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SubjectRe: [PATCH] perf/x86: check ucode before disabling PEBS on SandyBridge
On Tue, 12 Jun 2012, Borislav Petkov wrote:
> I'd guess this is still there to support mixed ucode revisions for some

It is still there because of the stable ABI rules. As far as I can tell,
it was a crap interface when it got in, and it still is a crap interface
now because there simply isn't any sane usercase that requires it, it is
dangerous as implemented right now (at least in the Intel case), and even
if we fixed the kernel to do the right thing, userspace would not be able
to know that and would still need to request 1 microcode refresh per core.

As far as I know, we always want to refresh the microcode on every core,
use the firmware interface to pick up a copy of the newest version of the
microcode matching the signature of each core, and leave no core behind
without an update.

And preferably, we want to request_firmware() only once per microcode,
which is rather easy to do: cache every microcode that will be needed,
check cache first before doing request_firmware() in the per-core worker
threads, and invalidate the cache when the user requests
"refresh_all_microcode". So, the cache speeds up multi-core updates, and
is also usable when restoring the system from suspend/hibernation, but
doesn't get in the way of userspace trying to apply a microcode update.

This would make my pathetic system do one request_firmware instead of
eight. And even the old junk with mixed-stepping SMP at work would only
require two, instead of four (or eight? I don't recall how many cores per
die it has) request_firmware calls.

> described above. Maybe this interface should be behind a family, model
> check or so, so that users don't shoot themselves in the foot but it is
> root-only anyway.

This interface should _DIE_.

Perhaps we could make it work only for CPU 0 and return EBUSY or whatever
for all others (or just don't publish the sysfs attribute for the others),
and change the CPU0 refresh firmware request into a refresh all cores call.
We could then add a new sysfs attribute to cleanly do the update-all-cores
request. That should take care of old userspace, and let the distros
deploy faster userspace without any fuss...

"One disk to rule them all, One disk to find them. One disk to bring
them all and in the darkness grind them. In the Land of Redmond
where the shadows lie." -- The Silicon Valley Tarot
Henrique Holschuh

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