[PATCH] kexec: force x86_64 arches to boot kdump kernels on boot cpu

Ben Woodard woodard at redhat.com
Tue Nov 27 13:41:15 EST 2007

Eric W. Biederman wrote:
> Andi Kleen <ak at suse.de> writes:
>> his is any less reliable that what we have currently.
>>> It doesn't make things more reliable, and it adds code to a code path
>>> that already has to much code to be solid reliable (thus your
>>> problem). 
>>> Putting the system back in PIC legacy mode on the kexec on panic path
>>> was supposed to be a short term hack until we could remove the need
>>> by always deliver interrupts in apic mode.
>>> If you can't root cause your problem and figure out how the apics
>>> are misconfigured for legacy mode
>> Probably legacy mode always routes to CPU #0. Makes sense and is
>> not really a misconfiguration of legacy mode.

The BIOS and kernel writer's guide for Opteron explicitly states that 
the platform will boot on CPU0 kind of by definition. So this seems like 
a fair statement. I can easily see BIOS writers or hardware designers 
interpreting that to mean that they only have to make sure that 
interrupts get to the CPU that the BIOS thinks of as CPU0 when the APIC 
is in legacy mode.

I have a query out to some SuperMicro engineers to find out if it is a 
hardware limitation or if it is APIC misconfiguration. Maybe we can 
solve this problem with a BIOS update.

> Possible. So far I have not seen a hardware setup that would force
> interrupts to cpu #0 in legacy mode.  But I would not be truly
> surprised if it happened that there was hardware that only worked that
> way.
>> But if CPU #0 has interrupts disabled no interrupts get delivered.
>> So choices are:
>> - Move to CPU #0
>> - Do not use legacy mode during shutdown.
>     (Do not use legacy mode in the kdump kernel. removing it from shutdown
>      is just minor optimization)
>> - Or do not rely on interrupts after enabling legacy mode
>> - Or do not disable interrupts on the other CPUs when they're
>> halted.
>> First and last option are probably unreliable for the kdump case.
>> Second or third sound best. 

I can agree with the fourth option being a very bad one but I really 
haven't seen anything in this discussion which supports the assertion 
that "Move to the CPU that the BIOS originally called CPU#0" is going to 
be unreliable. Admittedly we haven't tried this on every single x86_64 
platform that we have but on the handful that we have tried so far, it 
hasn't been a problem. Why is everybody jumping to the assumption that 
it will be less reliable?

>> I suspect the real fix would be to enable IOAPIC mode really
>> early and never use the timers in legacy mode. Then the kdump
>> kernel wouldn't care about the legacy mode pointing to the wrong CPU.
> Exactly.  If we can work out the details that should be a much more reliable
> mode of operation.
>> IIrc Eric even had  a patch for that a long time ago, but it broke some 
>> things so it wasn't included. But perhaps it should be revisited.
> My real problem was the failure case was obscure (a bad interaction
> with ACPI on Linus's laptop) and I didn't have the time to track it
> down when it showed up.
> My patch had two parts.  Some cleanups to enable the code to be enabled
> early, and the actually early enable.  I figure if we can get the
> cleanups in one major kernel version and then in the next enable
> the apic mode before we start getting interrupts we should be in good
> shape.
> I expect with x86 becoming an embedded platform with multiple cpus we
> may start seeing systems that don't actually support legacy PIC mode
> for interrupt delivery.
> Eric
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