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SubjectRe: Kernel Concurrency Sanitizer (KCSAN)
On Mon, Sep 23, 2019 at 6:31 AM Boqun Feng <boqun.feng@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> On Fri, Sep 20, 2019 at 04:54:21PM +0100, Will Deacon wrote:
> > Hi Marco,
> >
> > On Fri, Sep 20, 2019 at 04:18:57PM +0200, Marco Elver wrote:
> > > We would like to share a new data-race detector for the Linux kernel:
> > > Kernel Concurrency Sanitizer (KCSAN) --
> > > https://github.com/google/ktsan/wiki/KCSAN (Details:
> > > https://github.com/google/ktsan/blob/kcsan/Documentation/dev-tools/kcsan.rst)
> > >
> > > To those of you who we mentioned at LPC that we're working on a
> > > watchpoint-based KTSAN inspired by DataCollider [1], this is it (we
> > > renamed it to KCSAN to avoid confusion with KTSAN).
> > > [1] http://usenix.org/legacy/events/osdi10/tech/full_papers/Erickson.pdf
> >
> > Oh, spiffy!
> >
> > > In the coming weeks we're planning to:
> > > * Set up a syzkaller instance.
> > > * Share the dashboard so that you can see the races that are found.
> > > * Attempt to send fixes for some races upstream (if you find that the
> > > kcsan-with-fixes branch contains an important fix, please feel free to
> > > point it out and we'll prioritize that).
> >
> > Curious: do you take into account things like alignment and/or access size
> > when looking at READ_ONCE/WRITE_ONCE? Perhaps you could initially prune
> > naturally aligned accesses for which __native_word() is true?
> >
> > > There are a few open questions:
> > > * The big one: most of the reported races are due to unmarked
> > > accesses; prioritization or pruning of races to focus initial efforts
> > > to fix races might be required. Comments on how best to proceed are
> > > welcome. We're aware that these are issues that have recently received
> > > attention in the context of the LKMM
> > > (https://lwn.net/Articles/793253/).
> >
> > This one is tricky. What I think we need to avoid is an onslaught of
> > patches adding READ_ONCE/WRITE_ONCE without a concrete analysis of the
> > code being modified. My worry is that Joe Developer is eager to get their
> > first patch into the kernel, so runs this tool and starts spamming
> > maintainers with these things to the point that they start ignoring KCSAN
> > reports altogether because of the time they take up.
> >
> > I suppose one thing we could do is to require each new READ_ONCE/WRITE_ONCE
> > to have a comment describing the racy access, a bit like we do for memory
> > barriers. Another possibility would be to use atomic_t more widely if
> > there is genuine concurrency involved.
> >
>
> Instead of commenting READ_ONCE/WRITE_ONCE()s, how about adding
> anotations for data fields/variables that might be accessed without
> holding a lock? Because if all accesses to a variable are protected by
> proper locks, we mostly don't need to worry about data races caused by
> not using READ_ONCE/WRITE_ONCE(). Bad things happen when we write to a
> variable using locks but read it outside a lock critical section for
> better performance, for example, rcu_node::qsmask. I'm thinking so maybe
> we can introduce a new annotation similar to __rcu, maybe call it
> __lockfree ;-) as follow:
>
> struct rcu_node {
> ...
> unsigned long __lockfree qsmask;
> ...
> }
>
> , and __lockfree indicates that by design the maintainer of this data
> structure or variable believe there will be accesses outside lock
> critical sections. Note that not all accesses to __lockfree field, need
> to be READ_ONCE/WRITE_ONCE(), if the developer manages to build a
> complex but working wake/wait state machine so that it could not be
> accessed in the same time, READ_ONCE()/WRITE_ONCE() is not needed.
>
> If we have such an annotation, I think it won't be hard for configuring
> KCSAN to only examine accesses to variables with this annotation. Also
> this annotation could help other checkers in the future.
>
> If KCSAN (at the least the upstream version) only check accesses with
> such an anotation, "spamming with KCSAN warnings/fixes" will be the
> choice of each maintainer ;-)
>
> Thoughts?

But doesn't this defeat the main goal of any race detector -- finding
concurrent accesses to complex data structures, e.g. forgotten
spinlock around rbtree manipulation? Since rbtree is not meant to
concurrent accesses, it won't have __lockfree annotation, and thus we
will ignore races on it...

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