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[[!tag open_issue_gnumach open_issue_hurd]]
# IRC, freenode, #hurd, 2010
<slpz> humm... why does tmpfs try to use the default pager? that's a bad
idea, and probably will never work correctly...
* slpz is thinking about old issues
<slpz> tmpfs should create its own pagers, just like ext2fs, storeio...
<slpz> slopez@slp-hurd:~$ settrans -a tmp /hurd/tmpfs 10M
<slpz> slopez@slp-hurd:~$ echo "foo" > tmp/bar
<slpz> slopez@slp-hurd:~$ cat tmp/bar
<pochu> slpz: woo you fixed it?
<slpz> pochu: well, it's WIP, but reading/writing works...
<slpz> I've replaced the use of default pager for the standard pager
<antrik> slpz: err... how is it supposed to use swap space if not using the
<antrik> slpz: or do you mean that it should act as a proxy, just
allocating anonymous memory (backed by the default pager) itself?
<youpi> antrik: the kernel uses the default pager if the application pager
isn't responsive enough
<slpz> antrik: it will just create memory objects and provide zerofilled
pages when requested by the kernel (after a page fault)
<antrik> youpi: that makes sense I guess... but how is that relevant to the
question at hand?...
<slpz> antrik: memory objects will contain the data by themselves
<slpz> antrik: as youpi said, when memory is scarce, GNU Mach will start
paging out data from memory objects to the default pager
<slpz> antrik: that's the way in which pages will get into swap space
<slpz> (if needed)
<youpi> the thing being that the tmpfs pager has a chance to select pages
he doesn't care any more about
<antrik> slpz: well, the point is that instead of writing the pages to a
backing store, tmpfs will just keep them in anonymous memory, and let the
default pager write them out when there is pressure, right?
<antrik> youpi: no idea what you are talking about. apparently I still
don't really understand this stuff :-(
<youpi> ah, but tmpfs doesn't have pages he doesn't care about, does it?
<slpz> antrik: yes, but the term "anonymous memory" could be a bit
<slpz> antrik: in GNU Mach, anonymous memory is backed by a memory object
without a pager. In tmpfs, nodes will be allocated in memory objects, and
the pager for those memory objects will be tmpfs itself
<antrik> slpz: hm... I thought anynymous memory is backed by memory objects
created from the default pager?
<antrik> yes, I understand that tmpfs is supposed to be the pager for the
objects it provides. they are obviously not anonymoust -- they have
inodes in the tmpfs name space
<antrik> but my understanding so far was that when Mach returns pages to
the pager, they end up in anonymous memory allocated to the pager
process; and then this pager is responsible for writing them back to the
actual backing store
<antrik> am I totally off there?...
<antrik> (i.e. in my understanding the returned pages do not reside in the
actual memory object the pager provides, but in an anonymous memory
<slpz> antrik: you're right. The trick here is, when does Mach return the
<slpz> antrik: if we set the attribute "can_persist" in a memory object,
Mach will keep it until object cache is full or memory is scarce
<slpz> or we change the attributes so it can no longer persist, of course
<slpz> without a backing store, if Mach starts sending us pages to be
written, we're in trouble
<slpz> so we must do something about it. One option, could be creating
another pager and copying the contents between objects.
<antrik> another pager? not sure what you mean
<antrik> BTW, you didn't really say why we can't use the default pager for
tmpfs objects :-)
<slpz> well, there're two problems when using the default pager as backing
store for translators
<slpz> 1) Mach relies on it to do swapping tasks, so meddling with it is
not a good idea
<slpz> 2) There're problems with seqnos when trying to work with the
default pager from tasks other the kernel itself
<slpz> (probably, the latter could be fixed)
<slpz> antrik: pager's terminology is a bit confusing. One can also say
creating another memory object (though the function in libpager is
<antrik> not sure why "meddling" with it would be a problem...
<antrik> and yeah, I was vaguely aware that there is some seqno problem
with tmpfs... though so far I didn't really understand what it was about
<antrik> makes sense now
<antrik> anyways, AIUI now you are trying to come up with a mechanism where
the default pager is not used for tmpfs objects directly, but without
making it inefficient?
<antrik> slpz: still don't understand what you mean by creating another
<antrik> (and yeat, the terminology is pretty mixed up even in Mach itself)
<slpz> antrik: I meant creating another pager, in terms of calling again to
<antrik> slpz: well, I understand what "create another pager" means... I
just don't understand what this other pager would be, when you would
create it, and what for...
<slpz> antrik: oh, ok, sorry
<slpz> antrik: creating another pager it's just a trick to avoid losing
information when Mach's objects cache is full, and it decides to purge
one of our objects
<slpz> anyway, IMHO object caching mechanism is obsolete and should be
<slpz> I'm writting a comment to bug #28730 which says something about this
<slpz> antrik: just one more thing :-)
<slpz> if you look at the code, for most time of their lives, anonymous
memory objects don't have a pager
<slpz> not even the default one
<slpz> only the pageout thread, when the system is running really low on
memory, gives them a reference to the default pager by calling
<slpz> this is not really important, but worth noting ;-)
# IRC, freenode, #hurd, 2011-09-28
<slpz> mcsim: "Fix tmpfs" task should be called "Fix default pager" :-)
<slpz> mcsim: I've been thinking about modifying tmpfs to actually have
it's own storeio based backend, even if a tmpfs with storage sounds a bit
<slpz> mcsim: but I don't like the idea of having translators messing up
with the default pager...
<antrik> slpz: messing up?...
<slpz> antrik: in the sense of creating a number of arbitrarily sized
<antrik> slpz: well, it doesn't really matter much whether a process
indirectly eats up arbitrary amounts of swap through tmpfs, or directly
<antrik> though admittedly it's harder to implement resource limits with
<slpz> antrik: but I've talked about having its own storeio device as
backend. This way Mach can pageout memory to tmpfs if it's needed.
<mcsim> Do I understand correctly that the goal of tmpfs task is to create
tmpfs in RAM?
<slpz> mcsim: It is. But it also needs some kind of backend, just in case
it's ordered to page out data to free some system's memory.
<slpz> mcsim: Nowadays, this backend is another translator that acts as
default pager for the whole system
<antrik> slpz: pageout memory to tmpfs? not sure what you mean
<slpz> antrik: I mean tmpfs acting as its own pager
<antrik> slpz: you mean tmpfs not using the swap partition, but some other
<slpz> antrik: Yes.
See also: [[open_issues/resource_management_problems/pagers]].
<antrik> slpz: I don't think an extra backing store for tmpfs is a good
idea. the whole point of tmpfs is not having a backing store... TBH, I'd
even like to see a single backing store for anonymous memory and named
<slpz> antrik: But you need a backing store, even if it's the default pager
<slpz> antrik: The question is, Should users share the same backing store
(swap space) or provide their own?
<antrik> slpz: not sure what you mean by "users" in this context :-)
<slpz> antrik: Real users with the ability of setting tmpfs translators
<antrik> essentially, I'd like to have a single partition that contains
both swap space and the main filesystem (at least /tmp, but probably also
all of /run, and possibly even /home...)
<antrik> but that's a bit off-topic :-)
<antrik> well, ideally all storage should be accounted to a user,
regardless whether it's swapped out anonymous storage, temporary named
files, or permanent files
<slpz> antrik: you could use a file as backend for tmpfs
<antrik> slpz: what's the point of using tmpfs then? :-)
<pinotree> (and then store the file in another tmpfs)
<slpz> antrik: mach-defpager could be modified to use storeio instead of
Mach's device_* operations, but by the way things work right now, that
could be dangerous, IMHO
<antrik> pinotree: hehe
<pinotree> .. recursive tmpfs'es ;)
<antrik> slpz: hm, sounds interesting
<slpz> antrik: tmpfs would try to keep data in memory always it's possible
(not calling m_o_lock_request would do the trick), but if memory is
scarce an Mach starts paging out, it would write it to that
<antrik> ideally, all storage used by system tasks for swapped out
anonymous memory as well as temporary named files would end up on the
/run partition; while all storage used by users would end up in /home/*
<antrik> if users share a partition, some explicit storage accounting would
be useful too...
<antrik> slpz: is that any different from what "normal" filesystems do?...
<antrik> (and *should* it be different?...)
<slpz> antrik: Yes, as most FS try to synchronize to disk at a reasonable
rate, to prevent data losses.
<slpz> antrik: tmpfs would be a FS that wouldn't synchronize until it's
forced to do that (which, by the way, it's what's currently happening
with everyone that uses the default pager).
<antrik> slpz: hm, good point...
<slpz> antrik: Also, metadata in never written to disk, only kept in memory
(which saves a lot of I/O, too).
<slpz> antrik: In fact, we would be doing the same as every other kernel
does, but doing it explicitly :-)
<antrik> I see the use in separating precious data (in permanent named
files) from temporary state (anonymous memory and temporary named files)
-- but I'm not sure whether having a completely separate FS for the
temporary data is the right approach for that...
<slpz> antrik: And giving the user the option to specify its own storage,
so we don't limit him to the size established for swap by the super-user.
<antrik> either way, that would be a rather radical change... still would
be good to fix tmpfs as it is first if possible
<antrik> as for limited swap, that's precisely why I'd prefer not to have
an extra swap partition at all...
<slpz> antrik: It's not much o fa change, it's how it works right now, with
the exception of replacing the default pager with its own.
<slpz> antrik: I think it's just a matter of 10-20 hours, as
much. Including testing.
<slpz> antrik: It could be forked with another name, though :-)
<antrik> slpz: I don't mean radical change in the implementation... but a
radical change in the way it would be used
<slpz> antrik: I suggest "almosttmpfs" as the name for the forked one :-P
<antrik> how about lazyfs?
<slpz> antrik: That sound good to me, but probably we should use a more
descriptive name :-)
<tschwinge> slpz, antrik: There is a defpager in the Hurd code. It is not
currently being used, and likely incomplete. It is backed by libstore.
I have never looked at it.