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Date: Wed, 26 Jun 2019 17:50:41 -0400
From: Joel Fernandes <>
To: Peter Zijlstra <>
Cc: Jann Horn <>,
	kernel list <>,
	Oleg Nesterov <>,
	Mathieu Desnoyers <>,
	Matthew Wilcox <>,
	Will Deacon <>,
	"Paul E . McKenney" <>,
	Elena Reshetova <>,
	Kees Cook <>,
	kernel-team <>,
	Kernel Hardening <>,
	Andrew Morton <>,
	"Eric W. Biederman" <>,
	Greg Kroah-Hartman <>,
	Michal Hocko <>
Subject: Re: [PATCH RFC v2] Convert struct pid count to refcount_t

On Tue, Jun 25, 2019 at 09:34:07AM +0200, Peter Zijlstra wrote:
> On Mon, Jun 24, 2019 at 09:10:15PM +0200, Jann Horn wrote:
> > That part of the documentation only talks about cases where you have a
> > control dependency on the return value of the refcount operation. But
> > refcount_inc() does not return a value, so this isn't relevant for
> > refcount_inc().
> > 
> > Also, AFAIU, the control dependency mentioned in the documentation has
> > to exist *in the caller* - it's just pointing out that if you write
> > code like the following, you have a control dependency between the
> > refcount operation and the write:
> > 
> >     if (refcount_inc_not_zero(&obj->refcount)) {
> >       WRITE_ONCE(obj->x, y);
> >     }
> > 
> > For more information on the details of this stuff, try reading the
> > section "CONTROL DEPENDENCIES" of Documentation/memory-barriers.txt.
> IIRC the argument went as follows:
>  - if you use refcount_inc(), you've already got a stable object and
>    have ACQUIRED it otherwise, typically through locking.
>  - if you use refcount_inc_not_zero(), you have a semi stable object
>    (RCU), but you still need to ensure any changes to the object happen
>    after acquiring a reference, and this is where the control dependency
>    comes in as Jann already explained.
> Specifically, it would be bad to allow STOREs to happen before we know
> the refcount isn't 0, as that would be a UaF.
> Also see the comment in lib/refcount.c.

Thanks a lot for the explanations and the pointers to the comment in
lib/refcount.c . It makes it really clearly.

Also, does this patch look good to you? If so and if ok with you, could you
Ack it? The patch is not really "RFC" but I still tagged it as such since I
wanted to have this discussion.


- Joel

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