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SubjectRe: [PATCH v3 00/21] huge page clearing optimizations
On Tue, Jun 7, 2022 at 8:10 AM Ankur Arora <> wrote:
> For highmem and page-at-a-time archs we would need to keep some
> of the same optimizations (via the common clear/copy_user_highpages().)

Yeah, I guess that we could keep the code for legacy use, just make
the existing code be marked __weak so that it can be ignored for any
further work.

IOW, the first patch might be to just add that __weak to
'clear_huge_page()' and 'copy_user_huge_page()'.

At that point, any architecture can just say "I will implement my own
versions of these two".

In fact, you can start with just one or the other, which is probably
nicer to keep the patch series smaller (ie do the simpler
"clear_huge_page()" first).

I worry a bit about the insanity of the "gigantic" pages, and the
mem_map_next() games it plays, but that code is from 2008 and I really
doubt it makes any sense to keep around at least for x86. The source
of that abomination is powerpc, and I do not think that whole issue
with MAX_ORDER_NR_PAGES makes any difference on x86, at least.

It most definitely makes no sense when there is no highmem issues, and
all those 'struct page' games should just be deleted (or at least
relegated entirely to that "legacy __weak function" case so that sane
situations don't need to care).

For that same HIGHMEM reason it's probably a good idea to limit the
new case just to x86-64, and leave 32-bit x86 behind.

> Right. Or doing the whole contiguous area in one or a few chunks
> chunks, and then touching the faulting cachelines towards the end.

Yeah, just add a prefetch for the 'addr_hint' part at the end.

> > Maybe an architecture could do even more radical things like "let's
> > just 'rep stos' for the whole area, but set a special thread flag that
> > causes the interrupt return to break it up on return to kernel space".
> > IOW, the "latency fix" might not even be about chunking it up, it
> > might look more like our exception handling thing.
> When I was thinking about this earlier, I had a vague inkling of
> setting a thread flag and defer writes to the last few cachelines
> for just before returning to user-space.
> Can you elaborate a little about what you are describing above?

So 'process_huge_page()' (and the gigantic page case) does three very
different things:

(a) that page chunking for highmem accesses

(b) the page access _ordering_ for the cache hinting reasons

(c) the chunking for _latency_ reasons

and I think all of them are basically "bad legacy" reasons, in that

(a) HIGHMEM doesn't exist on sane architectures that we care about these days

(b) the cache hinting ordering makes no sense if you do non-temporal
accesses (and might then be replaced by a possible "prefetch" at the

(c) the latency reasons still *do* exist, but only with PREEMPT_NONE

So what I was alluding to with those "more radical approaches" was
that PREEMPT_NONE case: we would probably still want to chunk things
up for latency reasons and do that "cond_resched()" in between

Now, there are alternatives here:

(a) only override that existing disgusting (but tested) function when

(b) do something like this:

void clear_huge_page(struct page *page,
unsigned long addr_hint,
unsigned int pages_per_huge_page)
void *addr = page_address(page);
for (int i = 0; i < pages_per_huge_page; i++)
clear_page(addr, PAGE_SIZE);
nontemporal_clear_big_area(addr, PAGE_SIZE*pages_per_huge_page);

or (c), do that "more radical approach", where you do something like this:

void clear_huge_page(struct page *page,
unsigned long addr_hint,
unsigned int pages_per_huge_page)
nontemporal_clear_big_area(addr, PAGE_SIZE*pages_per_huge_page);

and then you make the "return to kernel mode" check the TIF_PREEMPT_ME
case and actually force preemption even on a non-preempt kernel.

It's _probably_ the case that CONFIG_PREEMPT_NONE is so rare that it's
n ot even worth doing. I dunno.

And all of the above pseudo-code may _look_ like real code, but is
entirely untested and entirely handwavy "something like this".



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