Kernel related (?) user space crash at ARM11 MPCore

Jamie Lokier jamie at
Mon Sep 21 16:10:43 EDT 2009

Russell King - ARM Linux wrote:
> On Mon, Sep 21, 2009 at 10:44:23AM +0100, Catalin Marinas wrote:
> > I would still call this I-D cache coherency issue since the two caches
> > have a different view of the RAM but I agree that the D-cache is the one
> > holding the data (with a slight chance for the I-cache not to be in sync
> > with main RAM, though we could treat it separately).
> > 
> > We can sort out the D-cache issue with your approach for cleaning it in
> > the copy_user_highpage() function, but, as I said, we affect the
> > standard CoW mechanism for data pages quite a lot.
> Let me restate my approach more clearly:
> 1. Remember that a VMA has been executable.
> 2. Only do the additional handing if the VMA has been executable.

Sorry, I'm a little confused, and I'm trying to understand what I can
safely assume is reliable when using mprotect.

If the problem is data in the D-cache not being flushed to be read as
data from a text page (i.e. nothing to do with I-cache, it's all about
the D-cache between different mappings), why is the previous
executableness of the VMA relevant to the solution?

And here's a little something:

It's about MIPS, but has an awful lot of things in common with the bug
being discussed in this thread: dynamic linker, constants embedded in
the code, using mprotect rx->rw->rx, missing I-cache flush, only
affects COW, copy_user_highpage(), is worked around by switching the
cache from write-back to write-through...


I found that while searching to see if mprotect rw->rx implies I-cache
flush.  On IRIX it's explicitly documented to, in fact it has
PROT_EXEC_NOFLUSH in case you want to optimise that away :-) Haven't
found anything to confirm or deny it for Linux or anything else,

Hopefully it's clear that munmap of the region, followed by mmap
PROT_READ|PROTE_EXEC to restore the mapping with different permissions
(when it has a backing file) - hopefully it's clear that _that_ will
do the needed I-cache flush.

-- Jamie

More information about the linux-arm-kernel mailing list