MMIO and gcc re-ordering (Was: [PATCH] [POWERPC] Improve (in|out)_beXX() asm code)

Benjamin Herrenschmidt benh at
Fri May 23 22:36:37 EST 2008

> > IE. Take an x86 version of that test, writing to memory, doing a writel
> > to some MMIO, then another memory write, can those be re-ordered with
> > the current x86 version of writel ?
> Yes, the same thing can happen on x86.  As far as I could tell, this is
> something that all other arches can have happen.  Usually aliasing prevents
> it, but it's not hard to constuct a test case where it doesn't.

That brings us back to the old debate...

For consistent memory, should we mandate a wmb between write to some dma
data structure in consistent memory and the following mmio write that
trigger it, and the same goes with rmb and read ?

David, you remember we had those discussions a while back when I was
trying to relax a bit the barriers we have in our MMIO accessors on
powerpc, and the overwhelming answer was that x86 being in order, I have
to expect 90% of the drivers to not get any barrier right on any
platform, and thus I should make my MMIO accessors "look like" x86 and
thus ordered.

We did that, adding some barriers in the assembly of our readl/writel. 

However, I didn't change the clobber, it's still *addr, not a full
"memory" clobber, just like x86.

Now if it appears that gcc can indeed re-order things, then we have a
problem on both x86, ppc, and pretty much everybody else. (I'm not sure
about sparc but I don't see any explicit clobber in your accessors

So that brings the whole subject back imho. What should be the approach
here ? I see several options:

	- mandate some kind of dma_sync_for_device/cpu on consistent memory.
Almost no driver do that currently tho. They only do that for non
consistent memory mapped with dma_map_*.

	- mandate the use of wmb,rmb,mb barriers for use between memory
accesses and MMIOs for ordering them. (ie. fix drivers that don't do
it). Advantage for powerpc is that I can remove (after some auditing of
course) the added heavy barriers in the MMIO accessors themselves.

	- stick a full memory clobber in all MMIO (and PIO) accessors on all

Any other idea ? preference ?


More information about the Linuxppc-dev mailing list