[PATCH 0/6] arm64: alternatives runtime patching

Will Deacon will.deacon at arm.com
Tue Nov 25 07:29:54 PST 2014

Hi Andre,

On Fri, Nov 14, 2014 at 03:54:06PM +0000, Andre Przywara wrote:
> This series introduces alternatives runtime patching to arm64.
> This allows to patch assembly instruction at runtime to either
> fix hardware bugs or optimize for certain hardware features. Look
> at patch 5/6 for an example on how to use this.
> The code is heavily based on the x86 implementation.
> Currently this is focussed on fixing CPU errata, but in the future
> runtime optimizations for new CPU features are planned.
> Patch 1/6 introduces a new cpu_hwcaps bitmap, which holds kernel
> internal CPU feature flags. Since elf_hwcaps is also a userspace ABI,
> I refrained from tinkering with this (tried this, gets messy).
> Based on bits in this bitmap, in patch 2/6 we provide a macro to
> replace (inline) assembly instructions at runtime with alternative
> instructions. As on x86, those bits go into separate ELF sections.
> The patching is done using stop_machine() to avoid mayhem in SMP.
> Patch 3/6 introduces means to set cpu_hwcaps bits based on detecting
> a certain CPU revision. Currently this is based on the architectural
> bits in the MIDR register, but the code is flexible enough to easily
> introduce more advanced criteria.
> To support a heterogenous CPU setup (e.g. big.LITTLE), we scan all
> CPUs in the system.
> Patch 4 and 5 use the new framework to introduce workarounds for two
> ARM-Cortex errata. Patch 4 introduces some more framework for the
> detection, while patch 5 should be used as a blueprint for how to add
> workarounds for CPU errata in the future.
> Patch 6/6 finally introduces Kconfig entries for the bugs.
> Those are meant to
> a) document the errata and workarounds and
> b) to allow system vendors to remove certain workarounds for custom
> build kernels.
> Though this shouldn't be strictly necessary, experience shows that
> people will do b) anyway and I deem it better to provide official
> means rather than provoking random hacks.

I just merged this and encountered a couple of issues in my testing:

  (1) If patching occurs in a section that is discarded at compile time
      (e.g. .exit.text) then we will fail to link:

      `.exit.text' referenced in section `.altinstructions' of
      drivers/built-in.o: defined in discarded section `.exit.text' of

  (2) No patching occurs for modules

Please can you send me some additional patches on top of your series
to address these problems? The first issue can easily be solved by adding
a new Kconfig entry for the alternative framework, which causes
ARM_EXIT_{KEEP,DISCARD} to change their definitions. The second patch
needs a call from the module loader, in a similar manner to the SMP_ON_UP
patching in arch/arm/.

In the meantime, I've applied the diff below to keep allyesconfig happy.




diff --git a/arch/arm64/kernel/vmlinux.lds.S b/arch/arm64/kernel/vmlinux.lds.S
index 3236727be2b9..9965ec87cbec 100644
--- a/arch/arm64/kernel/vmlinux.lds.S
+++ b/arch/arm64/kernel/vmlinux.lds.S
@@ -11,8 +11,9 @@
 #include "image.h"
-#define ARM_EXIT_KEEP(x)
-#define ARM_EXIT_DISCARD(x)    x
+/* .exit.text needed in case of alternative patching */
+#define ARM_EXIT_KEEP(x)       x
+#define ARM_EXIT_DISCARD(x)

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