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Subject[PATCH v2] rcu: Add comment documenting how rcu_seq_snap works
rcu_seq_snap may be tricky for someone looking at it for the first time.
Lets document how it works with an example to make it easier.

Signed-off-by: Joel Fernandes (Google) <>
v2 changes: Corrections as suggested by Randy.

kernel/rcu/rcu.h | 24 +++++++++++++++++++++++-
1 file changed, 23 insertions(+), 1 deletion(-)

diff --git a/kernel/rcu/rcu.h b/kernel/rcu/rcu.h
index 003671825d62..533bc1087371 100644
--- a/kernel/rcu/rcu.h
+++ b/kernel/rcu/rcu.h
@@ -91,7 +91,29 @@ static inline void rcu_seq_end(unsigned long *sp)
WRITE_ONCE(*sp, rcu_seq_endval(sp));

-/* Take a snapshot of the update side's sequence number. */
+ * Take a snapshot of the update side's sequence number.
+ *
+ * This function predicts what the grace period number will be the next
+ * time an RCU callback will be executed, given the current grace period's
+ * number. This can be gp+1 if RCU is idle, or gp+2 if a grace period is
+ * already in progress.
+ *
+ * We do this with a single addition and masking.
+ * For example, if RCU_SEQ_STATE_MASK=1 and the least significant bit (LSB) of
+ * the seq is used to track if a GP is in progress or not, its sufficient if we
+ * add (2+1) and mask with ~1. Lets see why with an example:
+ *
+ * Say the current seq is 6 which is 0b110 (gp is 3 and state bit is 0).
+ * To get the next GP number, we have to at least add 0b10 to this (0x1 << 1)
+ * to account for the state bit. However, if the current seq is 7 (gp is 3 and
+ * state bit is 1), then it means the current grace period is already in
+ * progress so the next time the callback will run is at the end of grace
+ * period number gp+2. To account for the extra +1, we just overflow the LSB by
+ * adding another 0x1 and masking with ~0x1. In case no GP was in progress (RCU
+ * is idle), then the addition of the extra 0x1 and masking will have no
+ * effect. This is calculated as below.
+ */
static inline unsigned long rcu_seq_snap(unsigned long *sp)
unsigned long s;
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