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SubjectRe: [PATCH v4] kmemleak: survive in a low-memory situation
On Fri 29-03-19 16:16:38, Catalin Marinas wrote:
> On Fri, Mar 29, 2019 at 01:02:37PM +0100, Michal Hocko wrote:
> > On Thu 28-03-19 14:59:17, Catalin Marinas wrote:
> > [...]
> > > >From 09eba8f0235eb16409931e6aad77a45a12bedc82 Mon Sep 17 00:00:00 2001
> > > From: Catalin Marinas <>
> > > Date: Thu, 28 Mar 2019 13:26:07 +0000
> > > Subject: [PATCH] mm: kmemleak: Use mempool allocations for kmemleak objects
> > >
> > > This patch adds mempool allocations for struct kmemleak_object and
> > > kmemleak_scan_area as slightly more resilient than kmem_cache_alloc()
> > > under memory pressure. The patch also masks out all the gfp flags passed
> > > to kmemleak other than GFP_KERNEL|GFP_ATOMIC.
> >
> > Using mempool allocator is better than inventing its own implementation
> > but there is one thing to be slightly careful/worried about.
> >
> > This allocator expects that somebody will refill the pool in a finit
> > time. Most users are OK with that because objects in flight are going
> > to return in the pool in a relatively short time (think of an IO) but
> > kmemleak is not guaranteed to comply with that AFAIU. Sure ephemeral
> > allocations are happening all the time so there should be some churn
> > in the pool all the time but if we go to an extreme where there is a
> > serious memory leak then I suspect we might get stuck here without any
> > way forward. Page/slab allocator would eventually back off even though
> > small allocations never fail because a user context would get killed
> > sooner or later but there is no fatal_signal_pending backoff in the
> > mempool alloc path.
> We could improve the mempool code slightly to refill itself (from some
> workqueue or during a mempool_alloc() which allows blocking) but it's
> really just a best effort for a debug tool under OOM conditions. It may
> be sufficient just to make the mempool size tunable (via
> /sys/kernel/debug/kmemleak).

The point I've tried to make is that you really have to fail at some
point but mempool is fundamentally about non-failing as long as the
allocation is sleepable. And we cannot really break that assumptions
because existing users really depend on it. But as I've said I would try
it out and see. This is just a debugging feature and I assume that a
really fatal oom caused by a real memory leak would be detected sooner
than the whole thing just blows up.
Michal Hocko

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