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struct ifnet and ifaddr handling [was: Re: Making global variables of if.c MPSAFE]

Ryota Ozaki <> wrote:
> Hi,
> This is another work toward MPSAFE networking.
> sys/net/if.c contains several global variables
> (e.g., ifnet_list) that should be protected
> from parallel accesses somehow once we get rid
> of the big kernel lock.
> Currently there is a mutex for serializing
> accesses to index_gen, however, that's not
> enough; we have to protect the other variables
> too.
> The global variables are read-mostly, so I
> replace the mutex with a rwlock and use it
> for all. Unfortunately, ifnet_list may be
> accessed from interrupt context (only read
> though) so that I add a spin mutex for it;
> we hold the mutex when we modify ifnet_list
> as well as the rwlock.
> <...>

I generally agree with Dennis that is not the way we want to take in
the long-term.  The cost of read-write lock is very high.  The plan
is to use passive serialisation to protect the interfaces and their
addresses.  Also, the ultimate goal would also be to use a better
data structure (linked lists are not really efficient) and change the
way interfaces are referenced i.e. instead of referencing ifnet_t,
the network stack should use a unique ID.  Note that the code paths
looking up the interface or its address(es) should not block (if they
do, the code can be rearranged).  Also, in the long run, ifnet list
should not be accessed from the hard interrupt context -- all users
ought to be running in the softintr(9) context.

We may need to take an intermediate solution, but I think we can
already switch to pserialize(9) + reference counting on ifnet_t for
the ip_input/ip_output() paths.  I need to resume my work on the
routing subsystem patch-up, though.


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