mm, oom: introduce oom reaper

This patch (of 5):

This is based on the idea from Mel Gorman discussed during LSFMM 2015
and independently brought up by Oleg Nesterov.

The OOM killer currently allows to kill only a single task in a good
hope that the task will terminate in a reasonable time and frees up its
memory.  Such a task (oom victim) will get an access to memory reserves
via mark_oom_victim to allow a forward progress should there be a need
for additional memory during exit path.

It has been shown (e.g.  by Tetsuo Handa) that it is not that hard to
construct workloads which break the core assumption mentioned above and
the OOM victim might take unbounded amount of time to exit because it
might be blocked in the uninterruptible state waiting for an event (e.g.
lock) which is blocked by another task looping in the page allocator.

This patch reduces the probability of such a lockup by introducing a
specialized kernel thread (oom_reaper) which tries to reclaim additional
memory by preemptively reaping the anonymous or swapped out memory owned
by the oom victim under an assumption that such a memory won't be needed
when its owner is killed and kicked from the userspace anyway.  There is
one notable exception to this, though, if the OOM victim was in the
process of coredumping the result would be incomplete.  This is
considered a reasonable constrain because the overall system health is
more important than debugability of a particular application.

A kernel thread has been chosen because we need a reliable way of
invocation so workqueue context is not appropriate because all the
workers might be busy (e.g.  allocating memory).  Kswapd which sounds
like another good fit is not appropriate as well because it might get
blocked on locks during reclaim as well.

oom_reaper has to take mmap_sem on the target task for reading so the
solution is not 100% because the semaphore might be held or blocked for
write but the probability is reduced considerably wrt.  basically any
lock blocking forward progress as described above.  In order to prevent
from blocking on the lock without any forward progress we are using only
a trylock and retry 10 times with a short sleep in between.  Users of
mmap_sem which need it for write should be carefully reviewed to use
_killable waiting as much as possible and reduce allocations requests
done with the lock held to absolute minimum to reduce the risk even

The API between oom killer and oom reaper is quite trivial.
wake_oom_reaper updates mm_to_reap with cmpxchg to guarantee only
NULL->mm transition and oom_reaper clear this atomically once it is done
with the work.  This means that only a single mm_struct can be reaped at
the time.  As the operation is potentially disruptive we are trying to
limit it to the ncessary minimum and the reaper blocks any updates while
it operates on an mm.  mm_struct is pinned by mm_count to allow parallel
exit_mmap and a race is detected by atomic_inc_not_zero(mm_users).

Signed-off-by: Michal Hocko <>
Suggested-by: Oleg Nesterov <>
Suggested-by: Mel Gorman <>
Acked-by: Mel Gorman <>
Acked-by: David Rientjes <>
Cc: Mel Gorman <>
Cc: Tetsuo Handa <>
Cc: Oleg Nesterov <>
Cc: Hugh Dickins <>
Cc: Andrea Argangeli <>
Cc: Rik van Riel <>
Signed-off-by: Andrew Morton <>
Signed-off-by: Linus Torvalds <>
4 files changed