Linux How Linux finds physical address through virtual memory

yfractal · 2021年08月11日 · 最后由 yfractal 回复于 2021年08月12日 · 382 次阅读



Hardware can map virtual address to physical address or use physical address directly.

The virtual address to physical address mapping is stored in memory.

When virtual address is enabled, hardware will help us do the virtual address to physical address mapping.

Sometimes, the kernel needs to do the same thing.

For example when the kernel allocates new memory for a process kernel needs to walk through the page table and set up the mapping.

So kernel needs to know how page table works.

Now let's see how the hardware handles the virtual addresses.

x86 4-level paging

X86 supports different kinds of pages, they are similar. So let's consider 4 levels paging and 4KB page only.

Screen Shot 2021-08-11 at 9 14 57 PM

As the image above, register CR3 is pointing to start address of global(L3) directory page, and virtual address' 47 ~ 39 bits will be used for global(L3) directory page(L3)'s offset.

Then the content will point to the next level directory's start address, then we can use 38 ~ 30 bits of virtual address for the offset of the upper(L2) directory page.

Then middle(L1) directory page and finally we arrive at page table(L0).

Linux follow_page method

Linux follow_page is used for doing the same thing.

Main follow as before:

// in mm/gup.c
follow_page(vma, address, flags)
pgd = pgd_offset(mm, address);
follow_p4d_mask(vma, address, pgd, flags, ctx);
  p4d = p4d_offset(pgdp, address); // level 2
  follow_pud_mask(vma, address, p4d, flags, ctx);
    pud = pud_offset(p4dp, address);
    follow_pmd_mask(vma, address, pud, flags, ctx);
      pmd = pmd_offset(pudp, address); // level 1
      follow_page_pte(vma, address, pmd, flags, &ctx->pgmap);
        ptep = pte_offset_map(mm, pmd, address, &ptl); // level 0
        pte = *ptep;
        page = vm_normal_page(vma, address, pte);

pgd_offset's defination is:

 #define PGDIR_SHIFT 39
 #define PTRS_PER_PGD 512

#define pgd_offset(mm, address) pgd_offset_pgd((mm)->pgd, (address))

 static inline pgd_t *pgd_offset_pgd(pgd_t *pgd, unsigned long address)
    return (pgd + pgd_index(address));

 #define pgd_index(a)  (((a) >> PGDIR_SHIFT) & (PTRS_PER_PGD - 1))

#define pgd_index(a) (((a) >> PGDIR_SHIFT) & (PTRS_PER_PGD - 1)) will shift right 39 bits then mark out 9 bits which will give us 47 ~ 39 bits of a virtual address.

The result is the offset of the page global directory's offset.

We add it to pgd by pgd + pgd_index(address) and the result is the next level directory's start address.

p4d_offset is used for 5-level paging, code as below:

static inline p4d_t *p4d_offset(pgd_t *pgd, unsigned long address)
    if (!pgtable_l5_enabled())
        return (p4d_t *)pgd;
    return (p4d_t *)pgd_page_vaddr(*pgd) + p4d_index(address);

pgtable_l5_enabled() will return false we use level 4 paging, so p4d_offset will just return pgd back.

Then pud_offset for the upper directory, then pmd_offset for the middle directory, and finally reached the last level by calling pte_offset.

The calling is follow_page: pgd_offset -> p4d_offset -> pud_offset -> pmd_offset -> pte_offset.


There are different kinds of paging in x84: 32-bit paging, PAE paging, 4-level paging, and 5-level paging.

Basically, they are similar but use different bits for finding pages.

More detail can be found in Intel® 64 and IA-32 Architectures Software Developer’s Manual or Understanding Linux Kernel.

So I will not explain all of them.

There are many interesting things about page table or addressing such as copy on write and mmap.

I will explain some of them in the following articles.

我觉得缺少了 TLB 相关机制的介绍,以及不知道楼主有没有思考过 CPU designer 提供多种 size 的 paging 策略的原因

kowalskidark 回复


这个想为后面讲 cow 或者 mmap 服务,就忽略了 😂

page size 没仔细研看过,我知道的是为了可以给一个 process 更多地内存?不是很确定。求指教。

英语写作可以扔去 grammarly 过一遍,比较有利于提高

mizuhashi 回复

感谢,试了一下,很有帮助 👍

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