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Subject[RFC 4/5] livepatch: Documentation of the new API for tracking system state changes
Documentation explaining the motivation, capabilities, and usage
of the new API for tracking system state changes.

Signed-off-by: Petr Mladek <>
Documentation/livepatch/index.rst | 1 +
Documentation/livepatch/system-state.rst | 80 ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
2 files changed, 81 insertions(+)
create mode 100644 Documentation/livepatch/system-state.rst

diff --git a/Documentation/livepatch/index.rst b/Documentation/livepatch/index.rst
index edd291d51847..94bbbc2c8993 100644
--- a/Documentation/livepatch/index.rst
+++ b/Documentation/livepatch/index.rst
@@ -9,6 +9,7 @@ Kernel Livepatching

+ system-state
diff --git a/Documentation/livepatch/system-state.rst b/Documentation/livepatch/system-state.rst
new file mode 100644
index 000000000000..3a35073a0b80
--- /dev/null
+++ b/Documentation/livepatch/system-state.rst
@@ -0,0 +1,80 @@
+System State Changes
+Some users are really reluctant to reboot a system. This brings the need
+to provide more livepatches and maintain some compatibility between them.
+Maintaining more livepatches is much easier with cumulative livepatches.
+Each new livepatch completely replaces any older one. It can keep,
+add, and even remove fixes. And it is typically safe to replace any version
+of the livepatch with any other one thanks to the atomic replace feature.
+The problems might come with shadow variables and callbacks. They might
+change the system behavior or state so that it is not longer safe to
+go back and use an older livepatch or the original kernel code. Also
+any new livepatch must be able to detect what changes have already been
+done by the already installed livepatches.
+This is where the livepatch system state tracking gets useful. It
+allows to:
+ - store data needed to manipulate and restore the system state
+ - define compatibility between livepatches using a change id
+ and version
+1. Livepatch system state API
+The state of the system might get modified either by several livepatch callbacks
+or by the newly used code. Also it must be possible to find changes done by
+already installed livepatches.
+Each modified state is described by struct klp_state, see
+Each livepatch defines an array of struct klp_states. They mention
+all states that the livepatch modifies.
+The livepatch author must define the following two fields for each
+struct klp_state:
+ - *id*
+ - Non-zero number used to identify the affected system state.
+ - *version*
+ - Number describing the variant of the system state change that
+ is supported by the given livepatch.
+The state can be manipulated using two functions:
+ - *klp_get_state(patch, id)*
+ - Get struct klp_state associated with the given livepatch
+ and state id.
+ - *klp_get_prev_state(id)*
+ - Get struct klp_state associated with the given feature id and
+ already installed livepatches.
+1. Livepatch compatibility
+The system state version is used to prevent loading incompatible livepatches.
+The check is done when the livepatch is enabled. The rules are:
+ - Any completely new system state modification is allowed.
+ - System state modifications with the same or higher version are allowed
+ for already modified system states.
+ - Cumulative livepatches must handle all system state modifications from
+ already installed livepatches.
+ - Non-cumulative livepatches are allowed to touch already modified
+ system states.
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