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SubjectRe: [Xen-devel] [PATCH 0/2] Remove 32-bit Xen PV guest support
On 15/07/2019 18:28, Andy Lutomirski wrote:
> On Mon, Jul 15, 2019 at 9:34 AM Andi Kleen <> wrote:
>> Juergen Gross <> writes:
>>> The long term plan has been to replace Xen PV guests by PVH. The first
>>> victim of that plan are now 32-bit PV guests, as those are used only
>>> rather seldom these days. Xen on x86 requires 64-bit support and with
>>> Grub2 now supporting PVH officially since version 2.04 there is no
>>> need to keep 32-bit PV guest support alive in the Linux kernel.
>>> Additionally Meltdown mitigation is not available in the kernel running
>>> as 32-bit PV guest, so dropping this mode makes sense from security
>>> point of view, too.
>> Normally we have a deprecation period for feature removals like this.
>> You would make the kernel print a warning for some releases, and when
>> no user complains you can then remove. If a user complains you can't.
> As I understand it, the kernel rules do allow changes like this even
> if there's a complaint: this is a patch that removes what is
> effectively hardware support. If the maintenance cost exceeds the
> value, then removal is fair game. (Obviously we weight the value to
> preserving compatibility quite highly, but in this case, Xen dropped
> 32-bit hardware support a long time ago. If the Xen hypervisor says
> that 32-bit PV guest support is deprecated, it's deprecated.)
> That being said, a warning might not be a bad idea. What's the
> current status of this in upstream Xen?

So personally, I'd prefer to see support stay, but at the end of the day
it is Juergen's choice as the maintainer of the code.

Xen itself has been exclusively 64-bit since Xen 4.3 (released in 2013).

Over time, various features like SMEP/SMAP have been making 32bit PV
guests progressively slower, because ring 1 is supervisor rather than
user.  Things have got even worse with IBRS, to the point at which 32bit
PV guests are starting to run like treacle.

There are no current plans to remove support for 32bit PV guests from
Xen, but it is very much in the category of "you shouldn't be using this
mode any more".


P.S. I don't see 64bit PV guest support going anywhere, because there
are still a number of open performance questions due to the inherent
differences between syscall and vmexit, and the difference EPT/NPT
tables make on cross-domain mappings.

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