Re: [PATCH] x86/kbuild: enable modversions for symbols exported from asm

From: Hannes Frederic Sowa
Date: Thu Dec 15 2016 - 08:15:42 EST

On 15.12.2016 13:03, Nicholas Piggin wrote:
> On Thu, 15 Dec 2016 12:19:02 +0100
> Hannes Frederic Sowa <hannes@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>> On 15.12.2016 03:06, Nicholas Piggin wrote:
>>> On Wed, 14 Dec 2016 15:04:36 +0100
>>> Hannes Frederic Sowa <hannes@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>>>> On 09.12.2016 17:03, Greg Kroah-Hartman wrote:
>>>>> On Sat, Dec 10, 2016 at 01:56:53AM +1000, Nicholas Piggin wrote:
>>>>>> On Fri, 9 Dec 2016 15:36:04 +0100
>>>>>> Stanislav Kozina <skozina@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>>>>>>>>>>> The question is how to provide a similar guarantee if a different way?
>>>>>>>>>> As a tool to aid distro reviewers, modversions has some value, but the
>>>>>>>>>> debug info parsing tools that have been mentioned in this thread seem
>>>>>>>>>> superior (not that I've tested them).
>>>>>>>>> On the other hand the big advantage of modversions is that it also
>>>>>>>>> verifies the checksum during runtime (module loading). In other words, I
>>>>>>>>> believe that any other solution should still generate some form of
>>>>>>>>> checksum/watermark which can be easily checked for compatibility on
>>>>>>>>> module load.
>>>>>>>>> It should not be hard to add to the DWARF based tools though. We'd just
>>>>>>>>> parse DWARF data instead of the C code.
>>>>>>>> A runtime check is still done, with per-module vermagic which distros
>>>>>>>> can change when they bump the ABI version. Is it really necessary to
>>>>>>>> have more than that (i.e., per-symbol versioning)?
>>>>>>> From my point of view, it is. We need to allow changing ABI for some
>>>>>>> modules while maintaining it for others.
>>>>>>> In fact I think that there should be version not only for every exported
>>>>>>> symbol (in the EXPORT_SYMBOL() sense), but also for every public type
>>>>>>> (in the sense of eg. structure defined in the public header file).
>>>>>> Well the distro can just append _v2, _v3 to the name of the function
>>>>>> or type if it has to break compat for some reason. Would that be enough?
>>>>> There are other ways that distros can work around when upstream "breaks"
>>>>> the ABI, sometimes they can rename functions, and others they can
>>>>> "preload" structures with padding in anticipation for when/if fields get
>>>>> added to them. But that's all up to the distros, no need for us to
>>>>> worry about that at all :)
>>>> The _v2 and _v3 functions are probably the ones that also get used by
>>>> future backports in the distro kernel itself and are probably the reason
>>>> for the ABI change in the first place. Thus going down this route will
>>>> basically require distros to touch every future backport patch and will
>>>> in general generate a big mess internally.
>>> What kind of big mess? You have to check the logic of each backport even
>>> if it does apply cleanly, so the added overhead of the name change should
>>> be relatively tiny, no?
>> Basically single patches are backported in huge series. Reviewing each
>> single patch also definitely makes sense, a review of the series as a
>> whole is much more worthwhile because it focuses more on logic.
>> The patches themselves are checked by individual robots or humans
>> against merge conflict introduced mistakes which ring alarm bells for
>> people to look more closely during review.
>> Merge conflicts introduced mistakes definitely can happen because
>> developers/backporters lose the focus from the actual logic but deal
>> with shifting lines around or just fixing up postfixes to function names.
>> We still try to align the kernel as much as possible with upstream,
>> because most developers can't really hold the differences between
>> upstream and the internal functions in their heads (is this function RMW
>> safe in this version but not that kernel version...).
> I agree with all this, but in the case of a function rename, you can
> automate it all with scripts if that's what you want.
> When you have your list of exported symbols with non-zero version number,
> then you can script that __abivXXX into the changeset applying process,
> or alternatively apply the rename after your patches are applied, or
> use the c preprocessor to define names to something else.

Yes, probably one could come up with coccinelle patches to do this,
preprocessing/string matching could have false positives. But as I wrote
above, we need one stable ABI and not multiple for our particular
kernels, so it seems like a lot of overhead to rename particular
functions internally all the time to make them inaccessible for external

>> Anyway, I don't think we will at any time have multiple versions of a
>> function exported to 3rd party kernel modules. The headaches are just
>> too big. Basically we would have to version structs and not functions
>> (this is our bigger problem), thus exporting new versions of functions
>> don't really help at all. Having multiple versions of structs really
>> scares me. ;)
>> We already pad structs to allow for additional struct members to be
>> added, which helps a lot.
>> If versioning of function symbols would be an issue we probably would
>> have switched to ELF function versioning (like glibc does it) long time ago.
>>>> I think it is important to keep versioning information outside of the
>>>> source code. Some kind of modversions will still be required, but
>>>> distros should be able to decide if they put in some kind of checksum or
>>>> a string, what suites them most.
>>> The module crc symbols are just an integer that requires a match, so it
>>> could easily be populated by a list that the distro keeps, rather than
>>> by genksyms. Most of the complexity is on the build side, so that would
>>> still be an improvement for the kernel. So we *could* do this if the
>>> distros need it.
>> Like Don also already said, genksyms already did a pretty good job so
>> far. We are right now working with Dodji to come up with a way to
>> replace genksyms, in case people really want to have very specific
>> control about what causes the symbol version to be changed.
> Yeah it's great work, so is Stanislav's checker. I wouldn't mind having
> a kernel-centric checker tool merged in the kernel if it is small,
> maintained, and does a sufficient job for distros.

Yes, I think this needs more experimentation and thought right now
before we can make a decision.

>> Also I wonder what Ben's opinion on this is.. As I understood that he
>> wants to maintain a super-long-term stable kernel with kabi guarantees.
>> Note, what we want is to weaken the check for kabi, by excluding parts
>> of the struct from genksyms with libabigail. For Red Hat genksyms is too
>> strict in the checks.
> Sure, that makes sense.
> So if I understand where we are, moving the ABI compatibility checking
> to one of these tools looks possible. What to do when we have an ABI change
> is not settled, but feeding version numbers explicitly into modversions
> is an option that would be close to what distros do today.


Thanks also,