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SubjectRe: [PATCH 4/7] x86,tlb: make lazy TLB mode lazier
On Thu, Jul 19, 2018 at 9:45 AM, Andy Lutomirski <> wrote:
> [I added PeterZ and Vitaly -- can you see any way in which this would
> break something obscure? I don't.]
> On Thu, Jul 19, 2018 at 7:14 AM, Rik van Riel <> wrote:
>> I guess we can skip both switch_ldt and load_mm_cr4 if real_prev equals
>> next?
> Yes, AFAICS.
>> On to the lazy TLB mm_struct refcounting stuff :)
>>> Which refcount? mm_users shouldn’t be hot, so I assume you’re talking about
>>> mm_count. My suggestion is to get rid of mm_count instead of trying to
>>> optimize it.
>> Do you have any suggestions on how? :)
>> The TLB shootdown sent at __exit_mm time does not get rid of the
>> kernelthread->active_mm
>> pointer pointing at the mm that is exiting.
> Ah, but that's conceptually very easy to fix. Add a #define like
> ARCH_NO_TASK_ACTIVE_MM. Then just get rid of active_mm if that
> #define is set. After some grepping, there are very few users. The
> only nontrivial ones are the ones in kernel/ and mm/mmu_context.c that
> are involved in the rather complicated dance of refcounting active_mm.
> If that field goes away, it doesn't need to be refcounted. Instead, I
> think the refcounting can get replaced with something like:
> /*
> * Release any arch-internal references to mm. Only called when
> mm_users is zero
> * and all tasks using mm have either been switch_mm()'d away or have had
> * enter_lazy_tlb() called.
> */
> extern void arch_shoot_down_dead_mm(struct mm_struct *mm);
> which the kernel calls in __mmput() after tearing down all the page
> tables. The body can be something like:
> if (WARN_ON(cpumask_any_but(mm_cpumask(...), ...)) {
> /* send an IPI. Maybe just call tlb_flush_remove_tables() */
> }
> (You'll also have to fix up the highly questionable users in
> arch/x86/platform/efi/efi_64.c, but that's easy.)
> Does all that make sense? Basically, as I understand it, the
> expensive atomic ops you're seeing are all pointless because they're
> enabling an optimization that hasn't actually worked for a long time,
> if ever.

Hmm. Xen PV has a big hack in xen_exit_mmap(), which is called from
arch_exit_mmap(), I think. It's a heavier weight version of more or
less the same thing that arch_shoot_down_dead_mm() would be, except
that it happens before exit_mmap(). But maybe Xen actually has the
right idea. In other words, rather doing the big pagetable free in
exit_mmap() while there may still be other CPUs pointing at the page
tables, the other order might make more sense. So maybe, if
ARCH_NO_TASK_ACTIVE_MM is set, arch_exit_mmap() should be responsible
for getting rid of all secret arch references to the mm.

Hmm. ARCH_FREE_UNUSED_MM_IMMEDIATELY might be a better name.

I added some more arch maintainers. The idea here is that, on x86 at
least, task->active_mm and all its refcounting is pure overhead. When
a process exits, __mmput() gets called, but the core kernel has a
longstanding "optimization" in which other tasks (kernel threads and
idle tasks) may have ->active_mm pointing at this mm. This is nasty,
complicated, and hurts performance on large systems, since it requires
extra atomic operations whenever a CPU switches between real users
threads and idle/kernel threads.

It's also almost completely worthless on x86 at least, since __mmput()
frees pagetables, and that operation *already* forces a remote TLB
flush, so we might as well zap all the active_mm references at the
same time.

But arm64 has real HW remote flushes. Does arm64 actually benefit
from the active_mm optimization? What happens on arm64 when a process
exits? How about s390? I suspect that x390 has rather larger systems
than arm64, where the cost of the reference counting can be much

(Also, Rik, x86 on Hyper-V has remote flushes, too. How does that
interact with your previous patch set?)

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