On Mon, Jun 30, 2014 at 12:54 PM, Tom Lane <t...@sss.pgh.pa.us> wrote:
> The existing coding rules also discourage spinlocking within a spinlock,
> and the reason for that is that there's no very clear upper bound to the
> time required to obtain a spinlock, so that there would also be no clear
> upper bound to the time you're holding the original one (thus possibly
> leading to cascading performance problems).

Well, as Andres points out, commit
daa7527afc2274432094ebe7ceb03aa41f916607 made that more of an ironclad
requirement than a suggestion.  If it's sometimes OK to acquire a
spinlock from within a spinlock, then that commit was badly misguided;
but the design of that patch was pretty much driven by your insistence
that that was never, ever OK.  If that was wrong, then we should
reconsider that whole commit more broadly; but if it was right, then
the atomics patch shouldn't drill a hole through it to install an
exception just for emulating atomics.

I'm personally not convinced that we're approaching this topic in the
right way.  I'm not convinced that it's at all reasonable to try to
emulate atomics on platforms that don't have them.  I would punt the
problem into the next layer and force things like lwlock.c to have
fallback implementations at that level that don't require atomics, and
remove those fallback implementations if and when we move the
goalposts so that all supported platforms must have working atomics
implementations.  People who write code that uses atomics are not
likely to think about how those algorithms will actually perform when
those atomics are merely emulated, and I suspect that means that in
practice platforms that have only emulated atomics are going to
regress significantly vs. the status quo today.  If this patch goes in
the way it's written right now, then I think it basically amounts to
throwing platforms that don't have working atomics emulation under the
bus, and my vote is that if we're going to do that, we should do it
explicitly: sorry, we now only support platforms with working atomics.
You don't have any, so you can't run PostgreSQL.  Have a nice day.

If we *don't* want to make that decision, then I'm not convinced that
the approach this patch takes is in any way viable, completely aside
from this particular question.

Robert Haas
EnterpriseDB: http://www.enterprisedb.com
The Enterprise PostgreSQL Company

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