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SubjectRe: [PATCH 0/3] PTI for x86-32 Fixes and Updates

> On Jul 23, 2018, at 2:38 PM, Pavel Machek <> wrote:
>> On Mon 2018-07-23 12:00:08, Linus Torvalds wrote:
>>> On Mon, Jul 23, 2018 at 7:09 AM Pavel Machek <> wrote:
>>> Meanwhile... it looks like gcc is not slowed down significantly, but
>>> other stuff sees 30% .. 40% slowdowns... which is rather
>>> significant.
>> That is more or less expected.
>> Gcc spends about 90+% of its time in user space, and the system calls
>> it *does* do tend to be "real work" (open/read/etc). And modern gcc's
>> no longer have the pipe between cpp and cc1, so they don't have that
>> issue either (which would have sjhown the PTI slowdown a lot more)
>> Some other loads will do a lot more time traversing the user/kernel
>> boundary, and in 32-bit mode you won't be able to take advantage of
>> the address space ID's, so you really get the full effect.
> Understood. Just -- bzip2 should include quite a lot of time in
> userspace, too.
>>> Would it be possible to have per-process control of kpti? I have
>>> some processes where trading of speed for security would make sense.
>> That was pretty extensively discussed, and no sane model for it was
>> ever agreed upon. Some people wanted it per-thread, others per-mm,
>> and it wasn't clear how to set it either and how it should inherit
>> across fork/exec, and what the namespace rules etc should be.
>> You absolutely need to inherit it (so that you can say "I trust this
>> session" or whatever), but at the same time you *don't* want to
>> inherit if you have a server you trust that then spawns user processes
>> (think "I want systemd to not have the overhead, but the user
>> processes it spawns obviously do need protection").
>> It was just a morass. Nothing came out of it. I guess people can
>> discuss it again, but it's not simple.
> I agree it is not easy. OTOH -- 30% of user-visible performance is a
> _lot_. That is worth spending man-years on... Ok, problem is not as
> severe on modern CPUs with address space ID's, but...
> What I want is "if A can ptrace B, and B has pti disabled, A can have
> pti disabled as well". Now.. I see someone may want to have it
> per-thread, because for stuff like javascript JIT, thread may have
> rights to call ptrace, but is unable to call ptrace because JIT
> removed that ability... hmm...

No, you don’t want that. The problem is that Meltdown isn’t a problem that exists in isolation. It’s very plausible that JavaScript code could trigger a speculation attack that, with PTI off, could read kernel memory.

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