Deadlocks in libpager/periodic sync have been found.

gnumach page cache policy

IRC, freenode, #hurd, 2012-07-12

<braunr> ah great, a paper about the mach pageout daemon !
<mcsim> braunr: Where is paper about the mach pageout daemon?
<braunr> might give us a clue about the swap deadlock (although i still
  have a few ideas to check)
<braunr> we should more seriously consider sergio's advisory pageout branch
  some day
<braunr> i'll try to get in touch with him about that before he completely
  looses interest
<braunr> i'll include it in my "make that page cache as decent as possible"
<braunr> many of his comments match what i've seen
<braunr> and we both did a few optimizations the same way
<braunr> (like not deactivating pages when they enter the cache)

IRC, freenode, #hurd, 2012-07-13

<braunr> antrik: i'm able to consistently reproduce the swap deadlocks you
  regularly had when using apt with my page cache patch
<braunr> it happens when lots of dirty pages are write back to their pagers
<braunr> so apt, or a big file copy or anything that writes several MiB
  very quickly is a good candidate
<braunr> written*
<antrik> braunr: nice...
<braunr> antrik: well in a way, yes, as it will allow us to track it more

IRC, freenode, #hurd, 2012-07-15

<braunr> oh btw, i think i can say with confidence that the hurd *doesn't*
<braunr> (at least, concerning swapping)
<braunr> lol, one of my hurd systems has been hitting the "swap deadlock"
  for more than an hour, and suddenly got out of it
<braunr> something is really wrong in the pageout daemon, but it's not a
<youpi> a livelock then
<braunr> do you get out of livelocks ?
<braunr> i mean, it's not even a "lock"
<braunr> just a big damn tricky slowdown 
<youpi> yes, you can, by giving a few more resources for instance
<youpi> depends on the kind of livelock of course
<braunr> i think it's that
<braunr> the pageout daemon clearly throttles itself, waiting for pagers to
<braunr> and another dangerous thing is the line in vm_resident, which only
  wakes on thread to avoid starvation
<braunr> hum, during the livelock, the kernel spends much time waiting in
<braunr> could be a bad stack
<braunr> so, the pageout daemon seems to slow itself as much as waiting
  several seconds between each iteration when under load
<braunr> but each iteration possibly removes clean pages
<braunr> so at some point, there is enough memory to unblock waiting pagers
<braunr> for now i'll try a simple solution, like limiting the pausing
<braunr> but we'll need more page lists in the future (inactive-clean,
  inactive-dirty, etc..)
<braunr> limiting the amount of dirty pages is the only way to really make
  it safe actually
<braunr> wow, the pageout loop is still running even after many pages were
  freed, and it unable to free more pages
<braunr> i think i have an idea about the livelock
<braunr> i think it comes from the periodic syncing
<bddebian> Too often?
<braunr> that's not the problem
<braunr> the problem is that it can happen at the same time with paging
<bddebian> Oh
<braunr> if paging gets slow, it won't stop the periodic syncing
<braunr> which will grab any page it can as soon as some are free
<braunr> but then, before it even finishes, another sync may occur
<braunr> i have yet to check that it is possible
<braunr> and i don't understand why syncing isn't done by the kernel
<braunr> the kernel is supposed to handle the paging policy
<braunr> and it would make paging really scale
<bddebian> It's done on the Hurd side?
<braunr> (instead of having external pagers make one request for each
  object, even if they're clean)
<braunr> yes
<bddebian> Hmm, interesting
<braunr> ofc, with ext2fs --debug, i can't reproduce anything
<bddebian> Ugh
<braunr> sync are serialized
<braunr> grmbl
<braunr> there is a big lock taken at sync time though
<braunr> uhg

IRC, freenode, #hurd, 2012-07-16

<braunr> all right so, there *is* a deadlock, and it may be due to the
  default pager actually
<braunr> the vm_page_laundry_count doesn't decrease at some point, even
  when there are more than enough free pages
<braunr> antrik: the thing is, i think the deadlock concerns the default
<antrik> the deadlock?
<braunr> yes
<braunr> when swapping

IRC, freenode, #hurd, 2012-07-17

<braunr> i can't even reproduce the swap deadlock when using upstrea ext2fs
<braunr> upstream*

IRC, freenode, #hurd, 2012-07-19

<braunr> the libpager deadlock patch looks wrong to me
<braunr> hm no, the libpager patch is ok acually

synchronous ipc

IRC, freenode, #hurd, 2012-07-20

<braunr> but actually after reviewing more, the debian patch for this
  particular issue seems correct
<antrik> well, it's most probably done by youpi, so I would be shocked if
  it wasn't correct... ;-)
<braunr> he wasn't sure at all about it
<antrik> still ;-)
<braunr> :)
<antrik> well, if you also think it's correct, I guess it's time to push it

IRC, freenode, #hurd, 2012-07-23

<braunr> i still can't conclude if we have any pageout deadlock, or if it's
  simply a side effect of the active and inactive lists getting very very
<braunr> but almost every time this issue happens, it somehow recovers,
  sometimes hours later

See Also