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From: Catalin Marinas <>
To: Peter Collingbourne <>
Cc: Vincenzo Frascino <>,
	Will Deacon <>,
	Evgenii Stepanov <>,
Subject: Re: [PATCH] arm64: mte: allow async MTE to be upgraded to sync on a per-CPU basis
Date: Tue, 8 Jun 2021 15:43:54 +0100	[thread overview]
Message-ID: <> (raw)
In-Reply-To: <>

On Thu, Jun 03, 2021 at 10:49:24AM -0700, Peter Collingbourne wrote:
> On Thu, Jun 3, 2021 at 6:01 AM Vincenzo Frascino
> <> wrote:
> > On 6/3/21 12:24 AM, Peter Collingbourne wrote:
> > > On some CPUs the performance of MTE in synchronous mode is the same
> > > as that of asynchronous mode. This makes it worthwhile to enable
> > > synchronous mode on those CPUs when asynchronous mode is requested,
> > > in order to gain the error detection benefits of synchronous mode
> > > without the performance downsides. Therefore, make it possible for CPUs
> > > to opt into upgrading to synchronous mode via a new mte-prefer-sync
> > > device tree attribute.
> > >
> >
> > I had a look at your patch and I think that there are few points that are worth
> > mentioning:
> > 1) The approach you are using is per-CPU hence we might end up with a system
> > that has some PE configured as sync and some configured as async. We currently
> > support only a system wide setting.
> This is the intent. On e.g. a big/little system this means that we
> would effectively have sampling of sync MTE faults at a higher rate
> than a pure userspace implementation could achieve, at zero cost.
> > 2) async and sync have slightly different semantics (e.g. in sync mode the
> > access does not take place and it requires emulation) this means that a mixed
> > configuration affects the ABI.
> We considered the ABI question and think that is somewhat academic.
> While it's true that we would prevent the first access from succeeding
> (and, more visibly, use SEGV_MTESERR in the signal rather than
> SEGV_MTEAERR) I'm not aware of a reasonable way that a userspace
> program could depend on the access succeeding.

It's more about whether some software relies on the async mode only for
logging without any intention of handling the synchronous faults. In
such scenario, the async signal is fairly simple, it logs and continues
safely (well, as "safe" as before MTE). With the sync mode, however, the
signal handler will have to ensure the access took place either before
continuing, either by emulating, restarting the instruction with
PSTATE.TCO set or by falling back to the async mode.

IOW, I don't expect all programs making use of MTE to simply die on an
MTE fault (though I guess they'll be in a minority but we still need to
allow such scenarios).

> While it's slightly
> more plausible that there could be a dependency on the signal type, we
> don't depend on that in Android, at least not in a way that would lead
> to worse outcomes if we get MTESERR instead of MTEAERR (it would lead
> to better outcomes, in the form of a more accurate/detailed crash
> report, which is what motivates this change). I also checked glibc and
> they don't appear to have any dependencies on the signal type, or
> indeed have any detailed crash reporting at all as far as I can tell.
> Furthermore, basically nobody has hardware at the moment so I don't
> think we would be breaking any actual users by doing this.

While there's no user-space out there yet, given that MTE was merged in
5.10 and that's an LTS kernel, we'll see software running on this kernel
version at some point in the next few years. So any fix will need
backporting but an ABI change for better performance on specific SoCs
hardly counts as a fix.

I'm ok with improving the ABI but not breaking the current one, hence
the suggestion for a new PR_MTE_TCF_* field or maybe a new bit that
allows the mode to be "upgraded", for some definition of this (for
example, if TCF_NONE is as fast as TCF_ASYNC, should NONE be upgraded?)

> > 3) In your patch you use DT to enforce sync mode on a CPU, probably it is better
> > to have an MIDR scheme to mark these CPUs.
> Okay, so in your scheme we would say that e.g. all Cortex-A510 CPUs
> should be subject to this treatment. Can we guarantee that all
> Cortex-A510 CPUs would have the same performance for sync and async or
> could the system designer tweak some aspect of the system such that
> they could get different performance? The possibility of the latter is
> what led me to specify the information via DT.

While it's more of a CPU microarchitecture issue, there's indeed a good
chance that the SoC has a non-trivial impact on the performance of the
synchronous mode, so it may tip the balance one way or another.

Another idea would be to introduce a PR_MTE_TCF_DEFAULT mode together
with some /sys/*/cpu*/ entries to control the default MTE mode per CPU.
We'd leave it entirely to user-space (privileged user), maybe it even
wants to run some checks before tuning the default mode per CPU.

I'm pretty sure the sync vs async decision is not a clear cut (e.g. sync
may still be slower but within a tolerable margin for certain
benchmarks). Leaving the decision to the hardware vendor, hard-coded in
the DT, is probably not the best option (nor is the MIDR). Some future
benchmark with a weird memory access pattern could expose slowness in
the sync mode and vendors will scramble on how to change the DT already
deployed (maybe they can do this OTA already).


linux-arm-kernel mailing list

  reply	other threads:[~2021-06-08 15:38 UTC|newest]

Thread overview: 7+ messages / expand[flat|nested]  mbox.gz  Atom feed  top
2021-06-02 23:24 [PATCH] arm64: mte: allow async MTE to be upgraded to sync on a per-CPU basis Peter Collingbourne
2021-06-03 13:02 ` Vincenzo Frascino
2021-06-03 17:49   ` Peter Collingbourne
2021-06-08 14:43     ` Catalin Marinas [this message]
2021-06-08 19:54       ` Peter Collingbourne
2021-06-08 21:55         ` Evgenii Stepanov
2021-06-03 14:30 ` Catalin Marinas

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