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SubjectRe: [RFC PATCH v2] x86/arch_prctl: Add ARCH_SET_XCR0 to set XCR0 per-thread

> On Apr 7, 2020, at 7:07 AM, Dave Hansen <> wrote:
> On 4/7/20 5:21 AM, Peter Zijlstra wrote:
>> You had a fairly long changelog detailing what the patchd does; but I've
>> failed to find a single word on _WHY_ we want to do any of that.
> The goal in these record/replay systems is to be able to recreate thee
> exact same program state on two systems at two different times. To make
> it reasonably fast, they try to minimize the number of snapshots they
> have to take and avoid things like single stepping.
> So, there are some windows where they just let the CPU run and don't
> bother with taking any snapshots of register state, for instance. Let's
> say you read a word from shared memory, multiply it and shift it around
> some registers, then stick it back in shared memory. Most of these
> things will just a record the snapshot at the memory read and assume
> that all the instructions in the middle execute deterministically. That
> eliminates a ton of snapshots.
> But, what if an instruction in the middle isn't deterministic between
> two machines. Let's say you record a trace on a a Broadwell system,
> then try to replay it on a Skylake, and one of the non-snapshotted
> instructions is xgetbv. Skylake added MPX, so xgetbv will return
> different values. Your replay diverges from what was "recorded", and
> life sucks.
> Same problem exists for CPUID, but that was hacked around in another set.
> I'm also trying to think of what kinds of things CPU companies add to
> their architectures that would break this stuff. I can't recall ever
> having a discussion with folks at Intel where we're designing a CPU
> feature and we say, "Can't do that, it would break record/replay". I
> suspect there are more of these landmines around and I bet that we're
> building more of them into CPUs every day.


I think rr should give the raw KVM API at least a try. It should be possible to fire up a vCPU in CPL3 in the correct state. No guest kernel required. I don’t know if there will be issues with the perf API, though.

If we actually do merge this XCR0 hack, I think the rule should be that it has no effect on kernel behavior. Signals, ptrace, etc reflect the normal XCR0, not the overridden value.
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