MMIO and gcc re-ordering issue

Benjamin Herrenschmidt benh at
Tue Jun 3 14:32:31 EST 2008

> This whole thread also ties in with my posts about mmiowb (which IMO
> should go away).
> readl/writel:  strongly ordered wrt one another and other stores
>                to cacheable RAM, byteswapping
> __readl/__writel:  not ordered (needs mb/rmb/wmb to order with
>                    other readl/writel and cacheable operations, or
>                    io_*mb to order with one another)
> raw_readl/raw_writel:  strongly ordered, no byteswapping
> __raw_readl/__raw_writel:  not ordered, no byteswapping
> then get rid of *relaxed* variants.

In addition, some archs like powerpc also provide readl_be/writel_be as
being defined as big endian (ie. byteswap on LE archs, no byteswap on BE

As of today, powerpc lacks the raw_readl/raw_writel and __readl/__writel
variants (ie, we only provide fully ordered + byteswap and no ordering +
no byteswap variants).

If we agree on the above semantics, I'll do a patch providing the
missing ones.

> Linus: on x86, memory operations to wc and wc+ memory are not ordered
> with one another, or operations to other memory types (ie. load/load
> and store/store reordering is allowed). Also, as you know, store/load
> reordering is explicitly allowed as well, which covers all memory
> types. So perhaps it is not quite true to say readl/writel is strongly
> ordered by default even on x86. You would have to put in some
> mfence instructions in them to make it so.
> So, what *exact* definition are you going to mandate for readl/writel?
> Anything less than strict ordering then we also need to ensure drivers
> use the correct barriers (to implement strict ordering, we could either
> put mfence instructions in, or explicitly disallow readl/writel to be
> used on wc/wc+ memory).

The ordering guarantees that I provide on powerpc for "ordered" variants

	- cacheable store + writel stays ordered (ie, write to some
          DMA stuff and then a register to trigger the DMA).

	- readl + cacheable read stays ordered (ie. read some status
          register, for example, after an interrupt, and then read the
          resulting data in memory).

	- any of these ordered vs. spin_lock and spin_unlock (with the
          exception that stores done before the spin_lock 
          could potentially leak into the lock).

	- readl is synchronous (ie, makes the CPU think the
          data was actually used before executing subsequent
          instructions, thus waits for the data to come back,
          for example to ensure that a read used to push out
          post buffers followed by a delay will indeed happen
          with the right delay).

We don't provide meaningless ones like writel + cacheable store for
example. (PCI posting would defeat it anyway).

> The other way we can go is just say that they have x86 semantics,
> although that would be a bit sad IMO: we should have strong ops, in
> which case driver writers never need to use a single barrier provided
> they have locking right, and weak ops, in which case they should match
> up with the weak Linux memory ordering model for system RAM.


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