preempted dup_mm misses TLB invalidate

Catalin Marinas catalin.marinas at
Wed Jul 17 15:27:46 EDT 2013

On Mon, Jul 15, 2013 at 07:19:23PM +0100, Nickolas Fortino wrote:
> I’ve noticed an issue in simulation where the Linux kernel is executing 
> a user process when the page tables and TLBs have gotten out of sync. 
> The page tables have a page marked as user read only, but the TLB has 
> the page marked as user read/write.

This happens during fork() for the current process. I think mprotect()
as well. The caller is supposed not to have threads that write its
memory while another thread does a fork().

> I’ve traced the issue back to the handling of copy on write pages 
> generated from the ‘do_fork’, ‘copy_process’, ‘dup_mm’, ‘dup_mmap’ call 
> stack. If run without interruption, ‘dup_mmap’ calls 
> ‘flush_tlb_mm(oldmm)’ on completion, avoiding any issues. In this case, 
> however, about 4 million instructions after ‘dup_mm’ is called, 
> ‘copy_pte_range’ yields to another thread via __cond_resched. About 20 
> million instructions later, a user process with the ASID of the source 
> mm is scheduled.

Why would it have the same ASID? We should not reuse an ASID unless
there was a TLB invalidation for that ASID. If it's a thread of the same
process, I think it's just a user programming bug.

> This process performs a store to a page modified from 
> read/write to read only in the copy on write logic of ‘copy_one_pte’. 
> Because the TLB was not invalidated, the store hits on a TLB entry with 
> read/write permissions and succeeds without a fault.
> What invariant in the Linux kernel is supposed to prevent this from 
> happening? Note I have not observed user visible corruption, but it 
> seems very unlikely a successful store to a page marked as read only in 
> the kernel is safe.

See above. The only workaround would be to stop all the threads of a
process while calling fork(). Threads and fork() are not nice to


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