Re: [PATCH v4 5/9] mm: Add write-protect and clean utilities for address space ranges

From: Thomas Hellstrom
Date: Tue Oct 08 2019 - 14:25:25 EST

On 10/8/19 7:07 PM, Linus Torvalds wrote:
> On Tue, Oct 8, 2019 at 2:15 AM Thomas Hellström (VMware)
> <thomas_os@xxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>> Add two utilities to 1) write-protect and 2) clean all ptes pointing into
>> a range of an address space.
> The code looks much simpler and easier to understand now, I think, but
> that also makes some thing more obvious..
>> +static int clean_record_pte(pte_t *pte, unsigned long addr,
>> + unsigned long end, struct mm_walk *walk)
>> +{
>> + struct wp_walk *wpwalk = walk->private;
>> + struct clean_walk *cwalk = to_clean_walk(wpwalk);
>> + pte_t ptent = *pte;
>> +
>> + if (pte_dirty(ptent)) {
>> + pgoff_t pgoff = ((addr - walk->vma->vm_start) >> PAGE_SHIFT) +
>> + walk->vma->vm_pgoff - cwalk->bitmap_pgoff;
>> + pte_t old_pte = ptep_modify_prot_start(walk->vma, addr, pte);
>> +
>> + ptent = pte_mkclean(old_pte);
>> + ptep_modify_prot_commit(walk->vma, addr, pte, old_pte, ptent);
>> +
>> + wpwalk->total++;
>> + wpwalk->tlbflush_start = min(wpwalk->tlbflush_start, addr);
>> + wpwalk->tlbflush_end = max(wpwalk->tlbflush_end,
>> + addr + PAGE_SIZE);
>> +
>> + __set_bit(pgoff, cwalk->bitmap);
> The above looks fundamentally racy.
> You clean the pte in memory, but it remains dirty and writable in the
> TLB, and you only flush it much later.
> So now writes can continue to happen to that page, without it
> necessarily being marked dirty again in the page tables, because all
> the CPU TLB caches say "it's already dirty".
> This may be ok - you've moved the diry bit into that bitmap, and you
> will flush the TLB before then taking action on the bitmap. So you
> haven't really _lost_ any dirty bits, but it still may be worth a
> comment.
> You do have comments about the _other_ issues (ie the whole "If a
> caller needs to make sure all dirty ptes are picked up and none
> additional are added..") but you don't actually have comments about
> the TLB race basically potentially now causing "missing" dirty stuff.
> And this may actually be a big problem on some architectures. Not x86,
> and maybe nothing else, but I have this dim memory of some
> architectures being unhappy due to virtual caches, and writeback when
> the page table entry says it's read-only and clean.
> Our normal "clean pages" is very anal about this, and does
> flush_cache_page(vma, address, pte_pfn(*pte));
> entry = ptep_clear_flush(vma, address, pte);
> entry = pte_wrprotect(entry);
> entry = pte_mkclean(entry);
> set_pte_at(vma->vm_mm, address, pte, entry);
> when it cleans a page, and I note both the cache flush and the
> "clear_flush()" (which invalidates the pte and does a synchronous TLB
> flush) and we have magic semantics for that at least on s390 because
> there are some low-level architecture details wrt flushing TLB entries
> and modifying them.
> End result: I think the code is probably ok in practice because you
> don't mind the slightly fuzzy dirty bit state, and it's _probably_ ok
> on all architectures that use drm for the TLB invalidation side. But I
> think it bears a bit of thinking about.

Yes, there's been some considerable thinking behind this. We do have the
cache flush in the pre_vma callback, and as you mention the TLB flush
happens before we use the bitmap: any pte that may be subject to a race
is recorded in the bitmap, and the guarantee we want to provide with the
function is

a) All ptes that are dirtied before the function starts executing will
be recorded in the bitmap.
b) All ptes dirtied after that will either be recorded in the bitmap,
remain dirty or both.

I probably should add that in the docs.

And the actual writeback happens asynchronously a lot later *should* be
OK, as long as caches are synced for the dma operation. Of course if
this somehow fails on a particular architecture I guess we need to
rethink and use ptep_clear_flush() at least on that architecture.


> Linus