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SubjectRe: [PATCH 3/4] mm: Add free()
On Fri, Mar 23, 2018 at 09:04:10AM +0100, Rasmus Villemoes wrote:
> On 2018-03-22 20:58, Matthew Wilcox wrote:
> > From: Matthew Wilcox <mawilcox@microsoft.com>
> >
> > free() can free many different kinds of memory.
>
> I'd be a bit worried about using that name. gcc very much knows about
> the C standard's definition of that function, as can be seen on
> godbolt.org by compiling
>
> void free(const void *);
> void f(void)
> {
> free((void*)0);
> }
>
> with -O2 -Wall -Wextra -c. Anything from 4.6 onwards simply compiles this to
>
> f:
> repz retq
>
> And sure, your free() implementation obviously also has that property,
> but I'm worried that they might one day decide to warn about the
> prototype mismatch (actually, I'm surprised it doesn't warn now, given
> that it obviously pretends to know what free() function I'm calling...),
> or make some crazy optimization that will break stuff in very subtle ways.
>
> Also, we probably don't want people starting to use free() (or whatever
> name is chosen) if they do know the kind of memory they're freeing?
> Maybe it should not be advertised that widely (i.e., in kernel.h).

All that you've said I see as an advantage, not a disadvantage.
Maybe I should change the prototype to match the userspace
free(), although gcc is deliberately lax about the constness of
function arguments when determining compatibility with builtins.
See match_builtin_function_types() if you're really curious.

gcc already does some nice optimisations around free(). For example, it
can eliminate dead stores:

#include <stdlib.h>

void f(char *foo)
{
foo[1] = 3;
free(foo);
}

becomes:

0000000000000000 <f>:
0: e9 00 00 00 00 jmpq 5 <f+0x5>
1: R_X86_64_PLT32 free-0x4

You can see more things it knows about free() by grepping for
BUILT_IN_FREE.

I absolutely do want to see people using free() instead of kfree()
if it's not important that the memory was kmalloced. I wouldn't go
through and change existing code, but I do want to see
#define malloc(x) kvmalloc((x), GFP_KERNEL)

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