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SubjectRe: [PATCH 0/3] ftrace: Introduce PERMANENT ftrace_ops flag
On Wed, 9 Oct 2019 13:22:34 +0200
Petr Mladek <> wrote:

> > Hi Miroslav,
> >
> > I wonder if the opposite would be more intuitive: when ftrace_enabled is
> > not set, don't allow livepatches to register ftrace filters and
> > likewise, don't allow ftrace_enabled to be unset if any livepatches are
> > already registered. I guess you could make an argument either way, but
> > just offering another option. Perhaps livepatches should follow similar
> > behavior of other ftrace clients (like perf probes?)
> I am not sure that I understand it correctly.
> ftrace_enables is a global flag. My expectation is that it can be
> manipulated at any time. But it should affect only ftrace handlers

No, it should affect *all* ftrace_ops (which it currently does). The
addition of the "PERMANENT" flag was going to change that to what you
are saying here. But thinking about this more, I believe that is the
wrong approach.

> By other words, the handlers with FTRACE_OPS_FL_PERMANENT flag and
> only these handlers should ignore the global flag.
> To be even more precise. If a function has registered more ftrace
> handlers then the global ftrace_enable setting shold affect only
> the handlers without the flag.
> Is this the plan, please?

I think Joe's approach is much easier to understand and implement. The
"ftrace_enabled" is a global flag, and affects all things ftrace (the
function bindings). What this patch was doing, was what you said. Make
ftrace_enabled only affect the ftrace_ops without the "PERMANENT" flag
set. But that is complex and requires a bit more accounting in the
ftrace system. Something I think we should try to avoid.

What we are now proposing, is that if "ftrace_enabled" is not set, the
register_ftrace_function() will fail if the ftrace_ops passed to it has
the PERMANENT flag set (which would cause live patching to fail to
load). It also means that if ftrace_enabled was set, and we load a
ftrace_ops with the PERMANENT flag set, and the user tries to clear
ftrace_enabled, that operation will fail. That is, you will not be able
to clear ftrace_enabled if a ftrace_ops is loaded with the PERMANENT
flag set.

You will need to have your live kernel patching user space tooling make
sure that ftrace_enabled is set before loading, but that shouldn't be a

Does that make sense?

-- Steve

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