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Date: Thu, 25 Oct 2018 01:52:11 +0300
From: Igor Stoppa <>
To: Tycho Andersen <>
Cc: Mathieu Desnoyers <>,
 Mimi Zohar <>, Kees Cook <>,
 Matthew Wilcox <>, Dave Chinner <>,
 James Morris <>, Michal Hocko <>,,,, igor stoppa <>,
 Dave Hansen <>, Jonathan Corbet <>,
 Laura Abbott <>, Thomas Gleixner <>,
 Kate Stewart <>,
 "David S. Miller" <>,
 Greg Kroah-Hartman <>,
 Philippe Ombredanne <>,
 "Paul E. McKenney" <>,
 Josh Triplett <>, rostedt <>,
 Lai Jiangshan <>,
 linux-kernel <>
Subject: Re: [PATCH 14/17] prmem: llist, hlist, both plain and rcu

On 24/10/2018 17:56, Tycho Andersen wrote:
> On Wed, Oct 24, 2018 at 05:03:01PM +0300, Igor Stoppa wrote:
>> On 24/10/18 14:37, Mathieu Desnoyers wrote:
>>> Also, is it the right approach to duplicate existing APIs, or should we
>>> rather hook into page fault handlers and let the kernel do those "shadow"
>>> mappings under the hood ?
>> This question is probably a good candidate for the small Q&A section I have
>> in the 00/17.
>>> Adding a new GFP flags for dynamic allocation, and a macro mapping to
>>> a section attribute might suffice for allocation or definition of such
>>> mostly-read-only/seldom-updated data.
>> I think what you are proposing makes sense from a pure hardening standpoint.
>>  From a more defensive one, I'd rather minimise the chances of giving a free
>> pass to an attacker.
>> Maybe there is a better implementation of this, than what I have in mind.
>> But, based on my current understanding of what you are describing, there
>> would be few issues:
>> 1) where would the pool go? The pool is a way to manage multiple vmas and
>> express common property they share. Even before a vma is associated to the
>> pool.
>> 2) there would be more code that can seamlessly deal with both protected and
>> regular data. Based on what? Some parameter, I suppose.
>> That parameter would be the new target.
>> If the code is "duplicated", as you say, the actual differences are baked in
>> at compile time. The "duplication" would also allow to have always inlined
>> functions for write-rare and leave more freedom to the compiler for their
>> non-protected version.
>> Besides, I think the separate wr version also makes it very clear, to the
>> user of the API, that there will be a price to pay, in terms of performance.
>> The more seamlessly alternative might make this price less obvious.
> What about something in the middle, where we move list to list_impl.h,
> and add a few macros where you have list_set_prev() in prlist now, so
> we could do,
> // prlist.h
> #define list_set_next(head, next) wr_ptr(&head->next, next)
> #define list_set_prev(head, prev) wr_ptr(&head->prev, prev)
> #include <linux/list_impl.h>
> // list.h
> #define list_set_next(next) (head->next = next)
> #define list_set_next(prev) (head->prev = prev)
> #include <linux/list_impl.h>
> I wonder then if you can get rid of some of the type punning too? It's
> not clear exactly why that's necessary from the series, but perhaps
> I'm missing something obvious :)

nothing obvious, probably there is only half a reference in the slides I 
linked-to in the cover letter :-)

So far I have minimized the number of "intrinsic" write rare functions,
mostly because I would want first to reach an agreement on the 
implementation of the core write-rare.

However, once that is done, it might be good to convert also the prlists 
to be "intrinsics". A list node is 2 pointers.
If that was the alignment, i.e. __align(sizeof(list_head)), it might be 
possible to speed up a lot the list handling even as write rare.

Taking as example the insertion operation, it would be probably 
sufficient, in most cases, to have only two remappings:
- one covering the page with the latest two nodes
- one covering the page with the list head

That is 2 vs 8 remappings, and a good deal of memory barriers less.

This would be incompatible with what you are proposing, yet it would be 
justifiable, I think, because it would provide better performance to 
prlist, potentially widening its adoption, where performance is a concern.

> I also wonder how much the actual differences being baked in at
> compile time makes. Most (all?) of this code is inlined.

If the inlined function expects to receive a prlist_head *, instead of a 
list_head *, doesn't it help turning runtime bugs into buildtime bugs?

Or maybe I miss your point?


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