[PATCH v5 01/45] percpu_rwlock: Introduce the global reader-writer lock backend

Michel Lespinasse walken at google.com
Thu Jan 24 15:14:56 EST 2013

On Tue, Jan 22, 2013 at 11:32 AM, Steven Rostedt <rostedt at goodmis.org> wrote:
> On Tue, 2013-01-22 at 13:03 +0530, Srivatsa S. Bhat wrote:
>> A straight-forward (and obvious) algorithm to implement Per-CPU Reader-Writer
>> locks can also lead to too many deadlock possibilities which can make it very
>> hard/impossible to use. This is explained in the example below, which helps
>> justify the need for a different algorithm to implement flexible Per-CPU
>> Reader-Writer locks.
>> We can use global rwlocks as shown below safely, without fear of deadlocks:
>> Readers:
>>          CPU 0                                CPU 1
>>          ------                               ------
>> 1.    spin_lock(&random_lock);             read_lock(&my_rwlock);
>> 2.    read_lock(&my_rwlock);               spin_lock(&random_lock);
>> Writer:
>>          CPU 2:
>>          ------
>>        write_lock(&my_rwlock);
> I thought global locks are now fair. That is, a reader will block if a
> writer is waiting. Hence, the above should deadlock on the current
> rwlock_t types.

I believe you are mistaken here. struct rw_semaphore is fair (and
blocking), but rwlock_t is unfair. The reason we can't easily make
rwlock_t fair is because tasklist_lock currently depends on the
rwlock_t unfairness - tasklist_lock readers typically don't disable
local interrupts, and tasklist_lock may be acquired again from within
an interrupt, which would deadlock if rwlock_t was fair and a writer
was queued by the time the interrupt is processed.

> We need to fix those locations (or better yet, remove all rwlocks ;-)

tasklist_lock is the main remaining user. I'm not sure about removing
rwlock_t, but I would like to at least make it fair somehow :)

Michel "Walken" Lespinasse
A program is never fully debugged until the last user dies.

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