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Subject[PATCH 5.4 101/155] drivers/base/memory.c: indicate all memory blocks as removable
From: David Hildenbrand <>

commit 53cdc1cb29e87ce5a61de5bb393eb08925d14ede upstream.

We see multiple issues with the implementation/interface to compute
whether a memory block can be offlined (exposed via
/sys/devices/system/memory/memoryX/removable) and would like to simplify
it (remove the implementation).

1. It runs basically lockless. While this might be good for performance,
we see possible races with memory offlining that will require at
least some sort of locking to fix.

2. Nowadays, more false positives are possible. No arch-specific checks
are performed that validate if memory offlining will not be denied
right away (and such check will require locking). For example, arm64
won't allow to offline any memory block that was added during boot -
which will imply a very high error rate. Other archs have other

3. The interface is inherently racy. E.g., if a memory block is detected
to be removable (and was not a false positive at that time), there is
still no guarantee that offlining will actually succeed. So any
caller already has to deal with false positives.

4. It is unclear which performance benefit this interface actually
provides. The introducing commit 5c755e9fd813 ("memory-hotplug: add
sysfs removable attribute for hotplug memory remove") mentioned

"A user-level agent must be able to identify which sections
of memory are likely to be removable before attempting the
potentially expensive operation."

However, no actual performance comparison was included.

Known users:

- lsmem: Will group memory blocks based on the "removable" property. [1]

- chmem: Indirect user. It has a RANGE mode where one can specify
removable ranges identified via lsmem to be offlined. However,
it also has a "SIZE" mode, which allows a sysadmin to skip the
manual "identify removable blocks" step. [2]

- powerpc-utils: Uses the "removable" attribute to skip some memory
blocks right away when trying to find some to offline+remove.
However, with ballooning enabled, it already skips this
information completely (because it once resulted in many false
negatives). Therefore, the implementation can deal with false
positives properly already. [3]

According to Nathan Fontenot, DLPAR on powerpc is nowadays no longer
driven from userspace via the drmgr command (powerpc-utils). Nowadays
it's managed in the kernel - including onlining/offlining of memory
blocks - triggered by drmgr writing to /sys/kernel/dlpar. So the
affected legacy userspace handling is only active on old kernels. Only
very old versions of drmgr on a new kernel (unlikely) might execute
slower - totally acceptable.

With CONFIG_MEMORY_HOTREMOVE, always indicating "removable" should not
break any user space tool. We implement a very bad heuristic now.
Without CONFIG_MEMORY_HOTREMOVE we cannot offline anything, so report
"not removable" as before.

Original discussion can be found in [4] ("[PATCH RFC v1] mm:
is_mem_section_removable() overhaul").

Other users of is_mem_section_removable() will be removed next, so that
we can remove is_mem_section_removable() completely.


Also, this patch probably fixes a crash reported by Steve.

Reported-by: "Scargall, Steve" <>
Suggested-by: Michal Hocko <>
Signed-off-by: David Hildenbrand <>
Signed-off-by: Andrew Morton <>
Reviewed-by: Nathan Fontenot <>
Acked-by: Michal Hocko <>
Cc: Dan Williams <>
Cc: Greg Kroah-Hartman <>
Cc: "Rafael J. Wysocki" <>
Cc: Badari Pulavarty <>
Cc: Robert Jennings <>
Cc: Heiko Carstens <>
Cc: Karel Zak <>
Cc: <>
Signed-off-by: Linus Torvalds <>
Signed-off-by: Greg Kroah-Hartman <>

drivers/base/memory.c | 23 +++--------------------
1 file changed, 3 insertions(+), 20 deletions(-)

--- a/drivers/base/memory.c
+++ b/drivers/base/memory.c
@@ -114,30 +114,13 @@ static ssize_t phys_index_show(struct de

- * Show whether the memory block is likely to be offlineable (or is already
- * offline). Once offline, the memory block could be removed. The return
- * value does, however, not indicate that there is a way to remove the
- * memory block.
+ * Legacy interface that we cannot remove. Always indicate "removable"
+ * with CONFIG_MEMORY_HOTREMOVE - bad heuristic.
static ssize_t removable_show(struct device *dev, struct device_attribute *attr,
char *buf)
- struct memory_block *mem = to_memory_block(dev);
- unsigned long pfn;
- int ret = 1, i;
- if (mem->state != MEM_ONLINE)
- goto out;
- for (i = 0; i < sections_per_block; i++) {
- if (!present_section_nr(mem->start_section_nr + i))
- continue;
- pfn = section_nr_to_pfn(mem->start_section_nr + i);
- ret &= is_mem_section_removable(pfn, PAGES_PER_SECTION);
- }
- return sprintf(buf, "%d\n", ret);
+ return sprintf(buf, "%d\n", (int)IS_ENABLED(CONFIG_MEMORY_HOTREMOVE));


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