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SubjectRe: [PATCH] mm: madvise: MADV_DONTNEED_LOCKED
On 3/4/22 18:19, Johannes Weiner wrote:
> MADV_DONTNEED historically rejects mlocked ranges, but with
> MLOCK_ONFAULT and MCL_ONFAULT allowing to mlock without populating,
> there are valid use cases for depopulating locked ranges as well.
> Users mlock memory to protect secrets. There are allocators for secure
> buffers that want in-use memory generally mlocked, but cleared and
> invalidated memory to give up the physical pages. This could be done
> with explicit munlock -> mlock calls on free -> alloc of course, but
> that adds two unnecessary syscalls, heavy mmap_sem write locks, vma
> splits and re-merges - only to get rid of the backing pages.
> Users also mlockall(MCL_ONFAULT) to suppress sustained paging, but are
> okay with on-demand initial population. It seems valid to selectively
> free some memory during the lifetime of such a process, without having
> to mess with its overall policy.
> Why add a separate flag? Isn't this a pretty niche usecase?
> - MADV_DONTNEED has been bailing on locked vmas forever. It's at least
> conceivable that someone, somewhere is relying on mlock to protect
> data from perhaps broader invalidation calls. Changing this behavior
> now could lead to quiet data corruption.
> - It also clarifies expectations around MADV_FREE and maybe
> MADV_REMOVE. It avoids the situation where one quietly behaves
> different than the others. MADV_FREE_LOCKED can be added later.

Looks like the parameter is not a bitmask, so it makes sense to have
MADV_FREE_LOCKED instead of a generic flag that combines with one of those.

> - The combination of mlock() and madvise() in the first place is
> probably niche. But where it happens, I'd say that dropping pages
> from a locked region once they don't contain secrets or won't page
> anymore is much saner than relying on mlock to protect memory from
> speculative or errant invalidation calls. It's just that we can't
> change the default behavior because of the two previous points.
> Given that, an explicit new flag seems to make the most sense.
> Signed-off-by: Johannes Weiner <>

Acked-by: Vlastimil Babka <>

> Acked-by: Michal Hocko <>

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