[PATCH (resubmit)][BRIDGE] Properly dereference the br_should_route_hook

Paul E. McKenney paulmck at linux.vnet.ibm.com
Thu Nov 29 06:36:50 PST 2007

On Fri, Nov 30, 2007 at 12:04:20AM +1100, Herbert Xu wrote:
> On Tue, Nov 27, 2007 at 07:21:08PM +0300, Pavel Emelyanov wrote:
> > This hook is protected with the RCU, so simple
> > 
> > 	if (br_should_route_hook)
> > 		br_should_route_hook(...)
> > 
> > is not enough on some architectures.
> > 
> > Use the rcu_dereference/rcu_assign_pointer in this case.
> > 
> > Fixed Stephen's comment concerning using the typeof().
> > 
> > Signed-off-by: Pavel Emelyanov <xemul at openvz.org>
> Applied to net-2.6.  Thanks Pavel!
> >  static void __exit ebtable_broute_fini(void)
> >  {
> > -	br_should_route_hook = NULL;
> > +	rcu_assign_pointer(br_should_route_hook, NULL);
> Just for the record, rcu_assign_pointer is never necessary when
> you're assigning NULL.  The reason is that rcu_assign_pointer serves
> as a barrier between the initialisation of the content of what you're
> assigning and the actual assignment.  Since NULL does not need to be
> initialised you don't need the barrier :)

Of course, if the rcu_assign_pointer() of NULL is not on a hot code
path, the extra memory barrier might not be hurting enough to care.

> Hmm, perhaps we could even build this logic into rcu_assign_pointer.

That certainly is an interesting tradeoff...  Save a memory barrier
when assigning NULL, but pay an extra test and branch in all cases.
Though it does make for a simpler rule -- just use rcu_assign_pointer()
in all cases.  Of course, if almost all rcu_assign_pointer() executions
assign non-NULL pointers, the optimal strategy would be to leave the
implementation of rcu_assign_pointer() alone, and simply enforce use
of rcu_assign_pointer(), even if the pointer being assigned is NULL.

For a rough guess, if fewer than a few percent of rcu_assign_pointer()
executions assign NULL, then it is best to simply change the rule.
If more than about ten percent of rcu_assign_pointer() executions
assign NULL, then it would make sense to put the check into the
rcu_assign_pointer() primitive.  The percentages would be of dynamic
executions, rather than static counts of lines of code.

So, any intuitions on what fraction of the time rcu_assign_pointer()
is assigning NULL?  Failing that, what workload should be used to take
the measurements?  ;-)

> Then again, who still uses an Alpha? Mine died years ago :)

Although rcu_dereference() does a memory barrier only on Alpha, that of
rcu_assign_pointer() is needed on any machine that does not preserve store
order (Itanium, POWER, ARM, some MIPS boxes according to rumor, ...).

						Thanx, Paul

> Cheers,
> -- 
> Visit Openswan at http://www.openswan.org/
> Email: Herbert Xu ~{PmV>HI~} <herbert at gondor.apana.org.au>
> Home Page: http://gondor.apana.org.au/~herbert/
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