perf/ring_buffer: Fix exposing a temporarily decreased data_head

This change “perf/ring_buffer: Fix exposing a temporarily decreased data_head” (commit 1b038c6) in Linux kernel is authored by Yabin Cui <yabinc [at]> on Fri May 17 13:52:31 2019 +0200.

Description of "perf/ring_buffer: Fix exposing a temporarily decreased data_head"

The change “perf/ring_buffer: Fix exposing a temporarily decreased data_head” introduces changes as follows.

perf/ring_buffer: Fix exposing a temporarily decreased data_head

In perf_output_put_handle(), an IRQ/NMI can happen in below location and
write records to the same ring buffer:

        ...                          <-- an IRQ/NMI can happen here
        rb->user_page->data_head = head;

In this case, a value A is written to data_head in the IRQ, then a value
B is written to data_head after the IRQ. And A > B. As a result,
data_head is temporarily decreased from A to B. And a reader may see
data_head < data_tail if it read the buffer frequently enough, which
creates unexpected behaviors.

This can be fixed by moving dec(&rb->nest) to after updating data_head,
which prevents the IRQ/NMI above from updating data_head.

[ Split up by peterz. ]

Signed-off-by: Yabin Cui <>
Signed-off-by: Peter Zijlstra (Intel) <>
Cc: Alexander Shishkin <>
Cc: Arnaldo Carvalho de Melo <>
Cc: Arnaldo Carvalho de Melo <>
Cc: Jiri Olsa <>
Cc: Linus Torvalds <>
Cc: Namhyung Kim <>
Cc: Peter Zijlstra <>
Cc: Stephane Eranian <>
Cc: Thomas Gleixner <>
Cc: Vince Weaver <>
Fixes: ef60777c9abd ("perf: Optimize the perf_output() path by removing IRQ-disables")
Signed-off-by: Ingo Molnar <>

Linux kernel releases containing commit 1b038c6

Linux kernel code changes from "perf/ring_buffer: Fix exposing a temporarily decreased data_head"

There are 24 lines of Linux source code added/deleted in this change. Code changes to Linux kernel are as follows.

 kernel/events/ring_buffer.c | 24 ++++++++++++++++++++----
 1 file changed, 20 insertions(+), 4 deletions(-)
diff --git a/kernel/events/ring_buffer.c b/kernel/events/ring_buffer.c
index 674b35383491..009467a60578 100644
--- a/kernel/events/ring_buffer.c
+++ b/kernel/events/ring_buffer.c
@@ -51,11 +51,18 @@ static void perf_output_put_handle(struct perf_output_handle *handle)
 	head = local_read(&rb->head);
-	 * IRQ/NMI can happen here, which means we can miss a head update.
+	 * IRQ/NMI can happen here and advance @rb->head, causing our
+	 * load above to be stale.
-	if (!local_dec_and_test(&rb->nest))
+	/*
+	 * If this isn't the outermost nesting, we don't have to update
+	 * @rb->user_page->data_head.
+	 */
+	if (local_read(&rb->nest) > 1) {
+		local_dec(&rb->nest);
 		goto out;
+	}
 	 * Since the mmap() consumer (userspace) can run on a different CPU:
@@ -87,9 +94,18 @@ static void perf_output_put_handle(struct perf_output_handle *handle)
 	rb->user_page->data_head = head;
-	 * Now check if we missed an update -- rely on previous implied
-	 * compiler barriers to force a re-read.
+	 * We must publish the head before decrementing the nest count,
+	 * otherwise an IRQ/NMI can publish a more recent head value and our
+	 * write will (temporarily) publish a stale value.
+	 */
+	barrier();
+	local_set(&rb->nest, 0);
+	/*
+	 * Ensure we decrement @rb->nest before we validate the @rb->head.
+	 * Otherwise we cannot be sure we caught the 'last' nested update.
+	barrier();
 	if (unlikely(head != local_read(&rb->head))) {
 		goto again;

The commit for this change in Linux stable tree is 1b038c6 (patch).

Last modified: 2020/02/08