Re: user-mode port 0.44-2.4.7

From: Davide Libenzi (
Date: Tue Jul 24 2001 - 10:41:34 EST

On 24-Jul-2001 Jonathan Lundell wrote:
> At 3:51 PM -0700 2001-07-23, Linus Torvalds wrote:
>>On Mon, 23 Jul 2001, Jonathan Lundell wrote:
>>> If jiffies were not volatile, this initializing assignment and the
>>> test at the end could be optimized away, leaving an unconditional
>>> "return 0". A lock is of no help.
>>We want optimization barriers, and there's an explicit "barrier()" thing
>>for Linux exactly for this reason.
>>For historical reasons "jiffies" is actually marked volatile, but at least
>>it has reasonably good semantics with a single-data item. Which is not to
>>say I like it. But grep for "barrier()" to see how many times we make this
>>explicit in the algorithms.
>>And really, THAT is my whole point. Notice in the previous mail how I used
>>"volatile" when it was part of the _algorithm_. You should not hide
>>algorithmic choices in your data structures. You should make them
>>explicit, so that when you read the code you _see_ what assumptions people
> OK, sure, that's fine. Better than barrier() in some respects, too.
> Namely, 1) volatile is portable C; barrier() isn't (not that that's
> much of an issue for compiling Linux), and 2) volatile can be
> specific to a variable, unlike the indiscriminate barrier(), which
> forces a reload of everything that might be cached (OK, not a big
> deal for IA32, but nontrivial for many-register architectures). One
> could imagine a more specific barrier(jiffies) syntax, I suppose, but
> the volatile cast is nice, restricting the effect not only to the
> single variable but to the single reference to a single variable.

One more thing, with volatile you specify it one time ( declaration time ),
while with barrier() you've to spread inside the code tons of such macro
everywhere you touch the variable.

- Davide

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