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Understanding the Linux Kernel, 3rd Edition by Marco Cesati, Daniel P. Bovet

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Reverse Mapping

As stated in the previous section, one of the objectives of the PFRA is to be able to free a shared page frame. To that end, the Linux 2.6 kernel is able to locate quickly all the Page Table entries that point to the same page frame. This activity is called reverse mapping .

A trivial solution for reverse mapping would be to include in each page descriptor additional fields to link together all the Page Table entries that point to the page frame associated with the page descriptor. However, keeping such lists up-to-date would increase significantly the kernel overhead; for that reason, more sophisticated solutions have been devised. The technique used in Linux 2.6 is named object-based reverse mapping. Essentially, for any reclaimable User Mode page, the kernel stores the backward links to all memory regions in the system (the "objects") that include the page itself. Each memory region descriptor stores a pointer to a memory descriptor, which in turn includes a pointer to a Page Global Directory. Therefore, the backward links enable the PFRA to retrieve all Page Table entries referencing a given a page. Because there are fewer memory region descriptors than page descriptors, updating the backward links of a shared page is less time consuming. Let's see how this scheme is worked out.

First of all, the PFRA must have a way to determine whether the page to be reclaimed is shared or non-shared, and whether it is mapped or anonymous. In order to do this, the kernel ...

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