[PATCH V4 4/6] mm: mlock: Introduce VM_LOCKONFAULT and add mlock flags to enable it

Vlastimil Babka vbabka at suse.cz
Thu Jul 23 20:03:37 AEST 2015

On 07/22/2015 08:43 PM, Eric B Munson wrote:
> On Wed, 22 Jul 2015, Vlastimil Babka wrote:
>> Hi,
>> I think you should include a complete description of which
>> transitions for vma states and mlock2/munlock2 flags applied on them
>> are valid and what they do. It will also help with the manpages.
>> You explained some to Jon in the last thread, but I think there
>> should be a canonical description in changelog (if not also
>> Documentation, if mlock is covered there).
>> For example the scenario Jon asked, what happens after a
>> mlock2(MLOCK_ONFAULT) followed by mlock2(MLOCK_LOCKED), and that the
>> answer is "nothing". Your promised code comment for
>> apply_vma_flags() doesn't suffice IMHO (and I'm not sure it's there,
>> anyway?).
> I missed adding that comment to the code, will be there in V5 along with
> the description in the changelog.


>> But the more I think about the scenario and your new VM_LOCKONFAULT
>> vma flag, it seems awkward to me. Why should munlocking at all care
>> if the vma was mlocked with MLOCK_LOCKED or MLOCK_ONFAULT? In either
>> case the result is that all pages currently populated are munlocked.
>> So the flags for munlock2 should be unnecessary.
> Say a user has a large area of interleaved MLOCK_LOCK and MLOCK_ONFAULT
> mappings and they want to unlock only the ones with MLOCK_LOCK.  With
> the current implementation, this is possible in a single system call
> that spans the entire region.  With your suggestion, the user would have
> to know what regions where locked with MLOCK_LOCK and call munlock() on
> each of them.  IMO, the way munlock2() works better mirrors the way
> munlock() currently works when called on a large area of interleaved
> locked and unlocked areas.

Um OK, that scenario is possible in theory. But I have a hard time imagining
that somebody would really want to do that. I think much more people would
benefit from a simpler API.

>> I also think VM_LOCKONFAULT is unnecessary. VM_LOCKED should be
>> enough - see how you had to handle the new flag in all places that
>> had to handle the old flag? I think the information whether mlock
>> was supposed to fault the whole vma is obsolete at the moment mlock
>> returns. VM_LOCKED should be enough for both modes, and the flag to
>> mlock2 could just control whether the pre-faulting is done.
>> So what should be IMHO enough:
>> - munlock can stay without flags
>> - mlock2 has only one new flag MLOCK_ONFAULT. If specified,
>> pre-faulting is not done, just set VM_LOCKED and mlock pages already
>> present.
>> - same with mmap(MAP_LOCKONFAULT) (need to define what happens when
>> both MAP_LOCKED and MAP_LOCKONFAULT are specified).
>> Now mlockall(MCL_FUTURE) muddles the situation in that it stores the
>> information for future VMA's in current->mm->def_flags, and this
>> def_flags would need to distinguish VM_LOCKED with population and
>> without. But that could be still solvable without introducing a new
>> vma flag everywhere.
> With you right up until that last paragraph.  I have been staring at
> this a while and I cannot come up a way to handle the
> mlockall(MCL_ONFAULT) without introducing a new vm flag.  It doesn't
> have to be VM_LOCKONFAULT, we could use the model that Michal Hocko
> suggested with something like VM_FAULTPOPULATE.  However, we can't
> really use this flag anywhere except the mlock code becuase we have to
> be able to distinguish a caller that wants to use MLOCK_LOCK with
> whatever control VM_FAULTPOPULATE might grant outside of mlock and a
> caller that wants MLOCK_ONFAULT.  That was a long way of saying we need
> an extra vma flag regardless.  However, if that flag only controls if
> mlock pre-populates it would work and it would do away with most of the
> places I had to touch to handle VM_LOCKONFAULT properly.

Yes, it would be a good way. Adding a new vma flag is probably cleanest after
all, but the flag would be set *in addition* to VM_LOCKED, *just* to prevent
pre-faulting. The places that check VM_LOCKED for the actual page mlocking (i.e.
try_to_unmap_one) would just keep checking VM_LOCKED. The places where VM_LOCKED
is checked to trigger prepopulation, would skip that if VM_LOCKONFAULT is also
set. Having VM_LOCKONFAULT set without also VM_LOCKED itself would be invalid state.

This should work fine with the simplified API as I proposed so let me reiterate
and try fill in the blanks:

- mlock2 has only one new flag MLOCK_ONFAULT. If specified, VM_LOCKONFAULT is
set in addition to VM_LOCKED and no prefaulting is done
  - old mlock syscall naturally behaves as mlock2 without MLOCK_ONFAULT
  - calling mlock/mlock2 on an already-mlocked area (if that's permitted
already?) will add/remove VM_LOCKONFAULT as needed. If it's removing,
prepopulate whole range. Of course adding VM_LOCKONFAULT to a vma that was
already prefaulted doesn't make any difference, but it's consistent with the rest.
- munlock removes both VM_LOCKED and VM_LOCKONFAULT
- mmap could treat MAP_LOCKONFAULT as a modifier to MAP_LOCKED to be consistent?
or not? I'm not sure here, either way subtly differs from mlock API anyway, I
just wish MAP_LOCKED never existed...
- mlockall(MCL_CURRENT) sets or clears VM_LOCKONFAULT depending on
MCL_LOCKONFAULT, mlockall(MCL_FUTURE) does the same on mm->def_flags
- munlockall2 removes both, like munlock. munlockall2(MCL_FUTURE) does that to

> I picked VM_LOCKONFAULT because it is explicit about what it is for and
> there is little risk of someone coming along in 5 years and saying "why
> not overload this flag to do this other thing completely unrelated to
> mlock?".  A flag for controling speculative population is more likely to
> be overloaded outside of mlock().

Sure, let's make clear the name is related to mlock, but the behavior could
still be additive to MAP_LOCKED.

> If you have a sane way of handling mlockall(MCL_ONFAULT) without a new
> VMA flag, I am happy to give it a try, but I haven't been able to come
> up with one that doesn't have its own gremlins.

Well we could store the MCL_FUTURE | MCL_ONFAULT bit elsewhere in mm_struct than
the def_flags field. The VM_LOCKED field is already evaluated specially from all
the other def_flags. We are nearing the full 32bit space for vma flags. I think
all I've proposed above wouldn't change much if we removed per-vma
VM_LOCKONFAULT flag from the equation. Just that re-mlocking area already
mlocked *withouth* MLOCK_ONFAULT wouldn't know that it was alread prepopulated,
and would have to re-populate in either case (I'm not sure, maybe it's already
done by current implementation anyway so it's not a potential performance
Only mlockall(MCL_FUTURE | MCL_ONFAULT) should really need the ONFAULT info to
"stick" somewhere in mm_struct, but it doesn't have to be def_flags?

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