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SubjectRe: [REGRESSION] x86/entry: TIF_SINGLESTEP handling is still broken
On Sun, Jan 31, 2021 at 2:20 PM Andy Lutomirski <> wrote:
> A smallish test that we could stick in selftests would be great if that’s straightforward.

Side note: it would be good to have a test-case for the interaction
with the "block step" code too.

I hate our name for it ("block step"?), but it modifies TF, to only
trap on taken branches, not after each instruction.

So there's all these things that interact:

- you can set TF yourself in user space with 'popf' and get a debug
signal (not after the popf, but after the instruction _after_ popf,

- you can set TF as a debugger and that's basically what
TIF_SINGLESTEP fundamentally means

- we have TIF_FORCED_TF, which says whether TF was set by ptrace, or
whether it was already set independently by the application before
ptrace, so that we can know whether to clear it or keep it set *after*
the single-step.

- you can then *modify* the behavior of TF to trap only on control
flow changes (and we use TIF_BLOCKSTEP to specify that behavior)

- and there's also obviously some very subtle and unclear rules about
when system call instructions cause debug traps

The basic TF behavior is fairly simple: it caused #DB, and we send a signal.

The "app set TF _itself_, and we want to debug across that event" is a
lot more interesting, but it's unclear whether anybody does it. It's
really just a "we want to be able to debug that case too", and
TIF_FORCED_TF means that it should be possible.

I didn't test that it works, though. Sounds worth a test-case?

The TIF_BLOCKSTEP thing changes no other logic, but basically sets the
bit in the MSR that modifies just when TF traps. I may hate the name,
but I think it works.

The odd system call tracing part I have no idea who depends on it
(apparently "rr", which I assume is some replay thing), and I suspect
our semantics for it has been basically random historical one, and
it's apparently what changed.

That's the one that we _really_ should have a test-case for, along
with some documentation and code comment what the actual semantics
need to be so that we don't break it again.


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