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SubjectRe: Calling syscalls from x86-64 kernel results in a crash on Opteron machines
Constantine Gavrilov wrote:
> Hello:
>
> We have a piece of kernel code that calls some system calls in kernel
> context (from a process with mm and a daemonized kernel thread that does
> not have mm). This works fine on IA64 and i386 architectures.
>
> When I try this on x86-64 kernel on Opteron machines, it results in
> immediate crash. I have tried standard _syscall() macros from
> asm/unistd.h. The system panics when returning from the system call.
> The disassembled code shows that gcc has often a hard time deciding
> which registers (32-bit or 64-bit) it will use. For example, it puts the
> system call number to eax, while it should put it to rax. However, this
> register thing is not a problem. I have tried my own gcc hand-crafted
> inline assembly and glibc inline syscall assembly that results in
> "correct" disassembled code. The result is always the same -- kernel
> crash when calling a function defined by _syscall() macros or when using
> an "inline" block defined by glibc macros.
>
> Attached please find a test module that tries to call the umask() (JUST
> TO DEMONSTRATE a problem) via the syscall machanism. Both methods (the
> _syscall1() marco and GLIBC INLINE_SYCALL() were used.
>
> The assembly dump of the umask() called via _syscall(1) and via
> INLINE_SYSCALL() as well as the disassembly of umask() from glibc are
> provided in a separate attachement. The crash dump (captured with a
> serial console) is provided along with disassembly of the main module
> function.
>
> It seems that segmentation is changed during the syscall and not
> restored properly, or some other REALLY BAD THING happens. The entry.S
> for x86_64 architecture is very informative, but I am not an expert in
> Opteron architecture and I do not know how the syscall instruction is
> supposed to work.
>
> Can someone explain the reason for the crash? Can you think of a
> workaround? Comments and ideas are very welcome (except of the kind that
> it can be implemented in the user space or with a help of a user proxy
> process).

You should never use the unistd.h macros from kernel space. Call
sys_foo() directly. This may mean you have to export it. The reason it
crashes is that the "syscall" opcode used by the x86-64 macros (unlike
the "int $0x80" for i386) causes a fault when already running in kernel
space.

--
Brian Gerst
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