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    SubjectRe: [lkcd-devel] Re: What's left over.
    Eric W. Biederman wrote:
    > - Extra care must be taken so what broke the first kernel does
    > not break this one, and so that the shards of the old kernel
    > do not break it.

    For this, you should checksum the data that you've pre-loaded, and
    verify it before rebooting. If the pre-loaded kernel has been hit,
    you just do a normal reboot. (In the case if a bzImage, you'd
    probably fail uncompression anyway.)

    Alternatively, you could also wire this into the uncompression
    functions (i.e. reboot if bzImage or initrd don't uncompress
    cleanly), but this would be more intrusive.

    > - Care must be taken so that loading the second kernel does not
    > erase valuable data that is desirable to place in a crash dump.

    Or copy all "interesting" memory to a safe place before the kexec.
    I don't quite like the idea of building a kernel that "knows" which
    addresses it isn't supposed to touch, and I think being able to use
    the same kernel binary for regular and panic use would be a
    desirable feature.

    Also, firmware may not give you the choice of preserving all memory,
    so you need that "copy memory to a safe place" functionality anyway.
    Furthermore, you most likely want to checksum that memory, too.

    But ... I think you're designing too far ahead. The "load kernel on
    panic" part isn't trivial, and I think it would be better to tackle
    this in a second phase. For now, having a reasonably generic kexec
    mechanism would be all that's needed in term of building blocks.

    > Method 2 (For people with read only roots):
    > - /sbin/delayed_kexec /path/to/new/kernel
    > - Read in the /path/to/new/kernel into anonymous pages

    There's no delayed_kexec in kexec-tools 1.4, so let me gues how
    this would work: as far as I know, there's no way for regular
    user space to create a persistent unreferenced memory object, so
    you'd probably load the data, perhaps mlock the pages, and then
    fork a process that keeps the data in memory. Then, this process
    would probably call sys_kexec upon reception of a signal, or

    Unfortunately, init assumes that it can SIGKILL all non-init
    processes (that is, all processes with PID != 1). Worse yet, this
    assumption makes sense, because walking the process list and
    killing each of them individually would be racy.

    So you'd either have to add this race condition to init, add some
    magic to make this type of killing atomic, teach the kernel that
    your kexec memory keeper process is somehow magic too, or merge
    kexec into init. Not nice.

    > I then use the following algorithm to sort the potential mess out
    > before I jump to the new code.

    I like this approach. It gives you complete freedom of where to
    load data. This also makes it future-proof. But I don't see the
    reason why you couldn't do the same thing with vmalloc. Using
    vmalloc may actually simplify your code a little.

    > Having had time to digest the idea of starting a new kernel on panic
    > I can now make some observations and what I believe it would take to
    > make it as robust as possible.

    That pretty much sums it up, yes. But as I've said, this isn't
    really something that needs to be implemented at the same time
    as the basic kexec functionality. A two-phase kexec with
    unrestricted copying capabilities should be a good enough
    building block that only minor changes, if any, would be needed
    when adding kexec-on-panic.

    > And now I go back to the silly exercise of factoring my code so the
    > new kernel can be kept in locked kernel memory, instead of in a file
    > while the shutdown scripts are run.

    Not silly :-)

    - Werner

    / Werner Almesberger, Buenos Aires, Argentina /
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