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From: "Pierre-Loup A. Griffais" <>
To: "Thomas Gleixner" <>,
	"Peter Zijlstra" <>,
	"André Almeida" <>
Cc: <>, <>,
	<>, <>,
	<>, <>,
	<>, <>, <>,
	<>, <>,
	<>, <>
Subject: Re: [PATCH v3 1/4] futex: Implement mechanism to wait on any of several futexes
Date: Mon, 2 Mar 2020 18:47:31 -0800	[thread overview]
Message-ID: <> (raw)
In-Reply-To: <>

On 2/29/20 2:27 AM, Thomas Gleixner wrote:
> "Pierre-Loup A. Griffais" <> writes:
>> On 2/28/20 1:25 PM, Thomas Gleixner wrote:
>>> Peter Zijlstra <> writes:
>>>> Thomas mentioned something like that, the problem is, ofcourse, that we
>>>> then want to fix a whole bunch of historical ills, and the probmem
>>>> becomes much bigger.
>>> We keep piling features on top of an interface and mechanism which is
>>> fragile as hell and horrible to maintain. Adding vectoring, multi size
>>> and whatever is not making it any better.
>>> There is also the long standing issue with NUMA, which we can't address
>>> with the current pile at all.
>>> So I'm really advocating that all involved parties sit down ASAP and
>>> hash out a new and less convoluted mechanism where all the magic new
>>> features can be addressed in a sane way so that the 'F' in Futex really
>>> only means Fast and not some other word starting with 'F'.
>> Are you specifically talking about the interface, or the mechanism
>> itself? Would you be OK with a new syscall that calls into the same code
>> as this patch? It does seem like that's what we want, so if we rewrote a
>> mechanism I'm not convinced it would come out any different. But, the
>> interface itself seems fair-game to rewrite, as the current futex
>> syscall is turning into an ioctl of sorts.
> No, you are misreading what I said. How does a new syscall make any
> difference? It still adds new crap to a maze which is already in a state
> of dubious maintainability.

I was just going by the context added by Peter, which seemed to imply 
your concerns were mostly around the interface, because I couldn't 
understand a clear course of action to follow just from your email. And 
frankly, still can't, but hopefully you can help us get there.

>> This solves a real problem with a real usecase; so I'd like to stay
>> practical and not go into deeper issues like solving NUMA support for
>> all of futex in the interest of users waiting at the other end. Can you
>> point us to your preferred approach just for the scope of what we're
>> trying to accomplish?
> If we go by the argument that something solves a real use case and take
> this as justification to proliferate existing crap, then we never get to
> the point where things get redesigned from ground up. Quite the
> contrary, we are going to duct tape it to death.
> It does not matter at all whether the syscall is multiplexing or split
> up into 5 different ones. That's a pure cosmetic exercise.
> While all the currently proposed extensions (multiple wait, variable
> size) make sense conceptually, I'm really uncomfortable to just cram
> them into the existing code. They create an ABI which we have to
> maintain forever.
>  From experience I just know that every time we extended the futex
> interface we opened another can of worms which hunted us for years if
> not for more then a decade. Guess who has to deal with that. Surely not
> the people who drive by and solve their real world usecases. Just go and
> read the changelog history of futexes very carefully and you might
> understand what kind of complex beasts they are.
> At some point we simply have to say stop, sit down and figure out which
> kind of functionality we really need in order to solve real world user
> space problems and which of the gazillion futex (mis)features are just
> there as historical ballast and do not have to be supported in a new
> implementation, REQUEUE is just the most obvious example.
> I completely understand that you want to stay practical and just want to
> solve your particular itch, but please understand that the people who
> have to deal with the fallout and have dealt with it for 15+ years have
> very practical reasons to say no.

Note that it would have been nice to get that high-level feedback on the 
first version; instead we just received back specific feedback on the 
implementation itself, and questions about usecase/motivation that we 
tried to address, but that didn't elicit any follow-ups.

Please bear with me for a second in case you thought you were obviously 
very clear about the path forward, but are you saying that:

  1. Our usecase is valid, but we're not correct about futex being the 
right fit for it, and we should design an implement a new primitive to 
handle it?

  2. Our usecase is valid, and our research showing that futex is the 
optimal right fit for it might be correct, but futex has to be 
significantly refactored before accepting this new feature. (or any new 

If it was 1., I think our new solution would either end up looking more 
or less exactly like futex, just with some of the more exotic 
functionality removed (although even that is arguable, since I wouldn't 
be surprised if we ended up using eg. requeue for some of the more 
complex migration scenarios). In which case I assume someone else would 
ask the question on why we're doing this new thing instead of adding to 
futex. OR, if intentionally made not futex-like, would end up not being 
optimal, which would make it not the right solution and a non-started to 
begin with. There's a reason we moved away from eventfd, even ignoring 
the fd exhaustion problem that some problematic apps fall victim to.

If it's 2., then we'd be hard-pressed to proceed forward without your 

Conceptually it seems like multiple wait is an important missing feature 
in futex compared to core threading primitives of other platforms. It 
isn't the first time that the lack of it has come up for us and other 
game developers. Due to futex being so central and important, I 
completely understand it is tricky to get right and might be hard to 
maintain if not done correctly. It seems worthwhile to undertake, at 
least from our limited perspective. We'd be glad to help upstream get 
there, if possible.

  - Pierre-Loup

> Thanks,
>          tglx

  reply	other threads:[~2020-03-03  2:56 UTC|newest]

Thread overview: 21+ messages / expand[flat|nested]  mbox.gz  Atom feed  top
2020-02-13 21:45 [PATCH v3 0/4] Implement FUTEX_WAIT_MULTIPLE operation André Almeida
2020-02-13 21:45 ` [PATCH v3 1/4] futex: Implement mechanism to wait on any of several futexes André Almeida
2020-02-28 19:07   ` Peter Zijlstra
2020-02-28 19:49     ` Peter Zijlstra
2020-02-28 21:25       ` Thomas Gleixner
2020-02-29  0:29         ` Pierre-Loup A. Griffais
2020-02-29 10:27           ` Thomas Gleixner
2020-03-03  2:47             ` Pierre-Loup A. Griffais [this message]
2020-03-03 12:00               ` 'simple' futex interface [Was: [PATCH v3 1/4] futex: Implement mechanism to wait on any of several futexes] Peter Zijlstra
2020-03-03 13:00                 ` Florian Weimer
2020-03-03 13:21                   ` Peter Zijlstra
2020-03-03 13:47                     ` Florian Weimer
2020-03-03 15:01                       ` Peter Zijlstra
2020-03-05 16:14                         ` André Almeida
2020-03-05 16:25                           ` Florian Weimer
2020-03-05 18:51                           ` Peter Zijlstra
2020-03-06 16:57                             ` David Laight
2020-02-13 21:45 ` [PATCH v3 2/4] selftests: futex: Add FUTEX_WAIT_MULTIPLE timeout test André Almeida
2020-02-13 21:45 ` [PATCH v3 3/4] selftests: futex: Add FUTEX_WAIT_MULTIPLE wouldblock test André Almeida
2020-02-13 21:45 ` [PATCH v3 4/4] selftests: futex: Add FUTEX_WAIT_MULTIPLE wake up test André Almeida
2020-02-19 16:27 ` [PATCH v3 0/4] Implement FUTEX_WAIT_MULTIPLE operation shuah

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