[PATCH] Correct the race condition in aarch64_insn_patch_text_sync()

William Cohen wcohen at redhat.com
Mon Nov 10 08:36:02 PST 2014

When experimenting with patches to provide kprobes support for aarch64
smp machines would hang when inserting breakpoints into kernel code.
The hangs were caused by a race condition in the code called by
aarch64_insn_patch_text_sync().  The first processor in the
aarch64_insn_patch_text_cb() function would patch the code while other
processors were still entering the function and decrementing the
cpu_count field.  This resulted in some processors never observing the
exit condition and exiting the function.  Thus, processors in the
system hung.

The patching function now waits for all processors to enter the
patching function before changing code to ensure that none of the
processors are in code that is going to be patched.  Once all the
processors have entered the function, the last processor to enter the
patching function performs the pathing and signals that the patching
is complete with one last decrement of the cpu_count field to make it

Signed-off-by: William Cohen <wcohen at redhat.com>
 arch/arm64/kernel/insn.c | 10 +++++++---
 1 file changed, 7 insertions(+), 3 deletions(-)

diff --git a/arch/arm64/kernel/insn.c b/arch/arm64/kernel/insn.c
index e007714..e6266db 100644
--- a/arch/arm64/kernel/insn.c
+++ b/arch/arm64/kernel/insn.c
@@ -153,8 +153,10 @@ static int __kprobes aarch64_insn_patch_text_cb(void *arg)
 	int i, ret = 0;
 	struct aarch64_insn_patch *pp = arg;
-	/* The first CPU becomes master */
-	if (atomic_inc_return(&pp->cpu_count) == 1) {
+	/* Make sure all the processors are in this function
+	   before patching the code. The last CPU to this function
+	   does the update. */
+	if (atomic_dec_return(&pp->cpu_count) == 0) {
 		for (i = 0; ret == 0 && i < pp->insn_cnt; i++)
 			ret = aarch64_insn_patch_text_nosync(pp->text_addrs[i],
@@ -163,7 +165,8 @@ static int __kprobes aarch64_insn_patch_text_cb(void *arg)
 		 * which ends with "dsb; isb" pair guaranteeing global
 		 * visibility.
-		atomic_set(&pp->cpu_count, -1);
+		/* Notifiy other processors with an additional decrement. */
+		atomic_dec(&pp->cpu_count);
 	} else {
 		while (atomic_read(&pp->cpu_count) != -1)
@@ -185,6 +188,7 @@ int __kprobes aarch64_insn_patch_text_sync(void *addrs[], u32 insns[], int cnt)
 	if (cnt <= 0)
 		return -EINVAL;
+	atomic_set(&patch.cpu_count, num_online_cpus());
 	return stop_machine(aarch64_insn_patch_text_cb, &patch,

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