[Mesa-dev] [RFC] Linux Graphics Next: Explicit fences everywhere and no BO fences - initial proposal

Daniel Stone daniel at fooishbar.org
Tue Apr 20 15:07:13 UTC 2021

On Tue, 20 Apr 2021 at 15:58, Christian König <
ckoenig.leichtzumerken at gmail.com> wrote:

> Am 20.04.21 um 16:53 schrieb Daniel Stone:
> On Mon, 19 Apr 2021 at 11:48, Marek Olšák <maraeo at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Deadlock mitigation to recover from segfaults:
>> - The kernel knows which process is obliged to signal which fence. This
>> information is part of the Present request and supplied by userspace.
>> - If the producer crashes, the kernel signals the submit fence, so that
>> the consumer can make forward progress.
>> - If the consumer crashes, the kernel signals the return fence, so that
>> the producer can reclaim the buffer.
>> - A GPU hang signals all fences. Other deadlocks will be handled like GPU
>> hangs.
> Another thought: with completely arbitrary userspace fencing, none of this
> is helpful either. If the compositor can't guarantee that a hostile client
> has submitted a fence which will never be signaled, then it won't be
> waiting on it, so it already needs infrastructure to handle something like
> this.
> That already handles the crashed-client case, because if the client
> crashes, then its connection will be dropped, which will trigger the
> compositor to destroy all its resources anyway, including any pending waits.
> Exactly that's the problem. A compositor isn't immediately informed that
> the client crashed, instead it is still referencing the buffer and trying
> to use it for compositing.

If the compositor no longer has a guarantee that the buffer will be ready
for composition in a reasonable amount of time (which dma_fence gives us,
and this proposal does not appear to give us), then the compositor isn't
trying to use the buffer for compositing, it's waiting asynchronously on a
notification that the fence has signaled before it attempts to use the

Marek's initial suggestion is that the kernel signal the fence, which would
unblock composition (and presumably show garbage on screen, or at best jump
back to old content).

My position is that the compositor will know the process has crashed anyway
- because its socket has been closed - at which point we destroy all the
client's resources including its windows and buffers regardless. Signaling
the fence doesn't give us any value here, _unless_ the compositor is just
blindly waiting for the fence to signal ... which it can't do because
there's no guarantee the fence will ever signal.

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