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SubjectRe: [RFC][PATCHv6 00/12] printk: introduce printing kernel thread

On (12/29/17 22:59), Tetsuo Handa wrote:
> Just an idea: Do we really need to use a semaphore for console_sem?
> Is it possible to replace it with a spinlock? Then, I feel that we can write
> to consoles from non-process context (i.e. soft or hard IRQ context), with
> write only one log (or even one byte) at a time (i.e. write one log from one
> context, and defer all remaining logs by "somehow" scheduling for calling
> that context again).
> Since process context might fail to allow printk kernel thread to run for
> long period due to many threads waiting for run, I thought that interrupt
> context might fit better if we can "somehow" chain interrupt contexts.

that's a good question. printk(), indeed, does not care that much. but
the whole thing is more complex. I can copy-paste (sorry for that) one
of my previous emails to give a brief (I'm sure the description is
incomplete) idea.


the real purpose of console_sem is to synchronize all events that can
happen to VT, fbcon, TTY, video, etc. and there are many events that
can happen to VT/fbcon. and some of those events can sleep - that's
where printk() can suffer. and this is why printk() is not different
from any other console_sem users -- printk() uses that lock in order
to synchronize its own events: to have only one printing CPU, to prevent
concurrent console drivers list modification, to prevent concurrent consoles
modification, and so on.

let's take VT and fbcon for simplicity.

the events are.

1) IOCTL from user space
they may involve things like resizing, scrolling, rotating,

take a look at drivers/tty/vt/vt_ioctl.c vt_ioctl().
we need to take console_sem there because we modify the very
important things - size, font maps, etc. we don't want those changes
to mess with possibly active print outs happening from another CPUs.

2) timer events and workqueue events
even cursor blinking must take console_sem. because it modifies the
state of console/screen. take a look at drivers/video/fbdev/core/fbcon.c
show_cursor_blink() for example.

and take a look at fbcon_add_cursor_timer() in drivers/video/fbdev/core/fbcon.c

3) foreground console may change. video driver may be be initialized and

4) PM events
for exaple, drivers/video/fbdev/aty/radeon_pm.c radeonfb_pci_suspend()

5) TTY write from user space
when user space wants to write anything to console it goes through
nTTY -> con_write() -> do_con_write().

CPU: 1 PID: 1 Comm: systemd
Call Trace:

take a look at drivers/tty/vt/vt.c do_con_write()

it does a ton of things. why - because we need to scroll the console;
we need to wrap around the lines; we need to process control characters
- like \r or \n and so on and need to modify the console state accordingly;
we need to do UTF8/ASCII/etc. all of this things cannot run concurrently with
IOCTL that modify the font map or resize the console, or flip it, or rotate

take a look at lf() -> con_scroll() -> fbcon_scroll() // drivers/video/fbdev/core/fbcon.c

we also don't want printk() to mess with do_con_write(). including
printk() from IRQ.

6) even more TTY
I suspect that TTY may be invoked from IRQ.

7) printk() write (and occasional ksmg_dump dumpers, e.g. arch/um/kernel/kmsg_dump)

printk() goes through console_unlock()->vt_console_print().
and it, basically, must handle all the things that TTY write does.
handle console chars properly, do scrolling, wrapping, etc. and we
don't want anthing else to jump in and mess with us at this stage.
that's why we user console_sem in printk.c - to serialize all the
events... including concurrent printk() from other CPUs. that's why
we do console_trylock() in vprintk_emit().

8) even more printk()
printk() can be called from IRQ. console_sem stops it if some of
the consoles can't work in IRQ context right now.

9) consoles have notifiers

* We defer the timer blanking to work queue so it can take the console mutex
* (console operations can still happen at irq time, but only from printk which
* has the console mutex. Not perfect yet, but better than no locking
static void blank_screen_t(unsigned long dummy)
blank_timer_expired = 1;

so console_sem is also used to, basically, synchronize IRQs/etc.

10) I suspect that some consoles can do things with console_sem from IRQ

and so on. we really use console_sem as a big-kernel-lock.

so where console_sem users might sleep? in tons of places...

like ark_pci_suspend() console_lock(); mutex_lock(par);
or ark_pci_resume() console_lock(); mutex_lock();
or con_install() console_lock(); vc_allocate() -> kzalloc(GFP_KERNEL)

and so on and on and on.

and then there are paths that do

mutex_lock(); schedule();
and another CPU does
console_lock(); mutex_lock();

so it sleeps on mutex, with locked console_sem, and we can't even print
anything. printk() has to start losing messages at some point and nothing
can it help. except for flush on panic -- we don't care about console_sem

printk() on its own can sleep with console_sem locked:
- preemption in console_unlock() printing loop.

for (;;) {
<<<<< preemption or cond_resched() >>>>>

if the system is not healthy (OOM, etc.) then preemption in
console_unlock() can block printk messages for a very long



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