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SubjectRe: Livepatch vs LTO
On Thu, Apr 25, 2019 at 02:22:23PM -0400, Joe Lawrence wrote:
> On 4/25/19 11:26 AM, Josh Poimboeuf wrote:
> > Hi all,
> >
> > On IRC, Peter expressed some concern about -flive-patching, specifically
> > that the flag isn't compatible with LTO.
> >
> > The upstream kernel currently doesn't support LTO, but Android is using
> > it with LLVM:
> >
> >
> >
> > And there seems to be progress being made in that direction for
> > upstream.
> >
> > Live patching has at least the following issues with LTO:
> >
> > - For source-based patch generation (klp-convert and friends), the GCC
> > manual says that -flive-patching is incompatible with LTO. Does
> > anybody know if that's a hard incompatibility, or can it be fixed?
> >
> > Also, what about the performance implications of this flag with LTO?
> > Might they become more pronounced?
> >
> > Also I wonder if -fdump-ipa-clones works with LTO?
> >
> > I also wonder about the future of source-based patch generation with
> > LLVM. Will it also have -flive-patching and -fdump-ipa-clones flags?
> >
> > - For binary-based patch generation (kpatch-build), we currently diff
> > objects at a per-compilation-unit level. That would have to be
> > changed to work on vmlinux.o instead.
> >
> > - Objtool would also have to be changed to work on vmlinux.o. It's
> > currently not optimized for large files, and the per-.o whitelisting
> > would need to be fixed. And there may be other issues lurking.
> >
> > Also, thinking about objtool in this context has given me another idea,
> > which might allow us to get rid of the use of -flive-patching and
> > -fdump-ipa-clones altogether (which are both nasty and way too
> > compiler-dependent):
> Would objtool work around these issues because it would (pending the above
> changes) operate on post-LTO object files?

No, my idea below would work either way (LTO or not).

With the current approach of objtool running per .o file, it could
create a function checksum file per .o file.

With objtool running once on vmlinux.o, it would instead just make one
big function checksum file for vmlinux.o, plus one per kernel module.

> > Since objtool is already reading every function in the kernel, it could
> > create a checksum associated with each function, based on all the
> > instructions (both within the function and any alternatives or other
> > special sections it relies on). The function checksums could be written
> > to a file.
> >
> > Then, when a patch file is applied and the kernel rebuilt, the checksum
> > files could be compared to determine exactly which functions have
> > changed at a binary level.
> >
> > Thoughts? Any reasons why that wouldn't work?
> This is an interesting option. Keep in mind, like kpatch-build, it would
> detect changes as a result of source code line number positioning, ie WARN_*
> or might_sleep macros that kpatch-build currently detects and chooses to
> ignore. Not a big deal, but warts like this start introducing more
> instruction decoding into the process.


> Also, I think a klp-convert type script would still be needed to create
> livepatch symbols and their corresponding sections and relocations, right?

Right. Unless we did the option I mentioned below where objtool would
become a full kpatch-build replacement.

> However, we might not need manual symbol <obj, pos> annotations to pull this
> off since presumably the object will have already built/linked. I think.

Actually I'm not sure about that. Even when analyzing vmlinux.o, the
object hasn't been fully linked so the final addresses aren't known.

> I've only just started looking at klp-convert and asm alternatives, but
> maybe this would also help determine the alteratives-relocation to
> klp_object relationship that we will need if we want klp-convert to create
> klp.arch sections.

TBH, I'm a bit behind on that discussion :-)

> > And, if we wanted to take the idea even further, objtool could have the
> > ability to write the changed functions to a new object file. Voila, we
> > now pretty much have kpatch-build :-) (Though whether this is better
> > than source-based patch generation is certainly an open question.)
> Porting objtool to new arches is probably easier than kpatch-build at least.

Yeah. And there's really a lot of overlap between the two, so it could
potentially be a decent option.


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