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Date: Tue, 7 Nov 2017 13:44:01 -0800
From: Linus Torvalds <>
To: Kees Cook <>
Cc: "Tobin C. Harding" <>, "Paul E. McKenney" <>, 
	Andy Lutomirski <>, Joe Perches <>, 
	Network Development <>, David Miller <>, 
	"" <>, 
	"Jason A. Donenfeld" <>, "Theodore Ts'o" <>, Paolo Bonzini <>, 
	Tycho Andersen <>, "Roberts, William C" <>, 
	Tejun Heo <>, Jordan Glover <>, 
	Greg KH <>, Petr Mladek <>, 
	Ian Campbell <>, Sergey Senozhatsky <>, 
	Catalin Marinas <>, Will Deacon <>, 
	Steven Rostedt <>, Chris Fries <>, 
	Dave Weinstein <>, Daniel Micay <>, 
	Djalal Harouni <>, Linux Kernel Mailing List <>
Subject: Re: [PATCH v3] scripts: add

On Tue, Nov 7, 2017 at 1:22 PM, Kees Cook <> wrote:
> Linus, what do you have in mind for the root-only "yes we really need
> the actual address output" exceptions?

I am convinced that absolutely none of them should use '%pK'.

So far we have actually never seen a valid case wher %pK was really
the right thing to do.

> For example, right now /sys/kernel/debug/kernel_page_tables
> (CONFIG_X86_PTDUMP=y) needs actual address and currently uses %x.

So I think it could continue to use %x, and just make sure the whole
file is root-only.

And that is why %pK is so wrong. It's almost never really about root.

Look at /proc/kallsyms, for example. There it's mainly about kernel
profiles (although there certainly have been other uses historically,
and maybe some of them remain) - which we have another flag for
entirely that is very much specifically about kernel profiles.

> Looking other places that stand out, it seems like
> /proc/lockdep_chains and /proc/lockdep (CONFIG_LOCKDEP=y) has a ton of
> %p usage. It's unclear to me if a hash is sufficient for meaningful
> debugging there?

Maybe not, but that is also _so_ esoteric that I suspect the right fix
is to just make it root-only readable.

I've never used it, we should check with people who have. I get the
feeling that this is purely for PeterZ debugging.

The very first commit that introduced that code actually has a

    (FIXME: should go into debugfs)

so I suspect it never should have been user-readable to begin with. I
guess it makes some things easier, but it really is *very* different
from things like profiling.

Profiling you often *cannot* do as root - some things you profile
really shouldn't be run as root, and might even refuse to do so. So
requiring you to be root just to get a kernel profile is very bad.

But looking at lockdep stats? Yeah, 'sudo' isn't so big of a deal.

And I really suspect that's true of a _lot_ of these %p things that
really want a pointer. It's not that they really want %pK, it's that
they shouldn't have been visible to regular users in the first place.

Things that *do* want a pointer and should be visible to regular users
are things like oops messages etc, but even there we obviously
generally want to use %pS/%pF when possible (but generally %x when not
- things like register contents etc that *may* contain pointers).

And if they really are visible to users - because you want to
cross-correlate them for things like netstat - I think the hashing is
the right thing to do both for root and for regular users.

> Seems like these three from dmesg could be removed?
> [    0.000000] Base memory trampoline at [ffffa3fc40099000] 99000 size 24576
> arch/x86/realmode/init.c
> [    0.000000] percpu: Embedded 38 pages/cpu @ffffa4007fc00000 s116944
> r8192 d30512 u524288
> mm/percpu.c
> [    0.456395] software IO TLB [mem 0xbbfdf000-0xbffdf000] (64MB)
> mapped at [ffffa3fcfbfdf000-ffffa3fcfffdefff]
> lib/swiotlb.c

Yes, I think the solution for a lot of the random device discovery
messages etc is to just remove them. They were likely useful when the
code was new and untested, and just stayed around afterwards.


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