[lkml]   [2004]   [Jun]   [3]   [last100]   RSS Feed
Views: [wrap][no wrap]   [headers]  [forward] 
Messages in this thread
SubjectRe: [announce] [patch] NX (No eXecute) support for x86, 2.6.7-rc2-bk2
Ingo Molnar wrote:
> * Linus Torvalds <> wrote:
>>>If the NX feature is supported by the CPU then the patched kernel turns
>>>on NX and it will enforce userspace executability constraints such as a
>>>no-exec stack and no-exec mmap and data areas. This means less chance
>>>for stack overflows and buffer-overflows to cause exploits.
>>Just out of interest - how many legacy apps are broken by this? I
>>assume it's a non-zero number, but wouldn't mind to be happily
> in the full install of FC1 and FC2 the number is zero - and Fedora has
> exec-shield which does a couple of things more: it makes the heap
> non-executable as well [this broke X], it randomizes the address-space
> layout and has a 4:4 VM [which broke the Sun JVM].
>>And do we have some way of on a per-process basis say "avoid NX
>>because this old version of Oracle/flash/whatever-binary-thing doesn't
>>run with it"?
> we have three mechanisms for this in Fedora:
> 1) the PT_GNU_STACK flag itself - you can turn executability on/off
> compile-time or even after the fact via the execstack(8) utility
> Jakub wrote. This only affects the stack's executability - if an
> application assumes a non-PROT_EXEC mmap() can be executed it might
> still break with NX - but based on experience with Fedora Core i'd
> say there's almost no such application.
> this method works in 2.6 too, since it supports PT_GNU_STACK. gcc's
> PT_GNU_STACK mechanism is very conservative - e.g. if an application
> does an asm() then gcc assumes that it might rely on stack executability
> and emits the X flag. [applications can then turn this off in the source
> if stack executability is not required.] Likewise, if gcc emits
> trampolines then the X flag is emitted too. (glibc knows about
> PT_GNU_STACK all across - so e.g. if a nonexec stack application
> dlopen()s a library that needs stack executability then glibc makes the
> stack executable on the fly via PROT_GROWSDOWN/GROWSUP.)
> 2) via a runtime method: via the i386 personality. So an application can
> trigger the 'legacy' Linux VM layout by e.g doing 'i386 java
> ./test.class'.
> this is a hack in Fedora - we wanted to have a finegrained runtime
> mechanism just in case. But it would be nice to have this upstream too -
> e.g. via a PERSONALITY_3G?
> 3) via a kernel boot parameter (exec-shield=0)
> with the NX patch this becomes noexec=off [the same flag works on x86_64
> too]. This method is the most inflexible one, and is a last-resort
> thing. (Fedora also has a runtime global switch to turn off the VM
> layout changes.)
> here's a list of applications that we had to fix/work around in Fedora
> when the VM layout changed:
> - emacs _rebuild_. (it coredumps itself during build ... xemacs is OK.)
> - some JDKs. Since they generate code and try to be as fast as possible
> they tend to rely more on VM details than normal applications.
> - X's module loader assumed that brk was executable. (fixed)
> - Wine. (it implements another OS so it's by definition very sensitive
> to layout changes.)

Wine breaks because of the part of exec-shield that relocates shared
libs to low addresses, where the (stripped) Windows binaries expect to
be loaded at. NX stack doesn't affect it.

Brian Gerst
To unsubscribe from this list: send the line "unsubscribe linux-kernel" in
the body of a message to
More majordomo info at
Please read the FAQ at

 \ /
  Last update: 2005-03-22 14:03    [W:0.168 / U:3.480 seconds]
©2003-2018 Jasper Spaans|hosted at Digital Ocean and TransIP|Read the blog|Advertise on this site