2# Copyright (c) 2006 Steven Rostedt
3# Licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
6RT-mutex implementation design
9This document tries to describe the design of the rtmutex.c implementation.
10It doesn't describe the reasons why rtmutex.c exists. For that please see
11Documentation/rt-mutex.txt. Although this document does explain problems
12that happen without this code, but that is in the concept to understand
13what the code actually is doing.
15The goal of this document is to help others understand the priority
16inheritance (PI) algorithm that is used, as well as reasons for the
17decisions that were made to implement PI in the manner that was done.
20Unbounded Priority Inversion
23Priority inversion is when a lower priority process executes while a higher
24priority process wants to run. This happens for several reasons, and
25most of the time it can't be helped. Anytime a high priority process wants
26to use a resource that a lower priority process has (a mutex for example),
27the high priority process must wait until the lower priority process is done
28with the resource. This is a priority inversion. What we want to prevent
29is something called unbounded priority inversion. That is when the high
30priority process is prevented from running by a lower priority process for
31an undetermined amount of time.
33The classic example of unbounded priority inversion is were you have three
34processes, let's call them processes A, B, and C, where A is the highest
35priority process, C is the lowest, and B is in between. A tries to grab a lock
36that C owns and must wait and lets C run to release the lock. But in the
37meantime, B executes, and since B is of a higher priority than C, it preempts C,
38but by doing so, it is in fact preempting A which is a higher priority process.
39Now there's no way of knowing how long A will be sleeping waiting for C
40to release the lock, because for all we know, B is a CPU hog and will
41never give C a chance to release the lock. This is called unbounded priority
44Here's a little ASCII art to show the problem.
46   grab lock L1 (owned by C)
47     |
48A ---+
49        C preempted by B
50          |
51C +----+
53B +-------->
54                B now keeps A from running.
57Priority Inheritance (PI)
60There are several ways to solve this issue, but other ways are out of scope
61for this document. Here we only discuss PI.
63PI is where a process inherits the priority of another process if the other
64process blocks on a lock owned by the current process. To make this easier
65to understand, let's use the previous example, with processes A, B, and C again.
67This time, when A blocks on the lock owned by C, C would inherit the priority
68of A. So now if B becomes runnable, it would not preempt C, since C now has
69the high priority of A. As soon as C releases the lock, it loses its
70inherited priority, and A then can continue with the resource that C had.
75Here I explain some terminology that is used in this document to help describe
76the design that is used to implement PI.
78PI chain - The PI chain is an ordered series of locks and processes that cause
79           processes to inherit priorities from a previous process that is
80           blocked on one of its locks. This is described in more detail
81           later in this document.
83mutex - In this document, to differentiate from locks that implement
84           PI and spin locks that are used in the PI code, from now on
85           the PI locks will be called a mutex.
87lock - In this document from now on, I will use the term lock when
88           referring to spin locks that are used to protect parts of the PI
89           algorithm. These locks disable preemption for UP (when
90           CONFIG_PREEMPT is enabled) and on SMP prevents multiple CPUs from
91           entering critical sections simultaneously.
93spin lock - Same as lock above.
95waiter - A waiter is a struct that is stored on the stack of a blocked
96           process. Since the scope of the waiter is within the code for
97           a process being blocked on the mutex, it is fine to allocate
98           the waiter on the process's stack (local variable). This
99           structure holds a pointer to the task, as well as the mutex that
100           the task is blocked on. It also has the plist node structures to
101           place the task in the waiter_list of a mutex as well as the
102           pi_list of a mutex owner task (described below).
104           waiter is sometimes used in reference to the task that is waiting
105           on a mutex. This is the same as waiter->task.
107waiters - A list of processes that are blocked on a mutex.
109top waiter - The highest priority process waiting on a specific mutex.
111top pi waiter - The highest priority process waiting on one of the mutexes
112                that a specific process owns.
114Note: task and process are used interchangeably in this document, mostly to
115       differentiate between two processes that are being described together.
118PI chain
121The PI chain is a list of processes and mutexes that may cause priority
122inheritance to take place. Multiple chains may converge, but a chain
123would never diverge, since a process can't be blocked on more than one
124mutex at a time.
128   Process: A, B, C, D, E
129   Mutexes: L1, L2, L3, L4
131   A owns: L1
132           B blocked on L1
133           B owns L2
134                  C blocked on L2
135                  C owns L3
136                         D blocked on L3
137                         D owns L4
138                                E blocked on L4
140The chain would be:
142   E->L4->D->L3->C->L2->B->L1->A
144To show where two chains merge, we could add another process F and
145another mutex L5 where B owns L5 and F is blocked on mutex L5.
147The chain for F would be:
149   F->L5->B->L1->A
151Since a process may own more than one mutex, but never be blocked on more than
152one, the chains merge.
154Here we show both chains:
156   E->L4->D->L3->C->L2-+
157                       |
158                       +->B->L1->A
159                       |
160                 F->L5-+
162For PI to work, the processes at the right end of these chains (or we may
163also call it the Top of the chain) must be equal to or higher in priority
164than the processes to the left or below in the chain.
166Also since a mutex may have more than one process blocked on it, we can
167have multiple chains merge at mutexes. If we add another process G that is
168blocked on mutex L2:
170  G->L2->B->L1->A
172And once again, to show how this can grow I will show the merging chains
175   E->L4->D->L3->C-+
176                   +->L2-+
177                   | |
178                 G-+ +->B->L1->A
179                         |
180                   F->L5-+
186Before I go further and talk about how the PI chain is stored through lists
187on both mutexes and processes, I'll explain the plist. This is similar to
188the struct list_head functionality that is already in the kernel.
189The implementation of plist is out of scope for this document, but it is
190very important to understand what it does.
192There are a few differences between plist and list, the most important one
193being that plist is a priority sorted linked list. This means that the
194priorities of the plist are sorted, such that it takes O(1) to retrieve the
195highest priority item in the list. Obviously this is useful to store processes
196based on their priorities.
198Another difference, which is important for implementation, is that, unlike
199list, the head of the list is a different element than the nodes of a list.
200So the head of the list is declared as struct plist_head and nodes that will
201be added to the list are declared as struct plist_node.
204Mutex Waiter List
207Every mutex keeps track of all the waiters that are blocked on itself. The mutex
208has a plist to store these waiters by priority. This list is protected by
209a spin lock that is located in the struct of the mutex. This lock is called
210wait_lock. Since the modification of the waiter list is never done in
211interrupt context, the wait_lock can be taken without disabling interrupts.
214Task PI List
217To keep track of the PI chains, each process has its own PI list. This is
218a list of all top waiters of the mutexes that are owned by the process.
219Note that this list only holds the top waiters and not all waiters that are
220blocked on mutexes owned by the process.
222The top of the task's PI list is always the highest priority task that
223is waiting on a mutex that is owned by the task. So if the task has
224inherited a priority, it will always be the priority of the task that is
225at the top of this list.
227This list is stored in the task structure of a process as a plist called
228pi_list. This list is protected by a spin lock also in the task structure,
229called pi_lock. This lock may also be taken in interrupt context, so when
230locking the pi_lock, interrupts must be disabled.
233Depth of the PI Chain
236The maximum depth of the PI chain is not dynamic, and could actually be
237defined. But is very complex to figure it out, since it depends on all
238the nesting of mutexes. Let's look at the example where we have 3 mutexes,
239L1, L2, and L3, and four separate functions func1, func2, func3 and func4.
240The following shows a locking order of L1->L2->L3, but may not actually
241be directly nested that way.
243void func1(void)
245    mutex_lock(L1);
247    /* do anything */
249    mutex_unlock(L1);
252void func2(void)
254    mutex_lock(L1);
255    mutex_lock(L2);
257    /* do something */
259    mutex_unlock(L2);
260    mutex_unlock(L1);
263void func3(void)
265    mutex_lock(L2);
266    mutex_lock(L3);
268    /* do something else */
270    mutex_unlock(L3);
271    mutex_unlock(L2);
274void func4(void)
276    mutex_lock(L3);
278    /* do something again */
280    mutex_unlock(L3);
283Now we add 4 processes that run each of these functions separately.
284Processes A, B, C, and D which run functions func1, func2, func3 and func4
285respectively, and such that D runs first and A last. With D being preempted
286in func4 in the "do something again" area, we have a locking that follows:
288D owns L3
289       C blocked on L3
290       C owns L2
291              B blocked on L2
292              B owns L1
293                     A blocked on L1
295And thus we have the chain A->L1->B->L2->C->L3->D.
297This gives us a PI depth of 4 (four processes), but looking at any of the
298functions individually, it seems as though they only have at most a locking
299depth of two. So, although the locking depth is defined at compile time,
300it still is very difficult to find the possibilities of that depth.
302Now since mutexes can be defined by user-land applications, we don't want a DOS
303type of application that nests large amounts of mutexes to create a large
304PI chain, and have the code holding spin locks while looking at a large
305amount of data. So to prevent this, the implementation not only implements
306a maximum lock depth, but also only holds at most two different locks at a
307time, as it walks the PI chain. More about this below.
310Mutex owner and flags
313The mutex structure contains a pointer to the owner of the mutex. If the
314mutex is not owned, this owner is set to NULL. Since all architectures
315have the task structure on at least a four byte alignment (and if this is
316not true, the rtmutex.c code will be broken!), this allows for the two
317least significant bits to be used as flags. This part is also described
318in Documentation/rt-mutex.txt, but will also be briefly described here.
320Bit 0 is used as the "Pending Owner" flag. This is described later.
321Bit 1 is used as the "Has Waiters" flags. This is also described later
322  in more detail, but is set whenever there are waiters on a mutex.
325cmpxchg Tricks
328Some architectures implement an atomic cmpxchg (Compare and Exchange). This
329is used (when applicable) to keep the fast path of grabbing and releasing
330mutexes short.
332cmpxchg is basically the following function performed atomically:
334unsigned long _cmpxchg(unsigned long *A, unsigned long *B, unsigned long *C)
336    unsigned long T = *A;
337    if (*A == *B) {
338        *A = *C;
339    }
340    return T;
342#define cmpxchg(a,b,c) _cmpxchg(&a,&b,&c)
344This is really nice to have, since it allows you to only update a variable
345if the variable is what you expect it to be. You know if it succeeded if
346the return value (the old value of A) is equal to B.
348The macro rt_mutex_cmpxchg is used to try to lock and unlock mutexes. If
349the architecture does not support CMPXCHG, then this macro is simply set
350to fail every time. But if CMPXCHG is supported, then this will
351help out extremely to keep the fast path short.
353The use of rt_mutex_cmpxchg with the flags in the owner field help optimize
354the system for architectures that support it. This will also be explained
355later in this document.
358Priority adjustments
361The implementation of the PI code in rtmutex.c has several places that a
362process must adjust its priority. With the help of the pi_list of a
363process this is rather easy to know what needs to be adjusted.
365The functions implementing the task adjustments are rt_mutex_adjust_prio,
366__rt_mutex_adjust_prio (same as the former, but expects the task pi_lock
367to already be taken), rt_mutex_get_prio, and rt_mutex_setprio.
369rt_mutex_getprio and rt_mutex_setprio are only used in __rt_mutex_adjust_prio.
371rt_mutex_getprio returns the priority that the task should have. Either the
372task's own normal priority, or if a process of a higher priority is waiting on
373a mutex owned by the task, then that higher priority should be returned.
374Since the pi_list of a task holds an order by priority list of all the top
375waiters of all the mutexes that the task owns, rt_mutex_getprio simply needs
376to compare the top pi waiter to its own normal priority, and return the higher
377priority back.
379(Note: if looking at the code, you will notice that the lower number of
380        prio is returned. This is because the prio field in the task structure
381        is an inverse order of the actual priority. So a "prio" of 5 is
382        of higher priority than a "prio" of 10.)
384__rt_mutex_adjust_prio examines the result of rt_mutex_getprio, and if the
385result does not equal the task's current priority, then rt_mutex_setprio
386is called to adjust the priority of the task to the new priority.
387Note that rt_mutex_setprio is defined in kernel/sched.c to implement the
388actual change in priority.
390It is interesting to note that __rt_mutex_adjust_prio can either increase
391or decrease the priority of the task. In the case that a higher priority
392process has just blocked on a mutex owned by the task, __rt_mutex_adjust_prio
393would increase/boost the task's priority. But if a higher priority task
394were for some reason to leave the mutex (timeout or signal), this same function
395would decrease/unboost the priority of the task. That is because the pi_list
396always contains the highest priority task that is waiting on a mutex owned
397by the task, so we only need to compare the priority of that top pi waiter
398to the normal priority of the given task.
401High level overview of the PI chain walk
404The PI chain walk is implemented by the function rt_mutex_adjust_prio_chain.
406The implementation has gone through several iterations, and has ended up
407with what we believe is the best. It walks the PI chain by only grabbing
408at most two locks at a time, and is very efficient.
410The rt_mutex_adjust_prio_chain can be used either to boost or lower process
413rt_mutex_adjust_prio_chain is called with a task to be checked for PI
414(de)boosting (the owner of a mutex that a process is blocking on), a flag to
415check for deadlocking, the mutex that the task owns, and a pointer to a waiter
416that is the process's waiter struct that is blocked on the mutex (although this
417parameter may be NULL for deboosting).
419For this explanation, I will not mention deadlock detection. This explanation
420will try to stay at a high level.
422When this function is called, there are no locks held. That also means
423that the state of the owner and lock can change when entered into this function.
425Before this function is called, the task has already had rt_mutex_adjust_prio
426performed on it. This means that the task is set to the priority that it
427should be at, but the plist nodes of the task's waiter have not been updated
428with the new priorities, and that this task may not be in the proper locations
429in the pi_lists and wait_lists that the task is blocked on. This function
430solves all that.
432A loop is entered, where task is the owner to be checked for PI changes that
433was passed by parameter (for the first iteration). The pi_lock of this task is
434taken to prevent any more changes to the pi_list of the task. This also
435prevents new tasks from completing the blocking on a mutex that is owned by this
438If the task is not blocked on a mutex then the loop is exited. We are at
439the top of the PI chain.
441A check is now done to see if the original waiter (the process that is blocked
442on the current mutex) is the top pi waiter of the task. That is, is this
443waiter on the top of the task's pi_list. If it is not, it either means that
444there is another process higher in priority that is blocked on one of the
445mutexes that the task owns, or that the waiter has just woken up via a signal
446or timeout and has left the PI chain. In either case, the loop is exited, since
447we don't need to do any more changes to the priority of the current task, or any
448task that owns a mutex that this current task is waiting on. A priority chain
449walk is only needed when a new top pi waiter is made to a task.
451The next check sees if the task's waiter plist node has the priority equal to
452the priority the task is set at. If they are equal, then we are done with
453the loop. Remember that the function started with the priority of the
454task adjusted, but the plist nodes that hold the task in other processes
455pi_lists have not been adjusted.
457Next, we look at the mutex that the task is blocked on. The mutex's wait_lock
458is taken. This is done by a spin_trylock, because the locking order of the
459pi_lock and wait_lock goes in the opposite direction. If we fail to grab the
460lock, the pi_lock is released, and we restart the loop.
462Now that we have both the pi_lock of the task as well as the wait_lock of
463the mutex the task is blocked on, we update the task's waiter's plist node
464that is located on the mutex's wait_list.
466Now we release the pi_lock of the task.
468Next the owner of the mutex has its pi_lock taken, so we can update the
469task's entry in the owner's pi_list. If the task is the highest priority
470process on the mutex's wait_list, then we remove the previous top waiter
471from the owner's pi_list, and replace it with the task.
473Note: It is possible that the task was the current top waiter on the mutex,
474      in which case the task is not yet on the pi_list of the waiter. This
475      is OK, since plist_del does nothing if the plist node is not on any
476      list.
478If the task was not the top waiter of the mutex, but it was before we
479did the priority updates, that means we are deboosting/lowering the
480task. In this case, the task is removed from the pi_list of the owner,
481and the new top waiter is added.
483Lastly, we unlock both the pi_lock of the task, as well as the mutex's
484wait_lock, and continue the loop again. On the next iteration of the
485loop, the previous owner of the mutex will be the task that will be
488Note: One might think that the owner of this mutex might have changed
489      since we just grab the mutex's wait_lock. And one could be right.
490      The important thing to remember is that the owner could not have
491      become the task that is being processed in the PI chain, since
492      we have taken that task's pi_lock at the beginning of the loop.
493      So as long as there is an owner of this mutex that is not the same
494      process as the tasked being worked on, we are OK.
496      Looking closely at the code, one might be confused. The check for the
497      end of the PI chain is when the task isn't blocked on anything or the
498      task's waiter structure "task" element is NULL. This check is
499      protected only by the task's pi_lock. But the code to unlock the mutex
500      sets the task's waiter structure "task" element to NULL with only
501      the protection of the mutex's wait_lock, which was not taken yet.
502      Isn't this a race condition if the task becomes the new owner?
504      The answer is No! The trick is the spin_trylock of the mutex's
505      wait_lock. If we fail that lock, we release the pi_lock of the
506      task and continue the loop, doing the end of PI chain check again.
508      In the code to release the lock, the wait_lock of the mutex is held
509      the entire time, and it is not let go when we grab the pi_lock of the
510      new owner of the mutex. So if the switch of a new owner were to happen
511      after the check for end of the PI chain and the grabbing of the
512      wait_lock, the unlocking code would spin on the new owner's pi_lock
513      but never give up the wait_lock. So the PI chain loop is guaranteed to
514      fail the spin_trylock on the wait_lock, release the pi_lock, and
515      try again.
517      If you don't quite understand the above, that's OK. You don't have to,
518      unless you really want to make a proof out of it ;)
521Pending Owners and Lock stealing
524One of the flags in the owner field of the mutex structure is "Pending Owner".
525What this means is that an owner was chosen by the process releasing the
526mutex, but that owner has yet to wake up and actually take the mutex.
528Why is this important? Why can't we just give the mutex to another process
529and be done with it?
531The PI code is to help with real-time processes, and to let the highest
532priority process run as long as possible with little latencies and delays.
533If a high priority process owns a mutex that a lower priority process is
534blocked on, when the mutex is released it would be given to the lower priority
535process. What if the higher priority process wants to take that mutex again.
536The high priority process would fail to take that mutex that it just gave up
537and it would need to boost the lower priority process to run with full
538latency of that critical section (since the low priority process just entered
541There's no reason a high priority process that gives up a mutex should be
542penalized if it tries to take that mutex again. If the new owner of the
543mutex has not woken up yet, there's no reason that the higher priority process
544could not take that mutex away.
546To solve this, we introduced Pending Ownership and Lock Stealing. When a
547new process is given a mutex that it was blocked on, it is only given
548pending ownership. This means that it's the new owner, unless a higher
549priority process comes in and tries to grab that mutex. If a higher priority
550process does come along and wants that mutex, we let the higher priority
551process "steal" the mutex from the pending owner (only if it is still pending)
552and continue with the mutex.
555Taking of a mutex (The walk through)
558OK, now let's take a look at the detailed walk through of what happens when
559taking a mutex.
561The first thing that is tried is the fast taking of the mutex. This is
562done when we have CMPXCHG enabled (otherwise the fast taking automatically
563fails). Only when the owner field of the mutex is NULL can the lock be
564taken with the CMPXCHG and nothing else needs to be done.
566If there is contention on the lock, whether it is owned or pending owner
567we go about the slow path (rt_mutex_slowlock).
569The slow path function is where the task's waiter structure is created on
570the stack. This is because the waiter structure is only needed for the
571scope of this function. The waiter structure holds the nodes to store
572the task on the wait_list of the mutex, and if need be, the pi_list of
573the owner.
575The wait_lock of the mutex is taken since the slow path of unlocking the
576mutex also takes this lock.
578We then call try_to_take_rt_mutex. This is where the architecture that
579does not implement CMPXCHG would always grab the lock (if there's no
582try_to_take_rt_mutex is used every time the task tries to grab a mutex in the
583slow path. The first thing that is done here is an atomic setting of
584the "Has Waiters" flag of the mutex's owner field. Yes, this could really
585be false, because if the mutex has no owner, there are no waiters and
586the current task also won't have any waiters. But we don't have the lock
587yet, so we assume we are going to be a waiter. The reason for this is to
588play nice for those architectures that do have CMPXCHG. By setting this flag
589now, the owner of the mutex can't release the mutex without going into the
590slow unlock path, and it would then need to grab the wait_lock, which this
591code currently holds. So setting the "Has Waiters" flag forces the owner
592to synchronize with this code.
594Now that we know that we can't have any races with the owner releasing the
595mutex, we check to see if we can take the ownership. This is done if the
596mutex doesn't have a owner, or if we can steal the mutex from a pending
597owner. Let's look at the situations we have here.
599  1) Has owner that is pending
600  ----------------------------
602  The mutex has a owner, but it hasn't woken up and the mutex flag
603  "Pending Owner" is set. The first check is to see if the owner isn't the
604  current task. This is because this function is also used for the pending
605  owner to grab the mutex. When a pending owner wakes up, it checks to see
606  if it can take the mutex, and this is done if the owner is already set to
607  itself. If so, we succeed and leave the function, clearing the "Pending
608  Owner" bit.
610  If the pending owner is not current, we check to see if the current priority is
611  higher than the pending owner. If not, we fail the function and return.
613  There's also something special about a pending owner. That is a pending owner
614  is never blocked on a mutex. So there is no PI chain to worry about. It also
615  means that if the mutex doesn't have any waiters, there's no accounting needed
616  to update the pending owner's pi_list, since we only worry about processes
617  blocked on the current mutex.
619  If there are waiters on this mutex, and we just stole the ownership, we need
620  to take the top waiter, remove it from the pi_list of the pending owner, and
621  add it to the current pi_list. Note that at this moment, the pending owner
622  is no longer on the list of waiters. This is fine, since the pending owner
623  would add itself back when it realizes that it had the ownership stolen
624  from itself. When the pending owner tries to grab the mutex, it will fail
625  in try_to_take_rt_mutex if the owner field points to another process.
627  2) No owner
628  -----------
630  If there is no owner (or we successfully stole the lock), we set the owner
631  of the mutex to current, and set the flag of "Has Waiters" if the current
632  mutex actually has waiters, or we clear the flag if it doesn't. See, it was
633  OK that we set that flag early, since now it is cleared.
635  3) Failed to grab ownership
636  ---------------------------
638  The most interesting case is when we fail to take ownership. This means that
639  there exists an owner, or there's a pending owner with equal or higher
640  priority than the current task.
642We'll continue on the failed case.
644If the mutex has a timeout, we set up a timer to go off to break us out
645of this mutex if we failed to get it after a specified amount of time.
647Now we enter a loop that will continue to try to take ownership of the mutex, or
648fail from a timeout or signal.
650Once again we try to take the mutex. This will usually fail the first time
651in the loop, since it had just failed to get the mutex. But the second time
652in the loop, this would likely succeed, since the task would likely be
653the pending owner.
655If the mutex is TASK_INTERRUPTIBLE a check for signals and timeout is done
658The waiter structure has a "task" field that points to the task that is blocked
659on the mutex. This field can be NULL the first time it goes through the loop
660or if the task is a pending owner and had it's mutex stolen. If the "task"
661field is NULL then we need to set up the accounting for it.
663Task blocks on mutex
666The accounting of a mutex and process is done with the waiter structure of
667the process. The "task" field is set to the process, and the "lock" field
668to the mutex. The plist nodes are initialized to the processes current
671Since the wait_lock was taken at the entry of the slow lock, we can safely
672add the waiter to the wait_list. If the current process is the highest
673priority process currently waiting on this mutex, then we remove the
674previous top waiter process (if it exists) from the pi_list of the owner,
675and add the current process to that list. Since the pi_list of the owner
676has changed, we call rt_mutex_adjust_prio on the owner to see if the owner
677should adjust its priority accordingly.
679If the owner is also blocked on a lock, and had its pi_list changed
680(or deadlock checking is on), we unlock the wait_lock of the mutex and go ahead
681and run rt_mutex_adjust_prio_chain on the owner, as described earlier.
683Now all locks are released, and if the current process is still blocked on a
684mutex (waiter "task" field is not NULL), then we go to sleep (call schedule).
686Waking up in the loop
689The schedule can then wake up for a few reasons.
690  1) we were given pending ownership of the mutex.
691  2) we received a signal and was TASK_INTERRUPTIBLE
692  3) we had a timeout and was TASK_INTERRUPTIBLE
694In any of these cases, we continue the loop and once again try to grab the
695ownership of the mutex. If we succeed, we exit the loop, otherwise we continue
696and on signal and timeout, will exit the loop, or if we had the mutex stolen
697we just simply add ourselves back on the lists and go back to sleep.
699Note: For various reasons, because of timeout and signals, the steal mutex
700      algorithm needs to be careful. This is because the current process is
701      still on the wait_list. And because of dynamic changing of priorities,
702      especially on SCHED_OTHER tasks, the current process can be the
703      highest priority task on the wait_list.
705Failed to get mutex on Timeout or Signal
708If a timeout or signal occurred, the waiter's "task" field would not be
709NULL and the task needs to be taken off the wait_list of the mutex and perhaps
710pi_list of the owner. If this process was a high priority process, then
711the rt_mutex_adjust_prio_chain needs to be executed again on the owner,
712but this time it will be lowering the priorities.
715Unlocking the Mutex
718The unlocking of a mutex also has a fast path for those architectures with
719CMPXCHG. Since the taking of a mutex on contention always sets the
720"Has Waiters" flag of the mutex's owner, we use this to know if we need to
721take the slow path when unlocking the mutex. If the mutex doesn't have any
722waiters, the owner field of the mutex would equal the current process and
723the mutex can be unlocked by just replacing the owner field with NULL.
725If the owner field has the "Has Waiters" bit set (or CMPXCHG is not available),
726the slow unlock path is taken.
728The first thing done in the slow unlock path is to take the wait_lock of the
729mutex. This synchronizes the locking and unlocking of the mutex.
731A check is made to see if the mutex has waiters or not. On architectures that
732do not have CMPXCHG, this is the location that the owner of the mutex will
733determine if a waiter needs to be awoken or not. On architectures that
734do have CMPXCHG, that check is done in the fast path, but it is still needed
735in the slow path too. If a waiter of a mutex woke up because of a signal
736or timeout between the time the owner failed the fast path CMPXCHG check and
737the grabbing of the wait_lock, the mutex may not have any waiters, thus the
738owner still needs to make this check. If there are no waiters then the mutex
739owner field is set to NULL, the wait_lock is released and nothing more is
742If there are waiters, then we need to wake one up and give that waiter
743pending ownership.
745On the wake up code, the pi_lock of the current owner is taken. The top
746waiter of the lock is found and removed from the wait_list of the mutex
747as well as the pi_list of the current owner. The task field of the new
748pending owner's waiter structure is set to NULL, and the owner field of the
749mutex is set to the new owner with the "Pending Owner" bit set, as well
750as the "Has Waiters" bit if there still are other processes blocked on the
753The pi_lock of the previous owner is released, and the new pending owner's
754pi_lock is taken. Remember that this is the trick to prevent the race
755condition in rt_mutex_adjust_prio_chain from adding itself as a waiter
756on the mutex.
758We now clear the "pi_blocked_on" field of the new pending owner, and if
759the mutex still has waiters pending, we add the new top waiter to the pi_list
760of the pending owner.
762Finally we unlock the pi_lock of the pending owner and wake it up.
768For updates on this document, please email Steven Rostedt <>
774Author: Steven Rostedt <>
776Reviewers: Ingo Molnar, Thomas Gleixner, Thomas Duetsch, and Randy Dunlap
781This document was originally written for 2.6.17-rc3-mm1

Archive Download this file