RFC: backport of commit a32c1c61212d

Greg Kroah-Hartman gregkh at linuxfoundation.org
Tue Sep 1 10:00:18 EDT 2020

On Tue, Aug 25, 2020 at 03:58:27PM -0700, Doug Berger wrote:
> I recently tracked down a problem I observed when booting a v5.4 kernel
> on a sparsemem UMA arm platform which includes a no-map reserved-memory
> region in the middle of its HighMem zone.
> When memmap_init_zone() is invoked the pfn's that correspond to the
> no-map region fail the early_pfn_valid() check and the struct page
> structures are not initialized creating a "hole" in the memmap. Later in
> my boot sequence the sock_init() initcall leads to a bpf_prog_alloc()
> which ends up stealing a page from the block containing the no-map
> region which then leads to a call of move_freepages_block() to
> reclassify the migratetype of the entire block.
> The function move_freepages() includes a check of pfn_valid_within for
> each page in the range, but since the arm architecture doesn't include
> HOLES_IN_ZONE this check is optimized out and the uninitialized struct
> page is accessed. Specifically, PageLRU() calls compound_head() on the
> page and if the page->compound_head value is odd the value is used as a
> pointer to the head struct page. For uninitialized memory there is a
> high chance that a random value of compound head will be odd and contain
> an invalid pointer value that causes the kernel to abort and panic.
> As you might imagine specifying HOLES_IN_ZONE for the arm build allows
> pfn_valid_within to protect against accessing the uninitialized struct
> page. However, the performance penalty this incurs seems unnecessary.
> Commit 35fd1eb1e821 ("mm/sparse: abstract sparse buffer allocations") as
> part of the "sparse_init rewrite" series introduced in v4.19 changed the
> way sparsemem memmaps are initialized. Prior to this patch the sparsemem
> memmaps are initialized to all 0's. I observed that on older kernels the
> "uninitialized" struct page access also occurs, but the 0
> page->compound_head indicates no compound head and the page pointer is
> therefore not corrupted. The other logic ends up causing the page to be
> skipped and everything "happens to work".
> While considering solutions to this issue I observed that the problem
> does not occur in the current upstream as a result of a combination of
> other commits. The following commits provided functionality to
> initialize struct page structures for pages that are unavailable like
> the no-map region in my system:
> commit a4a3ede2132a ("mm: zero reserved and unavailable struct pages")
> commit 907ec5fca3dc ("mm: zero remaining unavailable struct pages")
> commit ec393a0f014e ("mm: return zero_resv_unavail optimization")
> commit e822969cab48 ("mm/page_alloc.c: fix uninitialized memmaps on a
> partially populated last section")
> commit 4b094b7851bf ("mm/page_alloc.c: initialize memmap of unavailable
> memory directly")
> However, those commits added the functionality to the free_area_init()
> and free_area_init_nodes() functions and the non-NUMA arm architecture
> did not begin calling free_area_init() until the following commit in v5.8:
> commit a32c1c61212d ("arm: simplify detection of memory zone boundaries")
> Prior to that commit the non-NUMA arm architecture called
> free_area_init_node() directly at the end of zone_sizes_init().
> So while the problem appears to be fixed upstream by commit a32c1c61212d
> ("arm: simplify detection of memory zone boundaries") it is still
> present in stable branches between v4.19.y and v5.7.y inclusive and
> probably for architectures other than arm as well that didn't call
> free_area_init(). This upstream commit is not easily/safely backportable
> to stable branches, but if we focus on the sliver of functionality that
> adds the initialization code from free_area_init() to the
> zones_sizes_init() function used by non-NUMA arm kernels I believe a
> simple patch could be developed for each relevant stable branch to
> resolve the issue I am observing. Similar patches could also be applied
> for other architectures that now call free_area_init() upstream but not
> in one of these stable branches, but I am not in a position to test
> those architectures.
> For the linux-5.4.y branch such a patch might look like this:
> >From 671c341b5cdb8360349c33ade43115e28ca56a8a Mon Sep 17 00:00:00 2001
> From: Doug Berger <opendmb at gmail.com>
> Date: Tue, 25 Aug 2020 14:39:43 -0700
> Subject: [PATCH] ARM: mm: sync zone_sizes_init with free_area_init
> The arm architecture does not invoke the common function
> free_area_init(). Instead for non-NUMA builds it invokes
> free_area_init_node() directly from zone_sizes_init().
> As a result recent changes in free_area_init() are not
> picked up by arm architecture builds.
> This commit adds the updates to the zone_sizes_init()
> function to achieve parity with the free_area_init()
> functionality.
> Fixes: 35fd1eb1e821 ("mm/sparse: abstract sparse buffer allocations")
> Signed-off-by: Doug Berger <opendmb at gmail.com>
> Cc: stable at vger.kernel.org
> ---
>  arch/arm/mm/init.c | 1 +
>  1 file changed, 1 insertion(+)
> diff --git a/arch/arm/mm/init.c b/arch/arm/mm/init.c
> index 6f19ba53fd1f..4f171d834c60 100644
> --- a/arch/arm/mm/init.c
> +++ b/arch/arm/mm/init.c
> @@ -169,6 +169,7 @@ static void __init zone_sizes_init(unsigned long
> min, unsigned long max_low,
>                         arm_dma_zone_size >> PAGE_SHIFT);
>  #endif
> +       zero_resv_unavail();
>         free_area_init_node(0, zone_size, min, zhole_size);
>  }
> -- 
> 2.7.4
> I am unclear of the mechanics for submitting such a stable patch when it
> represents a perhaps less than obvious sliver of the upstream commit
> that fixes the issue, so I am soliciting guidance with this email.
> Thank you for taking the time to read this far, and please let me know
> how I can improve the situation,

I'm confused, what exactly are you asking for here?  Is there a specific
commit you wish to see backported to the 5.4 kernel, or are you trying
to say you want something that is not in Linus's tree, backported


greg k-h

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