powerpc: Add user-return-notifier support

Ananth N Mavinakayanahalli ananth at in.ibm.com
Wed Sep 2 12:37:13 AEST 2015

On Tue, Sep 01, 2015 at 07:03:12PM -0500, Scott Wood wrote:
> On Tue, 2015-09-01 at 12:11 +0530, Ananth N Mavinakayanahalli wrote:
> > On Mon, Aug 31, 2015 at 08:35:17PM +1000, Michael Ellerman wrote:
> > > On Tue, 2015-25-08 at 05:41:10 UTC, Ananth N Mavinakayanahalli wrote:
> > > > Add user return notifier support for powerpc. Similar to x86, this 
> > > > feature
> > > > keys off of the KVM Kconfig.
> > > 
> > > Please flesh this out.
> > > 
> > > What is it, why do we want it, why is your implementation correct.
> > 
> > The only current in-kernel user of the infrastructure is KVM on x86. It
> > is useful for optimizations when MSR values can continue to be used
> > between the host and guest. Commit log for 18863bdd60f8 upstream has a
> > more complete explanation.
> >
> > I do not know the inner details of the KVM implementation on Power,
> > perhaps Paul/Gautham can comment on if a similar optimization will
> > benefit Power systems too?
> "MSR" is x86-specific terminology and is pretty vague.  What specifically is 
> the functionality being optimized, in terms of things that actually exist on 
> PPC?
> In any case, that commit log doesn't explain what user-return-notifier is or 
> how it works, just that it's being used.

User return notifier is a simple mechanism to fire a one-shot custom handler in
the context of the thread its registered against, just before it returns to
userspace. It works by setting a TIF flag to indicate that a handler needs to
run, and on the userspace return path (do_notify_resume()), this flag is checked
to call any registered handlers.

> > We could certainly make this a generic config option.. but I am yet to
> > see a real usecase outside of the KVM thingy. We do use TIF_UPROBE for
> > something very similar, though that needs to fire much before the
> > outstanding signals get handled. The user-return notifier is the last
> > thing executed before return to userspace -- the two cannot be merged.
> > 
> > Ananth
> > 
> > PS: I am not sure having an 'ok' against the Documentation/features/ for
> > powerpc is a valid enough argument for this :-)
> So how did you test this?  What platforms did you test it on?  What hardware 
> support does it need?

Simple kernel module below... Its fairly evident from the patch that the
feature is a software only construct and no specific hardware support is
needed. I've tested this on a P7.


/* uret test module */

#include <linux/init.h>
#include <linux/module.h>
#include <linux/kernel.h>
#include <linux/user-return-notifier.h>

struct user_return_notifier urn;
static int count;

static void test_on_user_return(struct user_return_notifier *urn)

static int init_urn(void)
	urn.on_user_return = test_on_user_return;
	printk("urn registered\n");
	return 0;
static void cleanup_urn(void)
	printk("urn unregistered; count = %d\n", count);


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