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Subject: [OMPI devel] RFC: Change default behavior of calling ibv_fork_init
From: Rolf vandeVaart (rvandevaart_at_[hidden])
Date: 2014-07-31 10:01:08

WHAT: Change default behavior in openib to not call ibv_fork_init() even if available.
WHY: There are some strange interactions with ummunotify that cause errors. In addition, see the additional points below.
WHEN: After next weekly meeting, August 5, 2014
DETAILS: This change will just be a couple of lines. Current default behavior is to call ibv_fork_init() if support exists. New default behavior is to call it only if asked for.
Essentially, default setting of btl_openib_want_fork_support will change from -1 (use it if available) to 0 (do not use unless asked for)

Here are details from an earlier post last year.
Subject: [OMPI devel] RFC: Calling ibv_fork_init() in the openib BTL
From: Jeff Squyres (jsquyres) (jsquyres_at_[hidden])
Date: 2013-12-06 10:15:02
To those who care about the openib BTL...
Do you really want to call ibv_fork_init() in the openib BTL by default?
Rolf V. pointed out to me yesterday that we're calling ibv_fork_init() in the openib BTL. He asked if we did the same in the usnic BTL. We don't, and here's why:
1. it adds a slight performance penalty for ibv_reg_mr/ibv_dereg_mr
2. the only thing ibv_fork_init() protects against is the child sending from memory that it thinks should already be registered:
if (0 == fork()) {
    ibv_post_send(some_previously_pinned_buffer, ...);
    // ^^ this can't work because the buffer is *not* pinned in the child
    // (for lack of a longer explanation here)
3. ibv_fork_init() is not intended to protect against a child invoking an MPI function (if they do that; they get what they deserve!).
Note that #2 can't happen, because MPI doesn't expose its protection domains, queue pairs, or registrations (or any of its verbs constructs) at all.
Hence, all ibv_fork_init() does is a) impose a performance penalty, and b) make memory physically unavailable in a child process, such that:

a = malloc(...);
a[0] = 17;
ibv_reg_mr(a, ...);
if (0 == fork()) {
    printf("this is a[0]: %d\n", a[0]);
    // ^^ This will segv
But the registered memory may actually be useful in the child.
So I just thought I'd pass this along, and ask the openib-caring people of the world if you really still want to be calling ibv_fork_init() by default in the openib BTL.
Jeff Squyres
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