Documentation / locking / locktypes.rst


Based on kernel version 5.17. Page generated on 2022-03-28 08:42 EST.

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.. SPDX-License-Identifier: GPL-2.0

.. _kernel_hacking_locktypes:

==========================
Lock types and their rules
==========================

Introduction
============

The kernel provides a variety of locking primitives which can be divided
into three categories:

 - Sleeping locks
 - CPU local locks
 - Spinning locks

This document conceptually describes these lock types and provides rules
for their nesting, including the rules for use under PREEMPT_RT.


Lock categories
===============

Sleeping locks
--------------

Sleeping locks can only be acquired in preemptible task context.

Although implementations allow try_lock() from other contexts, it is
necessary to carefully evaluate the safety of unlock() as well as of
try_lock().  Furthermore, it is also necessary to evaluate the debugging
versions of these primitives.  In short, don't acquire sleeping locks from
other contexts unless there is no other option.

Sleeping lock types:

 - mutex
 - rt_mutex
 - semaphore
 - rw_semaphore
 - ww_mutex
 - percpu_rw_semaphore

On PREEMPT_RT kernels, these lock types are converted to sleeping locks:

 - local_lock
 - spinlock_t
 - rwlock_t


CPU local locks
---------------

 - local_lock

On non-PREEMPT_RT kernels, local_lock functions are wrappers around
preemption and interrupt disabling primitives. Contrary to other locking
mechanisms, disabling preemption or interrupts are pure CPU local
concurrency control mechanisms and not suited for inter-CPU concurrency
control.


Spinning locks
--------------

 - raw_spinlock_t
 - bit spinlocks

On non-PREEMPT_RT kernels, these lock types are also spinning locks:

 - spinlock_t
 - rwlock_t

Spinning locks implicitly disable preemption and the lock / unlock functions
can have suffixes which apply further protections:

 ===================  ====================================================
 _bh()                Disable / enable bottom halves (soft interrupts)
 _irq()               Disable / enable interrupts
 _irqsave/restore()   Save and disable / restore interrupt disabled state
 ===================  ====================================================


Owner semantics
===============

The aforementioned lock types except semaphores have strict owner
semantics:

  The context (task) that acquired the lock must release it.

rw_semaphores have a special interface which allows non-owner release for
readers.


rtmutex
=======

RT-mutexes are mutexes with support for priority inheritance (PI).

PI has limitations on non-PREEMPT_RT kernels due to preemption and
interrupt disabled sections.

PI clearly cannot preempt preemption-disabled or interrupt-disabled
regions of code, even on PREEMPT_RT kernels.  Instead, PREEMPT_RT kernels
execute most such regions of code in preemptible task context, especially
interrupt handlers and soft interrupts.  This conversion allows spinlock_t
and rwlock_t to be implemented via RT-mutexes.


semaphore
=========

semaphore is a counting semaphore implementation.

Semaphores are often used for both serialization and waiting, but new use
cases should instead use separate serialization and wait mechanisms, such
as mutexes and completions.

semaphores and PREEMPT_RT
----------------------------

PREEMPT_RT does not change the semaphore implementation because counting
semaphores have no concept of owners, thus preventing PREEMPT_RT from
providing priority inheritance for semaphores.  After all, an unknown
owner cannot be boosted. As a consequence, blocking on semaphores can
result in priority inversion.


rw_semaphore
============

rw_semaphore is a multiple readers and single writer lock mechanism.

On non-PREEMPT_RT kernels the implementation is fair, thus preventing
writer starvation.

rw_semaphore complies by default with the strict owner semantics, but there
exist special-purpose interfaces that allow non-owner release for readers.
These interfaces work independent of the kernel configuration.

rw_semaphore and PREEMPT_RT
---------------------------

PREEMPT_RT kernels map rw_semaphore to a separate rt_mutex-based
implementation, thus changing the fairness:

 Because an rw_semaphore writer cannot grant its priority to multiple
 readers, a preempted low-priority reader will continue holding its lock,
 thus starving even high-priority writers.  In contrast, because readers
 can grant their priority to a writer, a preempted low-priority writer will
 have its priority boosted until it releases the lock, thus preventing that
 writer from starving readers.


local_lock
==========

local_lock provides a named scope to critical sections which are protected
by disabling preemption or interrupts.

On non-PREEMPT_RT kernels local_lock operations map to the preemption and
interrupt disabling and enabling primitives:

 ===============================  ======================
 local_lock(&llock)               preempt_disable()
 local_unlock(&llock)             preempt_enable()
 local_lock_irq(&llock)           local_irq_disable()
 local_unlock_irq(&llock)         local_irq_enable()
 local_lock_irqsave(&llock)       local_irq_save()
 local_unlock_irqrestore(&llock)  local_irq_restore()
 ===============================  ======================

The named scope of local_lock has two advantages over the regular
primitives:

  - The lock name allows static analysis and is also a clear documentation
    of the protection scope while the regular primitives are scopeless and
    opaque.

  - If lockdep is enabled the local_lock gains a lockmap which allows to
    validate the correctness of the protection. This can detect cases where
    e.g. a function using preempt_disable() as protection mechanism is
    invoked from interrupt or soft-interrupt context. Aside of that
    lockdep_assert_held(&llock) works as with any other locking primitive.

local_lock and PREEMPT_RT
-------------------------

PREEMPT_RT kernels map local_lock to a per-CPU spinlock_t, thus changing
semantics:

  - All spinlock_t changes also apply to local_lock.

local_lock usage
----------------

local_lock should be used in situations where disabling preemption or
interrupts is the appropriate form of concurrency control to protect
per-CPU data structures on a non PREEMPT_RT kernel.

local_lock is not suitable to protect against preemption or interrupts on a
PREEMPT_RT kernel due to the PREEMPT_RT specific spinlock_t semantics.


raw_spinlock_t and spinlock_t
=============================

raw_spinlock_t
--------------

raw_spinlock_t is a strict spinning lock implementation regardless of the
kernel configuration including PREEMPT_RT enabled kernels.

raw_spinlock_t is a strict spinning lock implementation in all kernels,
including PREEMPT_RT kernels.  Use raw_spinlock_t only in real critical
core code, low-level interrupt handling and places where disabling
preemption or interrupts is required, for example, to safely access
hardware state.  raw_spinlock_t can sometimes also be used when the
critical section is tiny, thus avoiding RT-mutex overhead.

spinlock_t
----------

The semantics of spinlock_t change with the state of PREEMPT_RT.

On a non-PREEMPT_RT kernel spinlock_t is mapped to raw_spinlock_t and has
exactly the same semantics.

spinlock_t and PREEMPT_RT
-------------------------

On a PREEMPT_RT kernel spinlock_t is mapped to a separate implementation
based on rt_mutex which changes the semantics:

 - Preemption is not disabled.

 - The hard interrupt related suffixes for spin_lock / spin_unlock
   operations (_irq, _irqsave / _irqrestore) do not affect the CPU's
   interrupt disabled state.

 - The soft interrupt related suffix (_bh()) still disables softirq
   handlers.

   Non-PREEMPT_RT kernels disable preemption to get this effect.

   PREEMPT_RT kernels use a per-CPU lock for serialization which keeps
   preemption disabled. The lock disables softirq handlers and also
   prevents reentrancy due to task preemption.

PREEMPT_RT kernels preserve all other spinlock_t semantics:

 - Tasks holding a spinlock_t do not migrate.  Non-PREEMPT_RT kernels
   avoid migration by disabling preemption.  PREEMPT_RT kernels instead
   disable migration, which ensures that pointers to per-CPU variables
   remain valid even if the task is preempted.

 - Task state is preserved across spinlock acquisition, ensuring that the
   task-state rules apply to all kernel configurations.  Non-PREEMPT_RT
   kernels leave task state untouched.  However, PREEMPT_RT must change
   task state if the task blocks during acquisition.  Therefore, it saves
   the current task state before blocking and the corresponding lock wakeup
   restores it, as shown below::

    task->state = TASK_INTERRUPTIBLE
     lock()
       block()
         task->saved_state = task->state
	 task->state = TASK_UNINTERRUPTIBLE
	 schedule()
					lock wakeup
					  task->state = task->saved_state

   Other types of wakeups would normally unconditionally set the task state
   to RUNNING, but that does not work here because the task must remain
   blocked until the lock becomes available.  Therefore, when a non-lock
   wakeup attempts to awaken a task blocked waiting for a spinlock, it
   instead sets the saved state to RUNNING.  Then, when the lock
   acquisition completes, the lock wakeup sets the task state to the saved
   state, in this case setting it to RUNNING::

    task->state = TASK_INTERRUPTIBLE
     lock()
       block()
         task->saved_state = task->state
	 task->state = TASK_UNINTERRUPTIBLE
	 schedule()
					non lock wakeup
					  task->saved_state = TASK_RUNNING

					lock wakeup
					  task->state = task->saved_state

   This ensures that the real wakeup cannot be lost.


rwlock_t
========

rwlock_t is a multiple readers and single writer lock mechanism.

Non-PREEMPT_RT kernels implement rwlock_t as a spinning lock and the
suffix rules of spinlock_t apply accordingly. The implementation is fair,
thus preventing writer starvation.

rwlock_t and PREEMPT_RT
-----------------------

PREEMPT_RT kernels map rwlock_t to a separate rt_mutex-based
implementation, thus changing semantics:

 - All the spinlock_t changes also apply to rwlock_t.

 - Because an rwlock_t writer cannot grant its priority to multiple
   readers, a preempted low-priority reader will continue holding its lock,
   thus starving even high-priority writers.  In contrast, because readers
   can grant their priority to a writer, a preempted low-priority writer
   will have its priority boosted until it releases the lock, thus
   preventing that writer from starving readers.


PREEMPT_RT caveats
==================

local_lock on RT
----------------

The mapping of local_lock to spinlock_t on PREEMPT_RT kernels has a few
implications. For example, on a non-PREEMPT_RT kernel the following code
sequence works as expected::

  local_lock_irq(&local_lock);
  raw_spin_lock(&lock);

and is fully equivalent to::

   raw_spin_lock_irq(&lock);

On a PREEMPT_RT kernel this code sequence breaks because local_lock_irq()
is mapped to a per-CPU spinlock_t which neither disables interrupts nor
preemption. The following code sequence works perfectly correct on both
PREEMPT_RT and non-PREEMPT_RT kernels::

  local_lock_irq(&local_lock);
  spin_lock(&lock);

Another caveat with local locks is that each local_lock has a specific
protection scope. So the following substitution is wrong::

  func1()
  {
    local_irq_save(flags);    -> local_lock_irqsave(&local_lock_1, flags);
    func3();
    local_irq_restore(flags); -> local_unlock_irqrestore(&local_lock_1, flags);
  }

  func2()
  {
    local_irq_save(flags);    -> local_lock_irqsave(&local_lock_2, flags);
    func3();
    local_irq_restore(flags); -> local_unlock_irqrestore(&local_lock_2, flags);
  }

  func3()
  {
    lockdep_assert_irqs_disabled();
    access_protected_data();
  }

On a non-PREEMPT_RT kernel this works correctly, but on a PREEMPT_RT kernel
local_lock_1 and local_lock_2 are distinct and cannot serialize the callers
of func3(). Also the lockdep assert will trigger on a PREEMPT_RT kernel
because local_lock_irqsave() does not disable interrupts due to the
PREEMPT_RT-specific semantics of spinlock_t. The correct substitution is::

  func1()
  {
    local_irq_save(flags);    -> local_lock_irqsave(&local_lock, flags);
    func3();
    local_irq_restore(flags); -> local_unlock_irqrestore(&local_lock, flags);
  }

  func2()
  {
    local_irq_save(flags);    -> local_lock_irqsave(&local_lock, flags);
    func3();
    local_irq_restore(flags); -> local_unlock_irqrestore(&local_lock, flags);
  }

  func3()
  {
    lockdep_assert_held(&local_lock);
    access_protected_data();
  }


spinlock_t and rwlock_t
-----------------------

The changes in spinlock_t and rwlock_t semantics on PREEMPT_RT kernels
have a few implications.  For example, on a non-PREEMPT_RT kernel the
following code sequence works as expected::

   local_irq_disable();
   spin_lock(&lock);

and is fully equivalent to::

   spin_lock_irq(&lock);

Same applies to rwlock_t and the _irqsave() suffix variants.

On PREEMPT_RT kernel this code sequence breaks because RT-mutex requires a
fully preemptible context.  Instead, use spin_lock_irq() or
spin_lock_irqsave() and their unlock counterparts.  In cases where the
interrupt disabling and locking must remain separate, PREEMPT_RT offers a
local_lock mechanism.  Acquiring the local_lock pins the task to a CPU,
allowing things like per-CPU interrupt disabled locks to be acquired.
However, this approach should be used only where absolutely necessary.

A typical scenario is protection of per-CPU variables in thread context::

  struct foo *p = get_cpu_ptr(&var1);

  spin_lock(&p->lock);
  p->count += this_cpu_read(var2);

This is correct code on a non-PREEMPT_RT kernel, but on a PREEMPT_RT kernel
this breaks. The PREEMPT_RT-specific change of spinlock_t semantics does
not allow to acquire p->lock because get_cpu_ptr() implicitly disables
preemption. The following substitution works on both kernels::

  struct foo *p;

  migrate_disable();
  p = this_cpu_ptr(&var1);
  spin_lock(&p->lock);
  p->count += this_cpu_read(var2);

migrate_disable() ensures that the task is pinned on the current CPU which
in turn guarantees that the per-CPU access to var1 and var2 are staying on
the same CPU while the task remains preemptible.

The migrate_disable() substitution is not valid for the following
scenario::

  func()
  {
    struct foo *p;

    migrate_disable();
    p = this_cpu_ptr(&var1);
    p->val = func2();

This breaks because migrate_disable() does not protect against reentrancy from
a preempting task. A correct substitution for this case is::

  func()
  {
    struct foo *p;

    local_lock(&foo_lock);
    p = this_cpu_ptr(&var1);
    p->val = func2();

On a non-PREEMPT_RT kernel this protects against reentrancy by disabling
preemption. On a PREEMPT_RT kernel this is achieved by acquiring the
underlying per-CPU spinlock.


raw_spinlock_t on RT
--------------------

Acquiring a raw_spinlock_t disables preemption and possibly also
interrupts, so the critical section must avoid acquiring a regular
spinlock_t or rwlock_t, for example, the critical section must avoid
allocating memory.  Thus, on a non-PREEMPT_RT kernel the following code
works perfectly::

  raw_spin_lock(&lock);
  p = kmalloc(sizeof(*p), GFP_ATOMIC);

But this code fails on PREEMPT_RT kernels because the memory allocator is
fully preemptible and therefore cannot be invoked from truly atomic
contexts.  However, it is perfectly fine to invoke the memory allocator
while holding normal non-raw spinlocks because they do not disable
preemption on PREEMPT_RT kernels::

  spin_lock(&lock);
  p = kmalloc(sizeof(*p), GFP_ATOMIC);


bit spinlocks
-------------

PREEMPT_RT cannot substitute bit spinlocks because a single bit is too
small to accommodate an RT-mutex.  Therefore, the semantics of bit
spinlocks are preserved on PREEMPT_RT kernels, so that the raw_spinlock_t
caveats also apply to bit spinlocks.

Some bit spinlocks are replaced with regular spinlock_t for PREEMPT_RT
using conditional (#ifdef'ed) code changes at the usage site.  In contrast,
usage-site changes are not needed for the spinlock_t substitution.
Instead, conditionals in header files and the core locking implemementation
enable the compiler to do the substitution transparently.


Lock type nesting rules
=======================

The most basic rules are:

  - Lock types of the same lock category (sleeping, CPU local, spinning)
    can nest arbitrarily as long as they respect the general lock ordering
    rules to prevent deadlocks.

  - Sleeping lock types cannot nest inside CPU local and spinning lock types.

  - CPU local and spinning lock types can nest inside sleeping lock types.

  - Spinning lock types can nest inside all lock types

These constraints apply both in PREEMPT_RT and otherwise.

The fact that PREEMPT_RT changes the lock category of spinlock_t and
rwlock_t from spinning to sleeping and substitutes local_lock with a
per-CPU spinlock_t means that they cannot be acquired while holding a raw
spinlock.  This results in the following nesting ordering:

  1) Sleeping locks
  2) spinlock_t, rwlock_t, local_lock
  3) raw_spinlock_t and bit spinlocks

Lockdep will complain if these constraints are violated, both in
PREEMPT_RT and otherwise.