Re: [beta patch] SSE copy_page() / clear_page()

From: Manfred Spraul (
Date: Sat Feb 10 2001 - 13:00:34 EST

Doug Ledford wrote:
> It's not whether or not your particular code does it. It's whether or not it
> can happen in the framework within which you are using the FPU regs. No, with
> just copy/clear page using these things it won't happen. But if you add an
> SSE zero page function, who's to say that we shouldn't add a memset routine,
> or a copy_*_user routines, or copy_csum* routines that also use the SSE regs?
> And once you add those various routines, are they all going to be safe with
> respect to each other (the tricky one's here are if you add the copy_*_user
> stuff since they can pagefault in the middle of the operation)?

copy_*_user is probably not worth the effort for a Pentium III, but even
for that function I don't see a problem with SSE, as long as
* the clobbered registers are stored on the stack (and not in
* the SSE/SSE2 instructions can't cause SIMD exceptions.
* noone saves the fpu state into thread.i387.fxsave from interrupts /
softirq's. Currently it's impossible, but I haven't checked Montavista's
preemptive kernel scheduler.

> So, that's the policy decision that
> needs to be made (and Linus typically has made it very difficult to get this
> stuff accepted into the kernel, which is an implicit statement of that policy)
> before a person can decide if your patch is sufficient, or if it needs
> additional protection from other possible SSE/MMX using routines.

The policy decision was already done: someone added SSE support for
raid5 xor - and that's part of 2.4.1, whereas I proposed a beta patch.

Now back to raid5: in which context are the xor functions called?

If they are called from irq or softirq context then the MMX
implementation would contain a bug:
#define FPU_SAVE
  do {
        if (!(current->flags & PF_USEDFPU))
                __asm__ __volatile__ (" clts;\n");
        __asm__ __volatile__ ("fsave %0; fwait": "=m"(fpu_save[0]));
  } while (0)
FP_USEDFPU is not atomically following the bit in %%cr0.

The SSE code is not affected: it relies on %%cr0 and doesn't use

OTHO if they are called from process context then these functions might
cause bugs with Montavista's preemptive kernel scheduling: what if the
scheduler is called in the middle of a raid checksum?


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