[PATCH v2 3/3] fork: lock VMAs of the parent process when forking

Linus Torvalds torvalds at linux-foundation.org
Sun Jul 9 07:18:29 AEST 2023

On Sat, 8 Jul 2023 at 12:12, Suren Baghdasaryan <surenb at google.com> wrote:
>  kernel/fork.c | 1 +
>  1 file changed, 1 insertion(+)

I ended up editing your explanation a lot.

I'm not convinced that the bug has much to do with the delayed tlb flushing.

I think it's more fundamental than some tlb coherence issue: our VM
copying simply expects to not have any unrelated concurrent page fault
activity, and various random internal data structures simply rely on

I made up an example that I'm not sure is relevant to any of the
particular failures, but that I think is a non-TLB case: the parent
'vma->anon_vma' chain is copied by dup_mmap() in anon_vma_fork(), and
it's possible that the parent vma didn't have any anon_vma associated
with it at that point.

But a concurrent page fault to the same vma - even *before* the page
tables have been copied, and when the TLB is still entirely coherent -
could then cause a anon_vma_prepare() on that parent vma, and
associate one of the pages with that anon-vma.

Then the page table copy happens, and that page gets marked read-only
again, and is added to both the parent and the child vma's, but the
child vma never got associated with the parents new anon_vma, because
it didn't exist when anon_vma_fork() happened.

Does this ever happen? I have no idea. But it would seem to be an
example that really has nothing to do with any TLB state, and is just
simply "we cannot handle concurrent page faults while we're busy
copying the mm".

Again - maybe I messed up, but it really feels like the missing
vma_start_write() was more fundamental, and not some "TLB coherency"


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