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Re: Lots of bugs with current->state = TASK_*INTERRUPTIBLE

To: David Daney <>
Subject: Re: Lots of bugs with current->state = TASK_*INTERRUPTIBLE
From: Steven Rostedt <>
Date: Thu, 21 Jan 2010 14:34:15 -0500
Cc: LKML <>, kernel-janitors <>, Peter Zijlstra <>, Andrew Morton <>,, Greg KH <>, Andy Whitcroft <>, Ralf Baechle <>, linux-mips <>
In-reply-to: <>
Organization: Kihon Technologies Inc.
References: <> <>
On Thu, 2010-01-21 at 11:18 -0800, David Daney wrote:
> Steven Rostedt wrote:
> > Peter Zijlstra and I were doing a look over of places that assign
> > current->state = TASK_*INTERRUPTIBLE, by simply looking at places with:
> > 
> >  $ git grep -A1 'state[[:space:]]*=[[:space:]]*TASK_[^R]'
> > 
> > and it seems there are quite a few places that looks like bugs. To be on
> > the safe side, everything outside of a run queue lock that sets the
> > current state to something other than TASK_RUNNING (or dead) should be
> > using set_current_state().
> > 
> >     current->state = TASK_INTERRUPTIBLE;
> >     schedule();
> > 
> > is probably OK, but it would not hurt to be consistent. Here's a few
> > examples of likely bugs:
> > 
> [...]
> This may be a bit off topic, but exactly which type of barrier should 
> set_current_state() be implying?
> On MIPS, set_mb() (which is used by set_current_state()) has a full mb().
> Some MIPS based processors have a much lighter weight wmb().  Could 
> wmb() be used in place of mb() here?

Nope, wmb() is not enough. Below is an explanation.

> If not, an explanation of the required memory ordering semantics here 
> would be appreciated.
> I know the documentation says:
>      set_current_state() includes a barrier so that the write of
>      current->state is correctly serialised wrt the caller's subsequent
>      test of whether to actually sleep:
>       set_current_state(TASK_UNINTERRUPTIBLE);
>       if (do_i_need_to_sleep())
>               schedule();
> Since the current CPU sees the memory accesses in order, what can be 
> happening on other CPUs that would require a full mb()?

Lets look at a hypothetical situation with:

        current->state = TASK_UNINTERRUPTIBLE;
        if (!x)

Then somewhere we probably have:

        x = 1;

           CPU 0                           CPU 1
        ------------                    -----------
        (cpu pipeline sees a load
         of x ahead, and preloads it)
                                        x = 1;
                                        (task on CPU 0 is still at

        current->state = TASK_INTERRUPTIBLE;
        smp_wmb(); <<-- does not prevent early loading of x
        if (!x)  <<-- returns true

Now the task on CPU 0 missed the wake up.

Note, places that call schedule() are not fast paths, and probably not
called often. Adding the overhead of smp_mb() to ensure correctness is a
small price to pay compared to search for why you have a stuck task that
was never woken up.

Read Documentation/memory-barriers.txt, it will be worth the time you
spend doing so.

-- Steve

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