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SubjectRe: [BUG] x86 kenel won't boot under Virtual PC
On Sun, 31 Aug 2008, David Sanders wrote:
> I recently discovered that x86 kernels won't boot under Virtual PC.On Sun,
31 Aug 2008, David Sanders wrote:

On Sunday 31 August 2008 15:39, Linus Torvalds wrote:
> Well, it could be that Virtual PC raises a #UD exception in the virtual
> machine. In user space, that would just cause the kernel to kill the poor
> innocent victim. But when the kernel gets a #UD exception on what it
> expects to be a nop, it just won't work.

Sorry about the confusion. I was just learning git and applied a couple
patches wrong that lead me to believe I had not found the answer, when in
fact I had. The problem is the multibyte NOP instructions introduced into
the kernel in 2007. For 2.6.24-rc1 reverting the patch (32c464f5) corrects
the problem. But then of course we cannot use these instructions as we would
like. I propose the following patch which adds a boot-time parameter to not
use these multibyte NOPs in systems that are unprepared to deal with them.
The patch disables a optimization used in one place by commenting out some
lines in nop.h. Please comment.

x86: Fix to multibyte NOPs breaking Virtual PC (win)

To be applied to linux-2.6.27-rc5.

Signed-off-by: David Sanders <>

diff --git a/arch/x86/kernel/alternative.c b/arch/x86/kernel/alternative.c
index 2763cb3..6a63e78 100644
--- a/arch/x86/kernel/alternative.c
+++ b/arch/x86/kernel/alternative.c
@@ -58,6 +58,15 @@ static int __init setup_noreplace_paravirt(char *str)
__setup("noreplace-paravirt", setup_noreplace_paravirt);

+static int intel_legacy_nops = 0;
+static int __init setup_intel_legacy_nops(char *str)
+ intel_legacy_nops = 1;
+ return 1;
+__setup("intel-legacy-nops", setup_intel_legacy_nops);
#define DPRINTK(fmt, args...) if (debug_alternative) \
printk(KERN_DEBUG fmt, args)

@@ -165,13 +174,14 @@ static const struct nop {
const unsigned char *const *find_nop_table(void)
const unsigned char *const *noptable = intel_nops;
- int i;
+ int i = 0;

- for (i = 0; noptypes[i].cpuid >= 0; i++) {
+ while (noptypes[i].cpuid >= 0 && !intel_legacy_nops) {
if (boot_cpu_has(noptypes[i].cpuid)) {
noptable = noptypes[i].noptable;
+ i++;
return noptable;
diff --git a/include/asm-x86/nops.h b/include/asm-x86/nops.h
index ad0bedd..a6f0571 100644
--- a/include/asm-x86/nops.h
+++ b/include/asm-x86/nops.h
@@ -84,7 +84,7 @@
#define ASM_NOP6 K7_NOP6
#define ASM_NOP7 K7_NOP7
#define ASM_NOP8 K7_NOP8
-#elif defined(CONFIG_X86_P6_NOP)
+/* #elif defined(CONFIG_X86_P6_NOP)
#define ASM_NOP1 P6_NOP1
#define ASM_NOP2 P6_NOP2
#define ASM_NOP3 P6_NOP3
@@ -93,6 +93,7 @@
#define ASM_NOP6 P6_NOP6
#define ASM_NOP7 P6_NOP7
#define ASM_NOP8 P6_NOP8
#elif defined(CONFIG_X86_64)
#define ASM_NOP1 K8_NOP1
#define ASM_NOP2 K8_NOP2

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