path: root/Documentation/RCU
diff options
authorPaul E. McKenney <>2020-02-15 14:18:09 -0800
committerPaul E. McKenney <>2020-04-27 11:03:50 -0700
commite4453d8a1c56050df320ef54f339ffa4a9513d0a (patch)
treeffad59bcad27e16d68f7a18875d2fbd026ee8361 /Documentation/RCU
parentc76e7e0bce10876e6b08ac2ce8af5ef7cba684ff (diff)
rcu: Make rcu_read_unlock_special() safe for rq/pi locks
The scheduler is currently required to hold rq/pi locks across the entire RCU read-side critical section or not at all. This is inconvenient and leaves traps for the unwary, including the author of this commit. But now that excessively long grace periods enable scheduling-clock interrupts for holdout nohz_full CPUs, the nohz_full rescue logic in rcu_read_unlock_special() can be dispensed with. In other words, the rcu_read_unlock_special() function can refrain from doing wakeups unless such wakeups are guaranteed safe. This commit therefore avoids unsafe wakeups, freeing the scheduler to hold rq/pi locks across rcu_read_unlock() even if the corresponding RCU read-side critical section might have been preempted. This commit also updates RCU's requirements documentation. This commit is inspired by a patch from Lai Jiangshan: This commit is further intended to be a step towards his goal of permitting the inlining of RCU-preempt's rcu_read_lock() and rcu_read_unlock(). Cc: Lai Jiangshan <> Signed-off-by: Paul E. McKenney <>
Diffstat (limited to 'Documentation/RCU')
1 files changed, 16 insertions, 45 deletions
diff --git a/Documentation/RCU/Design/Requirements/Requirements.rst b/Documentation/RCU/Design/Requirements/Requirements.rst
index fd5e2cbc4935..75b8ca007a11 100644
--- a/Documentation/RCU/Design/Requirements/Requirements.rst
+++ b/Documentation/RCU/Design/Requirements/Requirements.rst
@@ -1943,56 +1943,27 @@ invoked from a CPU-hotplug notifier.
Scheduler and RCU
-RCU depends on the scheduler, and the scheduler uses RCU to protect some
-of its data structures. The preemptible-RCU ``rcu_read_unlock()``
-implementation must therefore be written carefully to avoid deadlocks
-involving the scheduler's runqueue and priority-inheritance locks. In
-particular, ``rcu_read_unlock()`` must tolerate an interrupt where the
-interrupt handler invokes both ``rcu_read_lock()`` and
-``rcu_read_unlock()``. This possibility requires ``rcu_read_unlock()``
-to use negative nesting levels to avoid destructive recursion via
-interrupt handler's use of RCU.
-This scheduler-RCU requirement came as a `complete
-surprise <>`__.
-As noted above, RCU makes use of kthreads, and it is necessary to avoid
-excessive CPU-time accumulation by these kthreads. This requirement was
-no surprise, but RCU's violation of it when running context-switch-heavy
-workloads when built with ``CONFIG_NO_HZ_FULL=y`` `did come as a
+RCU makes use of kthreads, and it is necessary to avoid excessive CPU-time
+accumulation by these kthreads. This requirement was no surprise, but
+RCU's violation of it when running context-switch-heavy workloads when
+built with ``CONFIG_NO_HZ_FULL=y`` `did come as a surprise
[PDF] <>`__.
RCU has made good progress towards meeting this requirement, even for
context-switch-heavy ``CONFIG_NO_HZ_FULL=y`` workloads, but there is
room for further improvement.
-It is forbidden to hold any of scheduler's runqueue or
-priority-inheritance spinlocks across an ``rcu_read_unlock()`` unless
-interrupts have been disabled across the entire RCU read-side critical
-section, that is, up to and including the matching ``rcu_read_lock()``.
-Violating this restriction can result in deadlocks involving these
-scheduler spinlocks. There was hope that this restriction might be
-lifted when interrupt-disabled calls to ``rcu_read_unlock()`` started
-deferring the reporting of the resulting RCU-preempt quiescent state
-until the end of the corresponding interrupts-disabled region.
-Unfortunately, timely reporting of the corresponding quiescent state to
-expedited grace periods requires a call to ``raise_softirq()``, which
-can acquire these scheduler spinlocks. In addition, real-time systems
-using RCU priority boosting need this restriction to remain in effect
-because deferred quiescent-state reporting would also defer deboosting,
-which in turn would degrade real-time latencies.
-In theory, if a given RCU read-side critical section could be guaranteed
-to be less than one second in duration, holding a scheduler spinlock
-across that critical section's ``rcu_read_unlock()`` would require only
-that preemption be disabled across the entire RCU read-side critical
-section, not interrupts. Unfortunately, given the possibility of vCPU
-preemption, long-running interrupts, and so on, it is not possible in
-practice to guarantee that a given RCU read-side critical section will
-complete in less than one second. Therefore, as noted above, if
-scheduler spinlocks are held across a given call to
-``rcu_read_unlock()``, interrupts must be disabled across the entire RCU
-read-side critical section.
+There is no longer any prohibition against holding any of
+scheduler's runqueue or priority-inheritance spinlocks across an
+``rcu_read_unlock()``, even if interrupts and preemption were enabled
+somewhere within the corresponding RCU read-side critical section.
+Therefore, it is now perfectly legal to execute ``rcu_read_lock()``
+with preemption enabled, acquire one of the scheduler locks, and hold
+that lock across the matching ``rcu_read_unlock()``.
+Similarly, the RCU flavor consolidation has removed the need for negative
+nesting. The fact that interrupt-disabled regions of code act as RCU
+read-side critical sections implicitly avoids earlier issues that used
+to result in destructive recursion via interrupt handler's use of RCU.
Tracing and RCU