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Date: Wed, 10 May 2017 09:08:41 +0100
From: Al Viro <>
To: Arnd Bergmann <>
Cc: Andy Lutomirski <>,
	Christoph Hellwig <>,
	Ingo Molnar <>, Greg KH <>,
	Thomas Garnier <>,
	Martin Schwidefsky <>,
	Heiko Carstens <>,
	Dave Hansen <>,
	Thomas Gleixner <>,
	David Howells <>,
	René Nyffenegger <>,
	Andrew Morton <>,
	"Paul E . McKenney" <>,
	"Eric W . Biederman" <>,
	Oleg Nesterov <>,
	Pavel Tikhomirov <>,
	Ingo Molnar <>, "H . Peter Anvin" <>,
	Paolo Bonzini <>, Rik van Riel <>,
	Kees Cook <>,
	Josh Poimboeuf <>,
	Borislav Petkov <>, Brian Gerst <>,
	"Kirill A . Shutemov" <>,
	Christian Borntraeger <>,
	Russell King <>,
	Will Deacon <>,
	Catalin Marinas <>,
	Mark Rutland <>,
	James Morse <>,
	linux-s390 <>,
	LKML <>,
	Linux API <>,
	the arch/x86 maintainers <>,
	"" <>,
	Kernel Hardening <>,
	Linus Torvalds <>,
	Peter Zijlstra <>
Subject: Re: Re: [PATCH v9 1/4] syscalls: Verify address
 limit before returning to user-mode

On Wed, May 10, 2017 at 09:37:04AM +0200, Arnd Bergmann wrote:

> > How about trying to remove all of them?  If we could actually get rid
> > of all of them, we could drop the arch support, and we'd get faster,
> > simpler, shorter uaccess code throughout the kernel.

BTW, not all get_user() under KERNEL_DS are plain loads.  There is an
exception - probe_kernel_read().

> > The ones in kernel/compat.c are generally garbage.  They should be
> > using compat_alloc_user_space().  Ditto for kernel/power/user.c.
> compat_alloc_user_space() has some problems too, it adds
> complexity to a rarely-tested code path and can add some noticeable
> overhead in cases where user space access is slow because of
> extra checks.
> It's clearly better than set_fs(), but the way I prefer to convert the
> code is to avoid both and instead move compat handlers next to
> the native code, and splitting out the common code between native
> and compat mode into a helper that takes a regular kernel pointer.
> I think that's what both Al has done in the past on compat_ioctl()
> and select() and what Christoph does in his latest series, but
> it seems worth pointing out for others that decide to help out here.

Folks, reducing the amount of places where we play with set_fs() is certainly
a good thing.  Getting rid of them completely is something entirely different;
I have tried to plot out patch series in this direction many times during the
last 5 years or so, but it's not going to be easy.  Tomorrow I can start
posting my notes in that direction (and there are tons of those, unfortunately
mixed with git grep results, highly unprintable personal comments, etc.);
just let me grab some sleep first...

BTW, slow userland access is not just due to extra checks; access_ok(),
in particular, is pretty much noise.  The real PITA comes from the things
like STAC/CLAC on recent x86.  Or hardware overhead of cross-address-space
block copy insn (e.g. on s390, where it's optimized for multi-cacheline
blocks).  Or things like uml, where it's a matter of walking the page
tables for each sodding __get_user().  It's not always just a matter of
address space limit...

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