Re: 5.x locking plan

From: Matthew Dillon <>
Date: Thu, 27 Mar 2003 12:21:34 -0800 (PST)
:My curiousity has overcome my fear of the bikeshed so I'll ask the
:question that has been bugging me for a while.  Why haven't we gone
:through the tree and created a lock for each spl and then converted every
:spl call into the appropriate mtx_lock call?  At that point, we can mark
:large sections of the tree giant-free and then make the locking data-based
:(instead of code-based) one section at a time.  This is the approach
:Solaris took.

    The problem is that SPLs are per-thread masks, and different sets of
    bits can be added or removed from the master mask in any order and at
    any time.  There is no direct translation to a mutex (which cannot
    be obtained in random order, is not per-thread, and may result in 
    preemption or a context switch).

    Most of the code locked under Giant assumes the single-threading of
    kernel threads regardless of the SPL.  This 'inherent' single threading
    is one the reasons why the original code was so efficient.
    Since preemption can occur now under many new circumstances, including 
    when 'normal' (non-spin) mutexes are used to replace prior uses of SPLs
    (which could not cause thread level preemption)...  well, it basically
    means there is no easy way to remove Giant short of going through every
    bit of code and fixing it one subsystem at a time.

    Giant itself is a special case.  It is not a normal mutex.  Instead, the
    kernel very carefully saves and restores the state of Giant on a 
    per-thread basis so programs don't 'need to know' whether Giant is being
    held or not and so Giant can be held in combination with another mutex
    without violating the basic 'only one mutex can be held when going to
    sleep' rule.

					Matthew Dillon 
Received on Thu Mar 27 2003 - 11:21:35 UTC

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