-mprofile-kernel vs. notrace in ppc64(le) Linux kernels

Segher Boessenkool segher at kernel.crashing.org
Sun Sep 27 00:52:43 AEST 2015

On Sat, Sep 26, 2015 at 04:30:08PM +0200, Torsten Duwe wrote:
> As I mentioned earlier this year, it's a bad idea to call _mcount from
> MMU helper functions (e.g. hash_page...), when the profiling/tracing/
> live-patching/whatever framewok might in turn cause another such fault.
> Jikos suggested to use fine-grained control of these functions with the
> "notrace" keyword in the Linux kernel. It is mapped to GCC's (4.8, FWIW)
> __attribute__((no_instrument_function)), which, to my surprise, works
> for -p and -pg nicely, but does not affect -mprofile-kernel at all!

That is surprising; please file a GCC bug.

> Should we consider this a bug? IMHO it is. I can see in the GCC sources
> that -mprofile-kernel is more like a low-level hack in rs6000.c,
> quite far below the RTL code generator, so the no_instrument_function
> attribute is probably hard to check for.
> What is -mprofile-kernel good for, if it bears such a risk of crashing
> the kernel?

It didn't work when combined with other fringe functionality.  It happens.

> Is it the right hook for ppc64 live patching? How to protect
> those critical functions? Filter -mprofile-kernel for those object files?

That might work.

> Ask the GCC experts to fix this?

Yes please.  You probably need a workaround for released compilers though.


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