[PATCH] gettimeofday stability

Samuel Rydh samuel at ibrium.se
Thu Apr 12 09:07:56 EST 2001

On Wed, Apr 11, 2001 at 09:42:58PM +0200, Gabriel Paubert wrote:
> > Normally, delta should be strictly positive. However, if
> > coherency between DEC and TB is lost, then delta might turn
> > out to be (slightly) negative, which results in a
> > bogus time stamp.
> >
> > The main reason why I want this modification is that MOL
> > touches both DEC and TB. I've not managed to maintain
> > exact coherency (appears to be more or less impossible).
> > The fix above would guard against an occasional drift.
> Why in the hell does it touch TB ? I could understand touching the
> decrementer, but the TB should be sacred. It is the only absolute time
> reference we have, and apart from being synchronized at boot on SMP, it
> should never be changed.

Ideally, TB should not be touched. Indeed, MOL can run without
touching TB (but DEC is essential). However, TB needs to be
modified for 'save session' feature to work. Basically, the RAM
and cpu state of MacOS is flushed to disk. At a later time,
MacOS can be restarted instantly. The problem is that MacOS can't
deal with the TB skip that occurs if the timebase is not restored
(no big surprise there).

> If you touch the TB, you will lose the nicely spaced regular interrupts
> that we have and screw up NTP for example, get occasionally shorter or
> longer jiffies etc... I wrote the code carefully to avoid all these kinds
> of problems.

Yes, that is probably unavoidable. My though was to let the user
choose the use of the save session feature at the price of slightly
less regularly spaced DEC interrupts while MOL is running (there
will probably be a minor clock drift too).

>Besides that, you have to touch all TB simultaneously on SMP,
> it's not as easy as it seems.

I know :-). It is difficult enough to keep DEC and TB coherent
on a single processor system (i.e. I don't think there is a
simple way - loading them simultaneously just after a clock
edge does not work since mtdec/mttb requires too many processor
cycles on certains CPUs).

> Finally, if you _really_ run into this problem, given the delay between
> the decrementer interrupt and the update of tb_last_stamp, it means that
> you likely introduce uncertainties of several microseconds.

Yes, that is probably true.

> I forgot also to mention that, to complicate matters, you have to
> check CPU type before you touch the TB (601 versus all others).

Well, the TB/RTC issue is a minor problem compared to the other differences
(in particular, the unified BATs and the lack of a no-execute bit
in the segment registers).

Anyway, the negative offset check is desirable even if it is
only the DEC that is touched. Of course, as a workaround one could
make sure the DEC register is only accessed in such a manner that
linux-DEC interrupts never occur early (this is what MOL does now).
However, this workaround is a bit tricky to implement without
introducing dependencies on the inner workings of the processor
(at least as long as one tries to avoid introducing a drift
in the opposite direction).



 E-mail <samuel at ibrium.se>  WWW: <http://www.ibrium.se>
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