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SubjectRe: better patch for linux/bitops.h
On Wed, May 4, 2016 at 10:41 PM, H. Peter Anvin <> wrote:
> On May 4, 2016 6:35:44 PM PDT, Jeffrey Walton <> wrote:
>>On Wed, May 4, 2016 at 5:52 PM, John Denker <> wrote:
>>> On 05/04/2016 02:42 PM, I wrote:
>>>> I find it very odd that the other seven functions were not
>>>> upgraded. I suggest the attached fix-others.diff would make
>>>> things more consistent.
>>> Here's a replacement patch.
>>> ...
>>+1, commit it.
>>Its good for three additional reasons. First, this change means the
>>kernel is teaching the next generation the correct way to do things.
>>Many developers aspire to be kernel hackers, and they sometimes use
>>the code from bitops.h. I've actually run across the code in
>>production during an audit where the developers cited bitops.h.
>>Second, it preserves a "silent and dark" cockpit during analysis. That
>>is, when analysis is run, no findings are generated. Auditors and
>>security folks like quiet tools, much like the way pilots like their
>>cockpits (flashing lights and sounding buzzers usually means something
>>is wrong).
>>Third, the pattern is recognized by the major compilers, so the kernel
>>should not have any trouble when porting any of the compilers. I often
>>use multiple compiler to tease out implementation defined behavior in
>>a effort to achieve greater portability. Here are the citations to
>>ensure the kernel is safe with the pattern:
>> * GCC:
>> * ICC:
>>However, Clang may cause trouble because they don't want the
>>responsibility of recognizing the pattern:
>> *
>>Instead, they provide a defective rotate. The "defect" here is its
>>non-constant time due to the branch, so it may not be suitable for
>>high-integrity or high-assurance code like linux-crypto:
>> *
> So you are actually saying outright that we should sacrifice *actual* portability in favor of *theoretical* portability? What kind of twilight zone did we just step into?!

I'm not sure what you mean. It will be well defined on all platforms.
Clang may not recognize the pattern, which means they could run
slower. GCC and ICC will be fine.

Slower but correct code is what you have to live with until the Clang
dev's fix their compiler.

Its kind of like what Dr. Jon Bentley said: "If it doesn't have to be
correct, I can make it as fast as you'd like it to be".


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