delays - Information on the various kernel delay / sleep mechanisms
This document seeks to answer the common question: "What is the
RightWay (TM) to insert a delay?"
This question is most often faced by driver writers who have to
deal with hardware delays and who may not be the most intimately
familiar with the inner workings of the Linux Kernel.
The first, and most important, question you need to ask is "Is my
code in an atomic context?" This should be followed closely by "Does
it really need to delay in atomic context?" If so...
You must use the `*delay` family of functions. These
functions use the jiffie estimation of clock speed
and will busy wait for enough loop cycles to achieve
the desired delay:
ndelay(unsigned long nsecs)
udelay(unsigned long usecs)
mdelay(unsigned long msecs)
udelay is the generally preferred API; ndelay-level
precision may not actually exist on many non-PC devices.
mdelay is macro wrapper around udelay, to account for
possible overflow when passing large arguments to udelay.
In general, use of mdelay is discouraged and code should
be refactored to allow for the use of msleep.
You should use the `*sleep[_range]` family of functions.
There are a few more options here, while any of them may
work correctly, using the "right" sleep function will
help the scheduler, power management, and just make your
driver better :)
-- Backed by busy-wait loop:
udelay(unsigned long usecs)
-- Backed by hrtimers:
usleep_range(unsigned long min, unsigned long max)
-- Backed by jiffies / legacy_timers
msleep(unsigned long msecs)
msleep_interruptible(unsigned long msecs)
Unlike the `*delay` family, the underlying mechanism
driving each of these calls varies, thus there are
quirks you should be aware of.
SLEEPING FOR "A FEW" USECS ( < ~10us? ):
* Use udelay
- Why not usleep?
On slower systems, (embedded, OR perhaps a speed-
stepped PC!) the overhead of setting up the hrtimers
for usleep *may* not be worth it. Such an evaluation
will obviously depend on your specific situation, but
it is something to be aware of.
SLEEPING FOR ~USECS OR SMALL MSECS ( 10us - 20ms):
* Use usleep_range
- Why not msleep for (1ms - 20ms)?
Explained originally here:
msleep(1~20) may not do what the caller intends, and
will often sleep longer (~20 ms actual sleep for any
value given in the 1~20ms range). In many cases this
is not the desired behavior.
- Why is there no "usleep" / What is a good range?
Since usleep_range is built on top of hrtimers, the
wakeup will be very precise (ish), thus a simple
usleep function would likely introduce a large number
of undesired interrupts.
With the introduction of a range, the scheduler is
free to coalesce your wakeup with any other wakeup
that may have happened for other reasons, or at the
worst case, fire an interrupt for your upper bound.
The larger a range you supply, the greater a chance
that you will not trigger an interrupt; this should
be balanced with what is an acceptable upper bound on
delay / performance for your specific code path. Exact
tolerances here are very situation specific, thus it
is left to the caller to determine a reasonable range.
SLEEPING FOR LARGER MSECS ( 10ms+ )
* Use msleep or possibly msleep_interruptible
- What's the difference?
msleep sets the current task to TASK_UNINTERRUPTIBLE
whereas msleep_interruptible sets the current task to
TASK_INTERRUPTIBLE before scheduling the sleep. In
short, the difference is whether the sleep can be ended
early by a signal. In general, just use msleep unless
you know you have a need for the interruptible variant.