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SubjectRe: [PATCH v14 09/11] livepatch: Atomic replace and cumulative patches documentation
On Thu, Nov 29, 2018 at 10:44:29AM +0100, Petr Mladek wrote:
> User documentation for the atomic replace feature. It makes it easier
> to maintain livepatches using so-called cumulative patches.
>
> Signed-off-by: Petr Mladek <pmladek@suse.com>
> ---

Acked-by: Joe Lawrence <joe.lawrence@redhat.com>

> Documentation/livepatch/cumulative-patches.txt | 105 +++++++++++++++++++++++++
> 1 file changed, 105 insertions(+)
> create mode 100644 Documentation/livepatch/cumulative-patches.txt
>
> diff --git a/Documentation/livepatch/cumulative-patches.txt b/Documentation/livepatch/cumulative-patches.txt
> new file mode 100644
> index 000000000000..a8089f7fe306
> --- /dev/null
> +++ b/Documentation/livepatch/cumulative-patches.txt
> @@ -0,0 +1,105 @@
> +===================================
> +Atomic Replace & Cumulative Patches
> +===================================
> +
> +There might be dependencies between livepatches. If multiple patches need
> +to do different changes to the same function(s) then we need to define
> +an order in which the patches will be installed. And function implementations
> +from any newer livepatch must be done on top of the older ones.
> +
> +This might become a maintenance nightmare. Especially if anyone would want
> +to remove a patch that is in the middle of the stack.
> +
> +An elegant solution comes with the feature called "Atomic Replace". It allows
> +to create so called "Cumulative Patches". They include all wanted changes
^^^^^^^^^
re-wording suggestion: "creation of"

> +from all older livepatches and completely replace them in one transition.
> +
> +Usage
> +-----
> +
> +The atomic replace can be enabled by setting "replace" flag in struct klp_patch,
> +for example:
> +
> + static struct klp_patch patch = {
> + .mod = THIS_MODULE,
> + .objs = objs,
> + .replace = true,
> + };
> +
> +Such a patch is added on top of the livepatch stack when enabled.
> +
> +All processes are then migrated to use the code only from the new patch.
> +Once the transition is finished, all older patches are automatically
> +disabled and removed from the stack of patches.
> +
> +Ftrace handlers are transparently removed from functions that are no
> +longer modified by the new cumulative patch.
> +
> +As a result, the livepatch authors might maintain sources only for one
> +cumulative patch. It helps to keep the patch consistent while adding or
> +removing various fixes or features.
> +
> +Users could keep only the last patch installed on the system after
> +the transition to has finished. It helps to clearly see what code is
> +actually in use. Also the livepatch might then be seen as a "normal"
> +module that modifies the kernel behavior. The only difference is that
> +it can be updated at runtime without breaking its functionality.
> +
> +
> +Features
> +--------
> +
> +The atomic replace allows:
> +
> + + Atomically revert some functions in a previous patch while
> + upgrading other functions.
> +
> + + Remove eventual performance impact caused by core redirection
> + for functions that are no longer patched.
> +
> + + Decrease user confusion about stacking order and what code
> + is actually in use.
> +
> +
> +Limitations:
> +------------
> +
> + + Once the operation finishes, there is no straightforward way
> + to reverse it and restore the replaced patches atomically.
> +
> + A good practice is to set .replace flag in any released livepatch.
> + Then re-adding an older livepatch is equivalent to downgrading
> + to that patch. This is safe as long as the livepatches do _not_ do
> + extra modifications in (un)patching callbacks or in the module_init()
> + or module_exit() functions, see below.
> +
> + Also note that the replaced patch can be removed and loaded again
> + only when the transition was not forced.
> +
> +
> + + Only the (un)patching callbacks from the _new_ cumulative livepatch are
> + executed. Any callbacks from the replaced patches are ignored.
> +
> + In other words, the cumulative patch is responsible for doing any actions
> + that are necessary to properly replace any older patch.
> +
> + As a result, it might be dangerous to replace newer cumulative patches by
> + older ones. The old livepatches might not provide the necessary callbacks.
> +
> + This might be seen as a limitation in some scenarios. But it makes the life
^^^^^^^^
s/the life/life

> + easier in many others. Only the new cumulative livepatch knows what
> + fixes/features are added/removed and what special actions are necessary
> + for a smooth transition.
> +
> + In any case, it would be a nightmare to think about the order of
> + the various callbacks and their interactions if the callbacks from all
> + enabled patches were called.
> +
> +
> + + There is no special handling of shadow variables. Livepatch authors
> + must create their own rules how to pass them from one cumulative
> + patch to the other. Especially they should not blindly remove them
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
rewording suggestion: "Especially that they"

> + in module_exit() functions.
> +
> + A good practice might be to remove shadow variables in the post-unpatch
> + callback. It is called only when the livepatch is properly disabled.
> --
> 2.13.7
>

-- Joe

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