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SubjectRe: mmiotrace bug: recursive probe hit
On Thu, Apr 3, 2008 at 11:07 PM, Pekka Paalanen <> wrote:
> Pekka Paalanen <> wrote:
> > C) Vegard mentioned something about per-cpu page tables for kmemcheck.
> > This would be the ultimate solution, because it would solve two problems:
> > - recursive probe hits
> > - missed events due to another cpu disarming the page for single stepping
> > Would it be possible to have a single temporary per-cpu pte?
> >
> > I understood kmemcheck has similar issues. Of course, one could force the
> > system down to a single running CPU, but that feels nasty.

Yes, Ingo Molnar has suggested per-cpu page tables, but that's so far
away from what I am capable of, so unless Ingo wants to do it himself,
I fear it will never be done ;-) [I also believe the resulting code
would be too ugly and too un-useful for the rest of the kernel that it
would probably not ever be merged. But that's a different story.] But
I do think this is the best solution in terms of reliability.

We do indeed limit maxcpus to 1 at run-time if the kernel is compiled
with CONFIG_SMP. kmemcheck is a debugging facility, and as such,
actual multiprocessor support is not critical for the purpose of
kmemcheck, in my opinion. Doesn't the same hold for mmiotrace?

> One more idea:
> D) Emulate the faulting instruction.
> In __ioremap(), do the mapping, but steal it for mmiotrace's personal use,
> and return a bogus mapping that is identifiable in #pf handler. When
> something accesses the bogus mapping, emulate and step over the faulting
> instruction using the stolen IO memory mapping. This would get rid of
> the debug trap and single stepping, and also remove the need to disarm
> the mmio page, which means tracing would work reliably on SMP without
> any page table kludges. This would also remove the yet another instruction
> decoding code that mmiotrace has.
> The catch is the instruction emulation. I see KVM has some emulation code,
> but I cannot understand it without a deep study that would take me weeks.
> Is that general enough to be used, or could it be generalized?
> Mmiotrace, apart from executing the instruction with a modified address,
> would need to extract the type of IO memory access, width and the data
> read/written. And since it is dealing with IO memory, the emulation
> should be very careful to access the hardware exactly like the original
> instruction would have.

I think that would be extremely difficult to do. I am personally
trying to stay as far away from opcode decoding (and recoding!
*shudder*) as possible. I do the minimal decoding for operand sizes,
etc, which I think you do as well in mmiotrace.

> Maybe also kmemcheck could use this approach, since the current approach
> is very much like in mmiotrace: #pf, show page, single step, #db trap,
> hide page.

They are indeed very much the same. I wish somebody had told me about
mmiotrace when I first started working on kmemcheck! :-)

I don't think I can be of much more help than that. Just my opinion on things.

Kind regards,
Vegard Nossum

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