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Paging

Paging is swapping on a page basis rather than by entire processes. We will use swapping here to refer to paging, since \ only pages, and does not swap, and people are more used to the word ``swap'' than ``page.'' Kernel pages are never swapped. Clean pages are also not written to swap. They are freed and reloaded when required. The swapper maintains a single bit of aging info in the PAGE_ACCESSED bit of the page table entries. [What are the maintainance details? How is it used?]

supports multiple swap files or devices which may be turned on or off by the swapon and swapoff system calls. Each swapfile or device is described by a struct swap_info_struct (swap.c).

The flags field (SWP_USED or SWP_WRITEOK) is used to control access to the swap files. When SWP_WRITEOK is off space will not be allocated in that file. This is used by swapoff when it tries to unuse a file. When swapon adds a new swap file it sets SWP_USED. A static variable nr_swapfiles stores the number of currently active swap files. The fields lowest_bit and highest_bit bound the free region in the swap file and are used to speed up the search for free swap space.

The user program mkswap initializes a swap device or file. The first page contains a signature (`SWAP-SPACE') in the last 10 bytes, and holds a bitmap. Initially 0's in the bitmap signal bad pages. A `1' in the bitmap means the corresponding page is free. This page is never allocated so the initialization needs to be done just once.

The syscall swapon() is called by the user program swapon typically from /etc/rc. A couple of pages of memory are allocated for swap_map and swap_lockmap.

swap_map holds a byte for each page in the swapfile. It is initialized from the bitmap to contain a 0 for available pages and 128 for unusable pages. It is used to maintain a count of swap requests on each page in the swap file. swap_lockmap holds a bit for each page that is used to ensure mutual exclusion when reading or writing swap files.

When a page of memory is to be swapped out an index to the swap location is obtained by a call to get_swap_page(). This index is then stored in bits 1-31 of the page table entry so the swapped page may be located by the page fault handler, do_no_page() when needed.

The upper 7 bits of the index give the swapfile (or device) and the lower 24 bits give the page number on that device. That makes as many as 128 swapfiles, each with room for about 64 GB, but the space overhead due to the swap_map would be large. Instead the swapfile size is limited to 16 MB, because the swap_map then takes 1 page.

The function swap_duplicate() is used by copy_page_tables() to let a child process inherit swapped pages during a fork. It just increments the count maintained in swap_map for that page. Each process will swap in a separate copy of the page when it accesses it.

swap_free() decrements the count maintained in swap_map. When the count drops to 0 the page can be reallocated by get_swap_page(). It is called each time a swapped page is read into memory (swap_in()) or when a page is to be discarded ( free_one_table(), etc.).


next up previous contents
Next: 80386 Memory Mangament Up: Linux Memory Management Previous: The page fault handlers

Converted on:
Mon Apr 1 10:20:16 EST 1996