[PATCH v17 07/10] mm: introduce memfd_secret system call to create "secret" memory areas

David Hildenbrand david at redhat.com
Mon Feb 22 04:38:10 EST 2021

On 17.02.21 17:19, James Bottomley wrote:
> On Tue, 2021-02-16 at 18:16 +0100, David Hildenbrand wrote:
> [...]
>>>>    The discussion regarding migratability only really popped up
>>>> because this is a user-visible thing and not being able to
>>>> migrate can be a real problem (fragmentation, ZONE_MOVABLE, ...).
>>> I think the biggest use will potentially come from hardware
>>> acceleration.  If it becomes simple to add say encryption to a
>>> secret page with no cost, then no flag needed.  However, if we only
>>> have a limited number of keys so once we run out no more encrypted
>>> memory then it becomes a costly resource and users might want a
>>> choice of being backed by encryption or not.
>> Right. But wouldn't HW support with configurable keys etc. need more
>> syscall parameters (meaning, even memefd_secret() as it is would not
>> be sufficient?). I suspect the simplistic flag approach might not
>> be sufficient. I might be wrong because I have no clue about MKTME
>> and friends.
> The theory I was operating under is key management is automatic and
> hidden, but key scarcity can't be, so if you flag requesting hardware
> backing then you either get success (the kernel found a key) or failure
> (the kernel is out of keys).  If we actually want to specify the key
> then we need an extra argument and we *must* have a new system call.
>> Anyhow, I still think extending memfd_create() might just be good
>> enough - at least for now.
> I really think this is the wrong approach for a user space ABI.  If we
> think we'll ever need to move to a separate syscall, we should begin
> with one.  The pain of trying to shift userspace from memfd_create to a
> new syscall would be enormous.  It's not impossible (see clone3) but
> it's a pain we should avoid if we know it's coming.

Sorry for the late reply, there is just too much going on :)

*If* we ever realize we need to pass more parameters we can easily have 
a new syscall for that purpose. *Then*, we know how that syscall will 
look like. Right now, it's just pure speculation.

Until then, going with memfd_create() works just fine IMHO.

The worst think that could happen is that we might not be able to create 
all fancy sectremem flavors in the future via memfd_create() but only 
via different, highly specialized syscall. I don't see a real problem 
with that.


David / dhildenb

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