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SubjectRe: [RFC PATCH 0/2] x86: Fix missing core serialization on migration

On 11/13/2017 06:56 PM, Mathieu Desnoyers wrote:
> ----- On Nov 10, 2017, at 4:57 PM, Mathieu Desnoyers wrote:
>> ----- On Nov 10, 2017, at 4:36 PM, Linus Torvalds
>> wrote:
>>> On Fri, Nov 10, 2017 at 1:12 PM, Mathieu Desnoyers
>>> <> wrote:
>>>> x86 can return to user-space through sysexit and sysretq, which are not
>>>> core serializing. This breaks expectations from user-space about
>>>> sequential consistency from a single-threaded self-modifying program
>>>> point of view in specific migration patterns.
>>>> Feedback is welcome,
>>> We should check with Intel. I would actually be surprised if the I$
>>> can be out of sync with the D$ after a sysretq. It would actually
>>> break things like "read code from disk" too in theory.
>> That core serializing instruction is not that much about I$ vs D$
>> consistency, but rather about the processor speculatively executing code
>> ahead of its retirement point. Ref. Intel Architecture Software Developer's
>> Manual, Volume 3: System Programming.
>> 7.1.3. "Handling Self- and Cross-Modifying Code":
>> "The act of a processor writing data into a currently executing code segment
>> with the intent of
>> executing that data as code is called self-modifying code. Intel Architecture
>> processors exhibit
>> model-specific behavior when executing self-modified code, depending upon how
>> far ahead of
>> the current execution pointer the code has been modified. As processor
>> architectures become
>> more complex and start to speculatively execute code ahead of the retirement
>> point (as in the P6
>> family processors), the rules regarding which code should execute, pre- or
>> post-modification,
>> become blurred. [...]"
>> AFAIU, this core serializing instruction seems to be needed for use-cases of
>> self-modifying code, but not for the initial load of a program from disk,
>> as the processor has no way to have speculatively executed any of its
>> instructions.
> I figured out what you're pointing to: if exec() is executed by a previously
> running thread, and there is no core serializing instruction between program
> load and return to user-space, the kernel ends up acting like a JIT, indeed.

I think that's safe. The kernel has to execute a MOV CR3 instruction
before it can execute code loaded by exec, and that is a serializing
instruction. Loading and unloading shared libraries is made safe by the
IRET executed by page faults (loading) and TLB shootdown IPIs (unloading).

Directly modifying code in userspace is unsafe if there is some
non-coherent instruction cache. Instruction fetch and speculative
execution are non-coherent, but they're probably too short (in current
processors) to matter. Trace caches are probably large enough, but I
don't know whether they are coherent or not.

> Therefore, we'd also need to invoke sync_core_before_usermode() after loading
> the program.
> Let's wait to hear back from hpa,
> Thanks,
> Mathieu
>> Hopefully hpa can tell us more about this,
>> Thanks,
>> Mathieu
>> --
>> Mathieu Desnoyers
>> EfficiOS Inc.

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