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Date: Sun, 16 Feb 2014 21:23:14 +0000
From: Stuart Henderson <>
Subject: Re: Vendor adoption of PIE INFO#934476 oss-security

On 2014/02/16 11:01, Christos Zoulas wrote:
> On Feb 16,  2:28pm, (Stuart Henderson) wrote:
> -- Subject: Re: [oss-security] Vendor adoption of PIE INFO#934476 oss-securit
> | By the way, OpenBSD has switched compilers to generating PIE code by
> | default on the majority of architectures, various arch's over the last
> | couple of releases, but as of a couple of months ago we've also done
> | this for i386 (x86) too, so I can give some specific examples of
> | where you can expect to run into problems.
> | 
> | On amd64 (x86_64) fallout has been mostly limited to compilers and a
> | couple of other programs, e.g. emacs, qemu, clisp, erlang, ghc, sbcl,
> | which we are building with PIE disabled.
> | 
> | Additionally for i386 there have been problems with register pressure
> | on programs with their own asm code (mostly games), in particular
> | code doing cpuid checks often doesn't save/restore %ebx, but there
> | have been some others. In one case there was code for x86 OSX which
> | avoids scribbling on %ebx which we've been able to borrow, and I think
> | there were one or two where we've switched from asm to a generic C
> | implementation. Of course, shared libraries already have to take
> | this into account so not too much trouble there.
> | 
> | Everything else, base system and ports, is built with PIE.
> | On the whole, experiences have been pretty good. Obviously there is
> | some performance impact but we haven't yet had any reports of this
> | causing major problems (though we will probably know more about this
> | after 5.5 is released when the average user will first see i386
> | packages built with PIE by default).
> Are you doing any RELRO work?
> christos

AIUI this was added in binutils 2.16, so I don't believe we have
support for it in our toolchain yet (we're currently using 2.15 on
most architectures, the last attempt at updating had to be backed
out due to a number of problems experienced in ports).

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