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Date: Wed, 10 Dec 2014 13:27:24 -0500
From: Daniel Micay <>
To: Steve Grubb <>,
Subject: Re: Offset2lib: bypassing full ASLR on 64bit Linux

On 10/12/14 11:11 AM, Steve Grubb wrote:
> On Tuesday, December 09, 2014 03:24:39 PM Daniel Micay wrote:
>>> I studied this area 2 years ago for a gray hat talk and in preparation to
>>> help  set the policy going forward for Fedora and RHEL. The general
>>> reason I've heard mentioned about why its not used as fully as possible
>>> is that it adds memory pages that can't be coalesced or consolidated
>>> because they are not the same.
>> AFAIK, it doesn't cause a significant increase in memory usage. The
>> whole point of position independent code is that it can be reused across
>> processes. Dynamic libraries are already fully position independent.
> This was the issue as I remember it, when you use PIE, it introduces a 
> writable memory segment for the indirection that is filled in lazily. Because 
> this is writeable it is per process. It is also per DSO. With desktop apps 
> linking against a 60 or so libraries and an average of 150 apps running at any 
> time, the memory used starts to really add up. Server workloads tend to have 
> apps with less libraries linked in but many more processes active.
> Of course today systems are starting to ship with 16GB standard, but now we 
> add virtualization work loads and you have dozens more of the above. I think 
> this institutional memory of the old days kind of hinders any movement. We had 
> an internal debate of this on bz 786915 (which is not 100% open). The start up 
> performance never really a factor in the discussions. It was purely about 
> "wasted" memory.

The GOT/PLT is still there without PIE. You can blame features like
LD_PRELOAD for this, not ASLR. Every library is already paying the costs
of PIE and more (-fpie / -fPIE is a subset of -fpic / -fPIC).

Before the recent GCC / binutils improvements, PIE would result in GOT
usage for every global just like PIC. The changes eliminate the need for
that so past measurements (which usually indicate a 0-3% perf hit) won't
be valid anymore.

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