Memory barriers and spin_unlock safety

Paul Mackerras paulus at
Sat Mar 4 21:58:06 EST 2006

Linus Torvalds writes:

> PPC has an absolutely _horrible_ memory ordering implementation, as far as 
> I can tell. The thing is broken. I think it's just implementation 
> breakage, not anything really fundamental, but the fact that their write 
> barriers are expensive is a big sign that they are doing something bad. 

An smp_wmb() is just an eieio on PPC, which is pretty cheap.  I made
wmb() be a sync though, because it seemed that there were drivers that
expected wmb() to provide an ordering between a write to memory and a
write to an MMIO register.  If that is a bogus assumption then we
could make wmb() lighter-weight (after auditing all the drivers we're
interested in, of course, ...).

And in a subsequent message:

> If so, a simple write barrier should be sufficient. That's exactly what 
> the x86 write barriers do too, ie stores to magic IO space are _not_ 
> ordered wrt a normal [smp_]wmb() (or, as per how this thread started, a 
> spin_unlock()) at all.

By magic IO space, do you mean just any old memory-mapped device
register in a PCI device, or do you mean something else?


More information about the Linuxppc64-dev mailing list