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RFC-0014 - Relax zx_fifo_create constraints

RFC-0014 - Relax zx_fifo_create constraints
  • Zircon

Permit `zx_fifo_create` calls with element counts that are not powers of two.

Gerrit change
Date submitted (year-month-day)2020-12-02
Date reviewed (year-month-day)2020-12-09


zx_fifo_create currently requires the caller to pass an element count that is a power of two. This allows the kernel to make a small optimization on the read and write paths by using a bit-mask instead of the modulus operator to determine the offset of a wrapped record in a buffer.

This constraint means that users cannot effectively use the FIFO to its full capacity if their element sizes do not happen to be 4096/(2**n) bytes; in these cases the FIFO capacity (element_size * element_count) will be less than possible full capacity of the FIFO (which internally uses a 4096-byte buffer).

The proposal is to allow FIFOs to be created with arbitrary element counts (up to the FIFO size limit) so the full FIFO capacity can be used for FIFO records of arbitrary sizes.


This proposal is motivated by the desire to add a field to an existing FIFO record used in the block stack; the field in question is a trace identifier which will be used to support cross-process tracing of block IO. Adding this field changes the size of the FIFO records from 32 bytes to 40 bytes.

If FIFO records are 40 bytes long, then the maximum value that element_count could currently be set to is 64, which results in 40 * 64 = 2560 bytes used in the 4096-byte buffer.

This RFC would permit an element_count value of 102, which results in 40 * 102 = 4080 bytes used (almost doubling the usable capacity of the FIFO).


This is a trivial change that is implemented in


This is a trivial change that is implemented in


The kernel can currently make a small performance optimization since it knows the element count is a power of two; particularly, the kernel can use a bitwise-AND to determine the position of an element in the internal buffer, instead of a modulo.

That said, this performance optimization washes out given the expense of jumping back and forth between the kernel and userspace.

Concretely: performance testing in indicates that there are no measurable performance costs for eliminating this optimization.

Security considerations


Privacy considerations



This is a trivial change for which tests are added in


The zx_fifo_create documentation is adjusted in based on the new relaxed constraints.

Drawbacks, alternatives, and unknowns


Prior art and references