Re: Filtering bits in set_pte_at()

From: Hugh Dickins
Date: Mon Nov 02 2009 - 08:28:16 EST

On Sat, 31 Oct 2009, Benjamin Herrenschmidt wrote:

> Hi folks !
> So I have a little problem on powerpc ... :-)

Thanks a lot for running this by us.

> Due to the way I'm attempting to do my I$/D$ coherency on embedded
> processors, I basically need to "filter out" _PAGE_EXEC in set_pte_at()
> if the page isn't clean (PG_arch_1) and the set_pte_at() isn't caused by
> an exec fault. etc...
> The problem with that approach (current upstream) is that the generic
> code tends not to read back the PTE, and thus still carries around a PTE
> value that doesn't match what was actually written.
> For example, we end up with update_mmu_cache() called with an "entry"
> argument that has _PAGE_EXEC set while we really didn't write it into
> the page tables. This will be problematic when we finally add preloading
> directly into the TLB on those processors. There's at least one other
> fishy case where huetlbfs would carry the PTE value around and later do
> the wrong thing because pte_same() with the loaded one failed.

I've not looked to see if there are more such issues in arch/powerpc
itself, but those instances you mention are the only ones I managed
to find: uses of update_mmu_cache() and that hugetlb_cow() one.

The hugetlb_cow() one involves not set_pte_at() but set_huge_pte_at(),
so you'd want to change that too? And presumably set_pte_at_notify()?
It all seems a lot of tedium, when so very few places are interested
in the pte after they've set it.

> What do you suggest we do here ? Among the options at hand:
> - Ugly but would probably "just work" with the last amount of changes:
> we could make set_pte_at() be a macro on powerpc that modifies it's PTE
> value argument :-) (I -did- warn it was ugly !)

I'm not keen on that one :)

> - Another one slightly less bad that would require more work but mostly
> mechanical arch header updates would be to make set_pte_at() return the
> new value of the PTE, and thus change the callsites to something like:
> entry = set_pte_at(mm, addr, ptep, entry)

I prefer that, but it still seems more trouble than it's worth.

And though I prefer it to set_pte_at(mm, addr, ptep, &entry)
(which would anyway complicate many of the callsites), it might
unnecessarily increase the codesize for all architectures (depends
on whether gcc notices entry isn't used afterwards anyway).

> - Any other idea ? We could use another PTE bit (_PAGE_HWEXEC), in
> fact, we used to, but we are really short on PTE bits nowadays and I
> freed that one up to get _PAGE_SPECIAL... _PAGE_EXEC is trivial to
> "recover" from ptep_set_access_flags() on an exec fault or from the VM
> prot.

No, please don't go ransacking your PTE for a sparish bit.

You're being a very good citizen to want to bring this so forcefully
to the attention of any user of set_pte_at(); but given how few care,
and the other such functions you'd want to change too, am I being
disgracefully lazy to suggest that you simply change the occasional

update_mmu_cache(vma, address, pte);
/* powerpc's set_pte_at might have adjusted the pte */
update_mmu_cache(vma, address, *ptep);

? Which would make no difference to those architectures whose
update_mmu_cache() is an empty macro. And fix the mm/hugetlb.c
instance in a similar way?

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