCU primitives.  Here it doesn't matter which pointer
>> >> > >         you use.  At least as long as the rcu_assign_pointer() for
>> >> > >         that other pointer happened after the last update to the
>> >> > >         pointed-to structure.
>> >> > >
>> >> > > I am a bit nervous about #3.  Any thoughts on it?
>> >> >
>> >> > I think that it might be worth pointing out as an example, and saying
>> >> > that code like
>> >> >
>> >> >    p = atomic_read(consume);
>> >> >    X;
>> >> >    q = atomic_read(consume);
>> >> >    Y;
>> >> >    if (p == q)
>> >> >         data = p->val;
>> >> >
>> >> > then the access of "p->val" is constrained to be data-dependent on
>> >> > *either* p or q, but you can't really tell which, since the compiler
>> >> > can decide that the values are interchangeable.
>> >> >
>> >> > I cannot for the life of me come up with a situation where this would
>> >> > matter, though. If "X" contains a fence, then that fence will be a
>> >> > stronger ordering than anything the consume through "p" would
>> >> > guarantee anyway. And if "X" does *not* contain a fence, then the
>> >> > atomic reads of p and q are unordered *anyway*, so then whether the
>> >> > ordering to the access through "p" is through p or q is kind of
>> >> > irrelevant. No?
>> >>
>> >> I can make a contrived litmus test for it, but you are right, the only
>> >> time you can see it happen is when X has no barriers, in which case
>> >> you don't have any ordering anyway -- both the compiler and the CPU can
>> >> reorder the loads into p and q, and the read from p->val can, as you say,
>> >> come from either pointer.
>> >>
>> >> For whatever it is worth, hear is the litmus test:
>> >>
>> >> T1:   p = kmalloc(...);
>> >>       if (p == NULL)
>> >>               deal_with_it();
>> >>       p->a = 42;  /* Each field in its own cache line. */
>> >>       p->b = 43;
>> >>       p->c = 44;
>> >>       atomic_store_explicit(&gp1, p, memory_order_release);
>> >>       p->b = 143;
>> >>       p->c = 144;
>> >>       atomic_store_explicit(&gp2, p, memory_order_release);
>> >>
>> >> T2:   p = atomic_load_explicit(&gp2, memory_order_consume);
>> >>       r1 = p->b;  /* Guaranteed to get 143. */
>> >>       q = atomic_load_explicit(&gp1, memory_order_consume);
>> >>       if (p == q) {
>> >>               /* The compiler decides that q->c is same as p->c. */
>> >>               r2 = p->c; /* Could get 44 on weakly order system. */
>> >>       }
>> >>
>> >> The loads from gp1 and gp2 are, as you say, unordered, so you get what
>> >> you get.
>> >>
>> >> And publishing a structure via one RCU-protected pointer, updating it,
>> >> then publishing it via another pointer seems to me to be asking for
>> >> trouble anyway.  If you really want to do something like that and still
>> >> see consistency across all the fields in the structure, please put a lock
>> >> in the structure and use it to guard updates and accesses to those fields.
>> >
>> > And here is a patch documenting the restrictions for the current Linux
>> > kernel.  The rules change a bit due to rcu_dereference() acting a bit
>> > differently than atomic_load_explicit(&p, memory_order_consume).
>> >
>> > Thoughts?
>>
>> That might serve as informal documentation for linux kernel
>> programmers about the bounds on the optimisations that you expect
>> compilers to do for common-case RCU code - and I guess that's what you
>> intend it to be for.   But I don't see how one can make it precise
>> enough to serve as a language definition, so that compiler people
>> could confidently say "yes, we respect that", which I guess is what
>> you really need.  As a useful criterion, we should aim for something
>> precise enough that in a verified-compiler context you can
>> mathematically prove that the compiler will satisfy it  (even though
>> that won't happen anytime soon for GCC), and that analysis tool
>> authors can actually know what they're working with.   All this stuff
>> about "you should avoid cancellation", and "avoid masking with just a
>> small number of bits" is just too vague.
>
> Understood, and yes, this is intended to document current compiler
> behavior for the Linux kernel community.  It would not make sense to show
> it to the C11 or C++11 communities, except perhaps as an informational
> piece on current practice.
>
>> The basic problem is that the compiler may be doing sophisticated
>> reasoning with a bunch of non-local knowledge that it's deduced from
>> the code, neither of which are well-understood, and here we have to
>> identify some envelope, expressive enough for RCU idioms, in which
>> that reasoning doesn't allow data/address dependencies to be removed
>> (and hence the hardware guarantee about them will be maintained at the
>> source level).
>>
>> The C11 syntactic notion of dependency, whatever its faults, was at
>> least precise, could be reasoned about locally (just looking at the
>> syntactic code in question), and did do that.  The fact that current
>> compilers do optimisations that remove dependencies and will likely
>> have many bugs at present is besides the point - this was surely
>> intended as a *new* constraint on what they are allowed to do.  The
>> interesting question is really whether the compiler writers think that
>> they *could* implement it in a reasonable way - I'd like to hear
>> Torvald and his colleagues' opinion on that.
>>
>> What you're doing above seems to be basically a very cut-down version
>> of that, but with a fuzzy boundary.   If you want it to be precise,
>> maybe it needs to be much simpler (which might force you into ruling
>> out some current code idioms).
>
> I hope that Torvald Riegel's proposal (https://lkml.org/lkml/2014/2/27/806)
> can be developed to serve this purpose.

(I missed that mail when it first came past, sorry)

That's also going to be tricky, I'm afraid.  The key condition there is:

"* at the time of execution of E, L       [PS: I assume that L is a
typo and should be E]
        can possibly have returned at
        least two different values under the assumption that L itself
        could have returned any value allowed by L's type."

First, the evaluation of E might be nondeterministic  - e.g., for an
artificial example, if it's just a nondeterministic value obtained
from the result of a race on SC atomics.  The above doesn't
distinguish between that (which doesn't have a real dependency on L)
and that XOR'd with L (which does).  And it does so in the wrong
direction: it'll say there the former has a dependency on L.

Second, it involves reasoning about counterfactual executions.  That
doesn't necessarily make it wrong, per se, but probably makes it hard
to work with.  For example, suppose that in all the actual
whole-program executions, a runtime occurrence of L only ever returns
one particular value (perhaps because of some simple #define'd
configuration), and that the code used in the evaluation of E depends
on some invariant which is related to that configuration.  The
hypothetical execution used above in which a different value is used
is one in the code is being run in a situation with broken invariants.
   Then there will be technical difficulties in using the definition:
I don't see how one would persuade oneself that a compiler always
satisfies it, because these hypothetical executions are far removed
from what it's actually working on.

(Aside: The notion of a thread "observing" another thread's load,
dating back a long time and adopted in the Power and ARM architecture
texts, relies on counterfactual executions in a broadly similar way;
we're happy to have escaped that now :-)

Peter




>                                                         Thanx, Paul
>
>> best,
>> Peter
>>
>>
>>
>> >                                                         Thanx, Paul
>> >
>> > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> >
>> > documentation: Record rcu_dereference() value mishandling
>> >
>> > Recent LKML discussings (see http://lwn.net/Articles/586838/ and
>> > http://lwn.net/Articles/588300/ for the LWN writeups) brought out
>> > some ways of misusing the return value from rcu_dereference() that
>> > are not necessarily completely intuitive.  This commit therefore
>> > documents what can and cannot safely be done with these values.
>> >
>> > Signed-off-by: Paul E. McKenney <paulmck@linux.vnet.ibm.com>
>> >
>> > diff --git a/Documentation/RCU/00-INDEX b/Documentation/RCU/00-INDEX
>> > index fa57139f50bf..f773a264ae02 100644
>> > --- a/Documentation/RCU/00-INDEX
>> > +++ b/Documentation/RCU/00-INDEX
>> > @@ -12,6 +12,8 @@ lockdep-splat.txt
>> >         - RCU Lockdep splats explained.
>> >  NMI-RCU.txt
>> >         - Using RCU to Protect Dynamic NMI Handlers
>> > +rcu_dereference.txt
>> > +       - Proper care and feeding of return values from rcu_dereference()
>> >  rcubarrier.txt
>> >         - RCU and Unloadable Modules
>> >  rculist_nulls.txt
>> > diff --git a/Documentation/RCU/checklist.txt b/Documentation/RCU/checklist.txt
>> > index 9d10d1db16a5..877947130ebe 100644
>> > --- a/Documentation/RCU/checklist.txt
>> > +++ b/Documentation/RCU/checklist.txt
>> > @@ -114,12 +114,16 @@ over a rather long period of time, but improvements are always welcome!
>> >                         http://www.openvms.compaq.com/wizard/wiz_2637.html
>> >
>> >                 The rcu_dereference() primitive is also an excellent
>> > -               documentation aid, letting the person reading the code
>> > -               know exactly which pointers are protected by RCU.
>> > +               documentation aid, letting the person reading the
>> > +               code know exactly which pointers are protected by RCU.
>> >                 Please note that compilers can also reorder code, and
>> >                 they are becoming increasingly aggressive about doing
>> > -               just that.  The rcu_dereference() primitive therefore
>> > -               also prevents destructive compiler optimizations.
>> > +               just that.  The rcu_dereference() primitive therefore also
>> > +               prevents destructive compiler optimizations.  However,
>> > +               with a bit of devious creativity, it is possible to
>> > +               mishandle the return value from rcu_dereference().
>> > +               Please see rcu_dereference.txt in this directory for
>> > +               more information.
>> >
>> >                 The rcu_dereference() primitive is used by the
>> >                 various "_rcu()" list-traversal primitives, such
>> > diff --git a/Documentation/RCU/rcu_dereference.txt b/Documentation/RCU/rcu_dereference.txt
>> > new file mode 100644
>> > index 000000000000..6e72cd8622df
>> > --- /dev/null
>> > +++ b/Documentation/RCU/rcu_dereference.txt
>> > @@ -0,0 +1,365 @@
>> > +PROPER CARE AND FEEDING OF RETURN VALUES FROM rcu_dereference()
>> > +
>> > +Most of the time, you can use values from rcu_dereference() or one of
>> > +the similar primitives without worries.  Dereferencing (prefix "*"),
>> > +field selection ("->"), assignment ("="), address-of ("&"), addition and
>> > +subtraction of constants, and casts all work quite naturally and safely.
>> > +
>> > +It is nevertheless possible to get into trouble with other operations.
>> > +Follow these rules to keep your RCU code working properly:
>> > +
>> > +o      You must use one of the rcu_dereference() family of primitives
>> > +       to load an RCU-protected pointer, otherwise CONFIG_PROVE_RCU
>> > +       will complain.  Worse yet, your code can see random memory-corruption
>> > +       bugs due to games that compilers and DEC Alpha can play.
>> > +       Without one of the rcu_dereference() primitives, compilers
>> > +       can reload the value, and won't your code have fun with two
>> > +       different values for a single pointer!  Without rcu_dereference(),
>> > +       DEC Alpha can load a pointer, dereference that pointer, and
>> > +       return data preceding initialization that preceded the store of
>> > +       the pointer.
>> > +
>> > +       In addition, the volatile cast in rcu_dereference() prevents the
>> > +       compiler from deducing the resulting pointer value.  Please see
>> > +       the section entitled "EXAMPLE WHERE THE COMPILER KNOWS TOO MUCH"
>> > +       for an example where the compiler can in fact deduce the exact
>> > +       value of the pointer, and thus cause misordering.
>> > +
>> > +o      Do not use single-element RCU-protected arrays.  The compiler
>> > +       is within its right to assume that the value of an index into
>> > +       such an array must necessarily evaluate to zero.  The compiler
>> > +       could then substitute the constant zero for the computation, so
>> > +       that the array index no longer depended on the value returned
>> > +       by rcu_dereference().  If the array index no longer depends
>> > +       on rcu_dereference(), then both the compiler and the CPU
>> > +       are within their rights to order the array access before the
>> > +       rcu_dereference(), which can cause the array access to return
>> > +       garbage.
>> > +
>> > +o      Avoid cancellation when using the "+" and "-" infix arithmetic
>> > +       operators.  For example, for a given variable "x", avoid
>> > +       "(x-x)".  There are similar arithmetic pitfalls from other
>> > +       arithmetic operatiors, such as "(x*0)", "(x/(x+1))" or "(x%1)".
>> > +       The compiler is within its rights to substitute zero for all of
>> > +       these expressions, so that subsequent accesses no longer depend
>> > +       on the rcu_dereference(), again possibly resulting in bugs due
>> > +       to misordering.
>> > +
>> > +       Of course, if "p" is a pointer from rcu_dereference(), and "a"
>> > +       and "b" are integers that happen to be equal, the expression
>> > +       "p+a-b" is safe because its value still necessarily depends on
>> > +       the rcu_dereference(), thus maintaining proper ordering.
>> > +
>> > +o      Avoid all-zero operands to the bitwise "&" operator, and
>> > +       similarly avoid all-ones operands to the bitwise "|" operator.
>> > +       If the compiler is able to deduce the value of such operands,
>> > +       it is within its rights to substitute the corresponding constant
>> > +       for the bitwise operation.  Once again, this causes subsequent
>> > +       accesses to no longer depend on the rcu_dereference(), causing
>> > +       bugs due to misordering.
>> > +
>> > +       Please note that single-bit operands to bitwise "&" can also
>> > +       be dangerous.  At this point, the compiler knows that the
>> > +       resulting value can only take on one of two possible values.
>> > +       Therefore, a very small amount of additional information will
>> > +       allow the compiler to deduce the exact value, which again can
>> > +       result in misordering.
>> > +
>> > +o      If you are using RCU to protect JITed functions, so that the
>> > +       "()" function-invocation operator is applied to a value obtained
>> > +       (directly or indirectly) from rcu_dereference(), you may need to
>> > +       interact directly with the hardware to flush instruction caches.
>> > +       This issue arises on some systems when a newly JITed function is
>> > +       using the same memory that was used by an earlier JITed function.
>> > +
>> > +o      Do not use the results from the boolean "&&" and "||" when
>> > +       dereferencing.  For example, the following (rather improbable)
>> > +       code is buggy:
>> > +
>> > +               int a[2];
>> > +               int index;
>> > +               int force_zero_index = 1;
>> > +
>> > +               ...
>> > +
>> > +               r1 = rcu_dereference(i1)
>> > +               r2 = a[r1 && force_zero_index];  /* BUGGY!!! */
>> > +
>> > +       The reason this is buggy is that "&&" and "||" are often compiled
>> > +       using branches.  While weak-memory machines such as ARM or PowerPC
>> > +       do order stores after such branches, they can speculate loads,
>> > +       which can result in misordering bugs.
>> > +
>> > +o      Do not use the results from relational operators ("==", "!=",
>> > +       ">", ">=", "<", or "<=") when dereferencing.  For example,
>> > +       the following (quite strange) code is buggy:
>> > +
>> > +               int a[2];
>> > +               int index;
>> > +               int flip_index = 0;
>> > +
>> > +               ...
>> > +
>> > +               r1 = rcu_dereference(i1)
>> > +               r2 = a[r1 != flip_index];  /* BUGGY!!! */
>> > +
>> > +       As before, the reason this is buggy is that relational operators
>> > +       are often compiled using branches.  And as before, although
>> > +       weak-memory machines such as ARM or PowerPC do order stores
>> > +       after such branches, but can speculate loads, which can again
>> > +       result in misordering bugs.
>> > +
>> > +o      Be very careful about comparing pointers obtained from
>> > +       rcu_dereference() against non-NULL values.  As Linus Torvalds
>> > +       explained, if the two pointers are equal, the compiler could
>> > +       substitute the pointer you are comparing against for the pointer
>> > +       obtained from rcu_dereference().  For example:
>> > +
>> > +               p = rcu_dereference(gp);
>> > +               if (p == &default_struct)
>> > +                       do_default(p->a);
>> > +
>> > +       Because the compiler now knows that the value of "p" is exactly
>> > +       the address of the variable "default_struct", it is free to
>> > +       transform this code into the following:
>> > +
>> > +               p = rcu_dereference(gp);
>> > +               if (p == &default_struct)
>> > +                       do_default(default_struct.a);
>> > +
>> > +       On ARM and Power hardware, the load from "default_struct.a"
>> > +       can now be speculated, such that it might happen before the
>> > +       rcu_dereference().  This could result in bugs due to misordering.
>> > +
>> > +       However, comparisons are OK in the following cases:
>> > +
>> > +       o       The comparison was against the NULL pointer.  If the
>> > +               compiler knows that the pointer is NULL, you had better
>> > +               not be dereferencing it anyway.  If the comparison is
>> > +               non-equal, the compiler is none the wiser.  Therefore,
>> > +               it is safe to compare pointers from rcu_dereference()
>> > +               against NULL pointers.
>> > +
>> > +       o       The pointer is never dereferenced after being compared.
>> > +               Since there are no subsequent dereferences, the compiler
>> > +               cannot use anything it learned from the comparison
>> > +               to reorder the non-existent subsequent dereferences.
>> > +               This sort of comparison occurs frequently when scanning
>> > +               RCU-protected circular linked lists.
>> > +
>> > +       o       The comparison is against a pointer pointer that
>> > +               references memory that was initialized "a long time ago."
>> > +               The reason this is safe is that even if misordering
>> > +               occurs, the misordering will not affect the accesses
>> > +               that follow the comparison.  So exactly how long ago is
>> > +               "a long time ago"?  Here are some possibilities:
>> > +
>> > +               o       Compile time.
>> > +
>> > +               o       Boot time.
>> > +
>> > +               o       Module-init time for module code.
>> > +
>> > +               o       Prior to kthread creation for kthread code.
>> > +
>> > +               o       During some prior acquisition of the lock that
>> > +                       we now hold.
>> > +
>> > +               o       Before mod_timer() time for a timer handler.
>> > +
>> > +               There are many other possibilities involving the Linux
>> > +               kernel's wide array of primitives that cause code to
>> > +               be invoked at a later time.
>> > +
>> > +       o       The pointer being compared against also came from
>> > +               rcu_dereference().  In this case, both pointers depend
>> > +               on one rcu_dereference() or another, so you get proper
>> > +               ordering either way.
>> > +
>> > +               That said, this situation can make certain RCU usage
>> > +               bugs more likely to happen.  Which can be a good thing,
>> > +               at least if they happen during testing.  An example
>> > +               of such an RCU usage bug is shown in the section titled
>> > +               "EXAMPLE OF AMPLIFIED RCU-USAGE BUG".
>> > +
>> > +       o       All of the accesses following the comparison are stores,
>> > +               so that a control dependency preserves the needed ordering.
>> > +               That said, it is easy to get control dependencies wrong.
>> > +               Please see the "CONTROL DEPENDENCIES" section of
>> > +               Documentation/memory-barriers.txt for more details.
>> > +
>> > +       o       The pointers compared not-equal -and- the compiler does
>> > +               not have enough information to deduce the value of the
>> > +               pointer.  Note that the volatile cast in rcu_dereference()
>> > +               will normally prevent the compiler from knowing too much.
>> > +
>> > +o      Disable any value-speculation optimizations that your compiler
>> > +       might provide, especially if you are making use of feedback-based
>> > +       optimizations that take data collected from prior runs.  Such
>> > +       value-speculation optimizations reorder operations by design.
>> > +
>> > +       There is one exception to this rule:  Value-speculation
>> > +       optimizations that leverage the branch-prediction hardware are
>> > +       safe on strongly ordered systems (such as x86), but not on weakly
>> > +       ordered systems (such as ARM or Power).  Choose your compiler
>> > +       command-line options wisely!
>> > +
>> > +
>> > +EXAMPLE OF AMPLIFIED RCU-USAGE BUG
>> > +
>> > +Because updaters can run concurrently with RCU readers, RCU readers can
>> > +see stale and/or inconsistent values.  If RCU readers need fresh or
>> > +consistent values, which they sometimes do, they need to take proper
>> > +precautions.  To see this, consider the following code fragment:
>> > +
>> > +       struct foo {
>> > +               int a;
>> > +               int b;
>> > +               int c;
>> > +       };
>> > +       struct foo *gp1;
>> > +       struct foo *gp2;
>> > +
>> > +       void updater(void)
>> > +       {
>> > +               struct foo *p;
>> > +
>> > +               p = kmalloc(...);
>> > +               if (p == NULL)
>> > +                       deal_with_it();
>> > +               p->a = 42;  /* Each field in its own cache line. */
>> > +               p->b = 43;
>> > +               p->c = 44;
>> > +               rcu_assign_pointer(gp1, p);
>> > +               p->b = 143;
>> > +               p->c = 144;
>> > +               rcu_assign_pointer(gp2, p);
>> > +       }
>> > +
>> > +       void reader(void)
>> > +       {
>> > +               struct foo *p;
>> > +               struct foo *q;
>> > +               int r1, r2;
>> > +
>> > +               p = rcu_dereference(gp2);
>> > +               r1 = p->b;  /* Guaranteed to get 143. */
>> > +               q = rcu_dereference(gp1);
>> > +               if (p == q) {
>> > +                       /* The compiler decides that q->c is same as p->c. */
>> > +                       r2 = p->c; /* Could get 44 on weakly order system. */
>> > +               }
>> > +       }
>> > +
>> > +You might be surprised that the outcome (r1 == 143 && r2 == 44) is possible,
>> > +but you should not be.  After all, the updater might have been invoked
>> > +a second time between the time reader() loaded into "r1" and the time
>> > +that it loaded into "r2".  The fact that this same result can occur due
>> > +to some reordering from the compiler and CPUs is beside the point.
>> > +
>> > +But suppose that the reader needs a consistent view?
>> > +
>> > +Then one approach is to use locking, for example, as follows:
>> > +
>> > +       struct foo {
>> > +               int a;
>> > +               int b;
>> > +               int c;
>> > +               spinlock_t lock;
>> > +       };
>> > +       struct foo *gp1;
>> > +       struct foo *gp2;
>> > +
>> > +       void updater(void)
>> > +       {
>> > +               struct foo *p;
>> > +
>> > +               p = kmalloc(...);
>> > +               if (p == NULL)
>> > +                       deal_with_it();
>> > +               spin_lock(&p->lock);
>> > +               p->a = 42;  /* Each field in its own cache line. */
>> > +               p->b = 43;
>> > +               p->c = 44;
>> > +               spin_unlock(&p->lock);
>> > +               rcu_assign_pointer(gp1, p);
>> > +               spin_lock(&p->lock);
>> > +               p->b = 143;
>> > +               p->c = 144;
>> > +               spin_unlock(&p->lock);
>> > +               rcu_assign_pointer(gp2, p);
>> > +       }
>> > +
>> > +       void reader(void)
>> > +       {
>> > +               struct foo *p;
>> > +               struct foo *q;
>> > +               int r1, r2;
>> > +
>> > +               p = rcu_dereference(gp2);
>> > +               spin_lock(&p->lock);
>> > +               r1 = p->b;  /* Guaranteed to get 143. */
>> > +               q = rcu_dereference(gp1);
>> > +               if (p == q) {
>> > +                       /* The compiler decides that q->c is same as p->c. */
>> > +                       r2 = p->c; /* Could get 44 on weakly order system. */
>> > +               }
>> > +               spin_unlock(&p->lock);
>> > +       }
>> > +
>> > +As always, use the right tool for the job!
>> > +
>> > +
>> > +EXAMPLE WHERE THE COMPILER KNOWS TOO MUCH
>> > +
>> > +If a pointer obtained from rcu_dereference() compares not-equal to some
>> > +other pointer, the compiler normally has no clue what the value of the
>> > +first pointer might be.  This lack of knowledge prevents the compiler
>> > +from carrying out optimizations that otherwise might destroy the ordering
>> > +guarantees that RCU depends on.  And the volatile cast in rcu_dereference()
>> > +should prevent the compiler from guessing the value.
>> > +
>> > +But without rcu_dereference(), the compiler knows more than you might
>> > +expect.  Consider the following code fragment:
>> > +
>> > +       struct foo {
>> > +               int a;
>> > +               int b;
>> > +       };
>> > +       static struct foo variable1;
>> > +       static struct foo variable2;
>> > +       static struct foo *gp = &variable1;
>> > +
>> > +       void updater(void)
>> > +       {
>> > +               initialize_foo(&variable2);
>> > +               rcu_assign_pointer(gp, &variable2);
>> > +               /*
>> > +                * The above is the only store to gp in this translation unit,
>> > +                * and the address of gp is not exported in any way.
>> > +                */
>> > +       }
>> > +
>> > +       int reader(void)
>> > +       {
>> > +               struct foo *p;
>> > +
>> > +               p = gp;
>> > +               barrier();
>> > +               if (p == &variable1)
>> > +                       return p->a; /* Must be variable1.a. */
>> > +               else
>> > +                       return p->b; /* Must be variable2.b. */
>> > +       }
>> > +
>> > +Because the compiler can see all stores to "gp", it knows that the only
>> > +possible values of "gp" are "variable1" on the one hand and "variable2"
>> > +on the other.  The comparison in reader() therefore tells the compiler
>> > +the exact value of "p" even in the not-equals case.  This allows the
>> > +compiler to make the return values independent of the load from "gp",
>> > +in turn destroying the ordering between this load and the loads of the
>> > +return values.  This can result in "p->b" returning pre-initialization
>> > +garbage values.
>> > +
>> > +In short, rcu_dereference() is -not- optional when you are going to
>> > +dereference the resulting pointer.
>> >
>> > --
>> > To unsubscribe from this list: send the line "unsubscribe linux-kernel" in
>> > the body of a message to majordomo@vger.kernel.org
>> > More majordomo info at  http://vger.kernel.org/majordomo-info.html
>> > Please read the FAQ at  http://www.tux.org/lkml/
>>
>


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