sparse: introduce conditional lock acquire function attribute

The kernel tends to try to avoid conditional locking semantics because
it makes it harder to think about and statically check locking rules,
but we do have a few fundamental locking primitives that take locks
conditionally - most obviously the 'trylock' functions.

That has always been a problem for 'sparse' checking for locking
imbalance, and we've had a special '__cond_lock()' macro that we've used
to let sparse know how the locking works:

    # define __cond_lock(x,c)        ((c) ? ({ __acquire(x); 1; }) : 0)

so that you can then use this to tell sparse that (for example) the
spinlock trylock macro ends up acquiring the lock when it succeeds, but
not when it fails:

    #define raw_spin_trylock(lock)  __cond_lock(lock, _raw_spin_trylock(lock))

and then sparse can follow along the locking rules when you have code like

        if (!spin_trylock(&dentry->d_lock))
                return LRU_SKIP;
	.. sparse sees that the lock is held here..

and sparse ends up happy about the lock contexts.

However, this '__cond_lock()' use does result in very ugly header files,
and requires you to basically wrap the real function with that macro
that uses '__cond_lock'.  Which has made PeterZ NAK things that try to
fix sparse warnings over the years [1].

To solve this, there is now a very experimental patch to sparse that
basically does the exact same thing as '__cond_lock()' did, but using a
function attribute instead.  That seems to make PeterZ happy [2].

Note that this does not replace existing use of '__cond_lock()', but
only exposes the new proposed attribute and uses it for the previously
unannotated 'refcount_dec_and_lock()' family of functions.

For existing sparse installations, this will make no difference (a
negative output context was ignored), but if you have the experimental
sparse patch it will make sparse now understand code that uses those
functions, the same way '__cond_lock()' makes sparse understand the very
similar 'atomic_dec_and_lock()' uses that have the old '__cond_lock()'

Note that in some cases this will silence existing context imbalance
warnings.  But in other cases it may end up exposing new sparse warnings
for code that sparse just didn't see the locking for at all before.

This is a trial, in other words.  I'd expect that if it ends up being
successful, and new sparse releases end up having this new attribute,
we'll migrate the old-style '__cond_lock()' users to use the new-style
'__cond_acquires' function attribute.

The actual experimental sparse patch was posted in [3].

Link: [1]
Link: [2]
Link: [3]
Acked-by: Peter Zijlstra <>
Cc: Alexander Aring <>
Cc: Luc Van Oostenryck <>
Signed-off-by: Linus Torvalds <>
2 files changed