[RFC] Saving/Restoring the internal state of an interrupt

Christoffer Dall christoffer.dall at linaro.org
Mon Aug 4 06:26:48 PDT 2014

On Mon, Aug 04, 2014 at 01:31:05PM +0100, Marc Zyngier wrote:
> On Mon, Aug 04 2014 at 12:57:16 pm BST, Christoffer Dall <christoffer.dall at linaro.org> wrote:
> > On Mon, Jun 16, 2014 at 07:47:57PM +0100, Marc Zyngier wrote:
> >> Thomas, all,
> >> 
> >> Since ARM has grown some virtualization extensions, there is a
> >> particular issue I've carefully avoided to address, and which is now
> >> biting me exactly where you think it does.
> >> 
> >> Let's expose the problem:
> >> - We have a per-CPU timer (the architected timer)
> >> - This timer is shared across virtual machines
> >> - We context-switch the state of the timer on entry/exit of the VM
> >> 
> >> The state of the timer itself is basically a control word and a
> >> comparator value. Not much. Ah yes, one tiny detail: the state of the
> >> interrupt controller (the GIC) is also part of the state.
> >> 
> >> This interrupt state is not the pending state, but the internal state
> >> (called the "active" state), indicating if the interrupt is in
> >> progress or not. If the interrupt is active (and configured as a level
> >> interrupt), then the interrupt can't fire again until the guest EOIs
> >> it (there is some special hardware dedicated to this).
> >
> > Can you clarify this part.  I was under the impression from reading the
> > GICv2 specs at least that an active interrupt can become active and
> > pending (and the pending part of that would cause the interrupt to fire
> > again).  Specifically, I'm thinking about transition A2 in Figure 3-1 in
> > the GICv2 spec (ARM IHI 0048B.b).  Am I reading this incorrectly or is
> > there something special about the timer in this regard?
> Nothing special about the timer. Just that the timer being a level
> interrupt, the pending state is a direct consequence of the level being
> high (as mentionned in the note at the bottom of 1.4.2).
> You go from Pending to Active-and-Pending, and then to Active (when the
> timer is reprogrammed/disabled, though you may go back to A&P if the timer
> fires again immediately). Eventually, after the EOI, you go back to
> Inactive.
> Here, the only bit we really care about is the Active bit (Pending
> changes anyway, as we save/restore the timer context).
> Or is there something that I don't understand in your question?

If not using priorities, what difference does it make if we save/restore
the active bit?  The whole point is that a timer that the guest hasn't
reprogrammed/disabled should not raise a hardware interrupt, right?

So what I inferred from your text is that we prevent that from happening
by restoring the active bit.  But that will still cause the hardware to
assert the signal (we will become A&P) and that would raise the
interrupt on the hardware, we would trap again, and so on.  Or?


More information about the linux-arm-kernel mailing list