Commit 31dbd01f authored by Izik Eidus's avatar Izik Eidus Committed by Linus Torvalds
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ksm: Kernel SamePage Merging

Ksm is code that allows merging of identical pages between one or more
applications, in a way invisible to the applications that use it.  Pages
that are merged are marked as read-only, then COWed when any application
tries to change them.

Whereas fork() allows sharing anonymous pages between parent and child,
ksm can share anonymous pages between unrelated processes.

Ksm works by walking over the memory pages of the applications it scans,
in order to find identical pages.  It uses two sorted data structures,
called the stable and unstable trees, to locate identical pages in an
effective way.

When ksm finds two identical pages, it marks them as readonly and merges
them into a single page.  After the pages have been marked as readonly and
merged into one, Linux treats them as normal copy-on-write pages, copying
to a fresh anonymous page if write access is required later.

Ksm scans and merges anonymous pages only in those memory areas that have
been registered with it by madvise(addr, length, MADV_MERGEABLE).

The ksm scanner is controlled by sysfs files in /sys/kernel/mm/ksm/:

max_kernel_pages - the maximum number of unswappable kernel pages
                   which may be allocated by ksm (0 for unlimited).

kernel_pages_allocated - how many ksm pages are currently allocated,
                         sharing identical content between different
                         processes (pages unswappable in this release).

pages_shared - how many pages have been saved by sharing with ksm pages
               (kernel_pages_allocated being excluded from this count).

pages_to_scan - how many pages ksm should scan before sleeping.

sleep_millisecs - how many milliseconds ksm should sleep between scans.

run - write 0 to disable ksm, read 0 while ksm is disabled (default),
      write 1 to run ksm, read 1 while ksm is running,
      write 2 to disable ksm and unmerge all its pages.

Includes contributions by Andrea Arcangeli Chris Wright and Hugh Dickins.

[ fix rare page leak]
Signed-off-by: default avatarIzik Eidus <>
Signed-off-by: default avatarHugh Dickins <>
Signed-off-by: default avatarChris Wright <>
Cc: Andrea Arcangeli <>
Cc: Rik van Riel <>
Cc: Wu Fengguang <>
Cc: Balbir Singh <>
Cc: Hugh Dickins <>
Cc: KAMEZAWA Hiroyuki <>
Cc: Lee Schermerhorn <>
Cc: Avi Kivity <>
Cc: Nick Piggin <>
Signed-off-by: default avatarAndrew Morton <>
Signed-off-by: default avatarLinus Torvalds <>
parent 9a840895
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