The i915_vblank_swap() function schedules an automatic buffer swap
upon receipt of the vertical sync interrupt. Such an operation is
lengthy so it can't be allowed to happen in normal interrupt context,
thus the DRM implements this by scheduling the work in a kernel
softirq-scheduled tasklet. In order for the buffer swap to work
safely, the DRM's central lock must be taken, via a call to
drm_lock_take() located in drivers/char/drm/drm_irq.c within the
function drm_locked_tasklet_func(). The lock-taking logic uses a
non-interrupt-blocking spinlock to implement the manipulations needed
to take the lock. This semantic would be safe if all attempts to use
the spinlock only happen from process context. However this buffer
swap happens from softirq context which is really a form of interrupt
context. Thus we have an unsafe situation, in that
drm_locked_tasklet_func() can block on a spinlock already taken by a
thread in process context which will never get scheduled again because
of the blocked softirq tasklet. This wedges the kernel hard.
To trigger this bug, run a dual-head cloned mode configuration which
uses the i915 drm, then execute an opengl application which
synchronizes buffer swaps against the vertical sync interrupt. In my
testing, a lockup always results after running anywhere from 5 minutes
to an hour and a half. I believe dual-head is needed to really
trigger the problem because then the vertical sync interrupt handling
is no longer predictable (due to being interrupt-sourced from two
different heads running at different speeds). This raises the
probability of the tasklet trying to run while the userspace DRI is
doing things to the GPU (and manipulating the DRM lock).
The fix is to change the relevant spinlock semantics to be the
interrupt-blocking form. After this change I am no longer able to
trigger the lockup; the longest test run so far was 20 hours (test
stopped after that point).
Note: I have examined the places where this spinlock is ...