Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]

By: Adrian (a.delete@this.acm.org), July 18, 2022 10:02 pm
Room: Moderated Discussions
Brendan (btrotter.delete@this.gmail.com) on July 18, 2022 3:11 pm wrote:
>
> Page tables/MMU allow some powerful tricks (swap space, copy on write/allocate on demand, etc); and
> a kernel can and should exploit these same powerful tricks for its own benefit (e.g. making data that
> kernel shouldn't need to access unable to be accessed accidentally to improve kernel bug and/or vulnerability
> detection, allowing parts of itself (and user-space page tables) to be sent to swap space to reduce
> kernel's memory consumption, using a deliberately randomized physical address for each individual
> page to improve kernel's security, NUMA optimizations where different copies of read-only kernel code
> and data are used by different CPUs to improve kernel's performance, etc).
>
> In this case, if there are no page faults in privileged mode, then kernel
> must be a steaming pile of garbage (unable to benefit from MMU).
>


The usefulness of those tricks inside a kernel is controversial and I happen to be among those who believe that the kind of code that can benefit from such tricks should not belong to the kernel.


Also, my definition of a kernel which is a steaming pile of garbage is very different. For example, a kernel where a buggy device driver can make the computer unresponsive, or where it is not possible to kill a process at any time, is much closer to being a steaming pile of garbage than any kernel that is unable to benefit from MMU.

The difference between the 2 definitions is that the quality of a kernel must be judged based on user-visible behavior. Whether benefiting from the MMU is an advantage for a kernel must be proven based on some observable quality of the kernel.


I agree that inside a very complex kernel, e.g. Linux, which includes a huge number of device drivers, the use of the MMU can be unavoidable, in order to provide memory protection and to allow dynamic allocation of memory pages. However, I believe that most of those device drivers should not work in privileged mode, and then they could use the MMU like any user programs.

If on CPU architectures like x86-64, their performance would become lower in non-privileged mode, that just shows that the hardware is not designed well, with excessive overheads on context switching and IPC, not that the software architecture is good as it is.

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TopicPosted ByDate
Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]Kester L2022/06/29 12:49 PM
  Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]Rayla2022/06/29 01:14 PM
    Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]Kester L2022/06/29 01:43 PM
      Not just worse-is-betterMark Roulo2022/06/29 02:21 PM
        Not just worse-is-better---2022/06/29 06:07 PM
  Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]2022/06/29 11:08 PM
    Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]Groo2022/06/30 11:56 AM
      Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]Michael S2022/06/30 01:17 PM
  Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]Eric Fink2022/06/30 12:43 AM
  Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]dmcq2022/06/30 02:17 AM
  Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]Adrian2022/06/30 04:36 AM
    Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]anonymou52022/06/30 06:28 AM
      Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]Anon42022/06/30 03:37 PM
        Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]anonymou52022/06/30 05:19 PM
          Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]dmcq2022/07/01 03:16 AM
            Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]anonymou52022/07/01 04:40 AM
              Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]dmcq2022/07/01 05:11 AM
                Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]anonymou52022/07/01 07:09 AM
              Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]dmcq2022/07/01 05:11 AM
                Why the duplicates?dmcq2022/07/01 05:18 AM
              Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]2022/07/01 09:41 PM
    Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]Foo_2022/06/30 06:43 AM
      Fragmentation: Both Size and LifetimeMark Roulo2022/06/30 07:25 AM
        Fragmentation: Both Size and Lifetime2022/06/30 09:09 AM
          Fragmentation: Both Size and Lifetimedmcq2022/06/30 10:12 AM
          Fragmentation: Both Size and LifetimeBrendan2022/06/30 03:08 PM
            Fragmentation: Both Size and Lifetime2022/07/02 02:12 AM
              Fragmentation: Both Size and LifetimeBrendan2022/07/02 12:56 PM
                Fragmentation: Both Size and Lifetime2022/07/04 04:34 AM
                  Fragmentation: Both Size and LifetimeBrendan2022/07/04 05:33 AM
                    Fragmentation: Both Size and Lifetime2022/07/04 06:35 AM
                      Fragmentation: Both Size and LifetimeBrendan2022/07/04 03:21 PM
                    Atom is just living at the Dunning-Krueger peakHeikki Kultala2022/07/04 08:26 AM
                      Atom is just living at the Dunning-Krueger peak2022/07/04 08:57 AM
      Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]Adrian2022/06/30 07:31 AM
        Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]Foo_2022/06/30 08:07 AM
          Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]Adrian2022/06/30 08:43 AM
            Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]Foo_2022/07/01 02:21 AM
              Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]Adrian2022/07/01 08:58 PM
                Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]Foo_2022/07/03 01:45 AM
                  Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]Adrian2022/07/03 09:04 PM
                    Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]ananon2022/07/04 01:35 AM
                    Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]Foo_2022/07/04 02:11 AM
                      Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]Adrian2022/07/05 12:36 AM
                    Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]2022/07/04 03:18 AM
                    Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]TAG2022/07/04 06:50 AM
                    Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]Brendan2022/07/04 03:54 PM
                      Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]Brendan2022/07/04 04:05 PM
                      Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]Adrian2022/07/05 01:18 AM
                        Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]Brendan2022/07/06 04:16 PM
                          Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]Adrian2022/07/06 11:33 PM
        Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]2022/06/30 09:40 AM
    Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]---2022/06/30 07:28 AM
      Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]Michael S2022/06/30 12:00 PM
    Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]Jörn Engel2022/06/30 04:34 PM
      Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]Adrian2022/06/30 11:55 PM
        Sorry, typo correctionAdrian2022/07/01 12:04 AM
        Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]2022/07/01 03:01 AM
          Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]Adrian2022/07/01 10:00 PM
            Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]rwessel2022/07/02 06:16 AM
        Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]Jörn Engel2022/07/01 08:40 AM
          Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]Adrian2022/07/01 10:15 PM
  Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]Brendan2022/06/30 10:09 AM
    Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]dmcq2022/06/30 10:20 AM
      Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]Brendan2022/06/30 02:52 PM
        Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]dmcq2022/07/01 05:06 AM
          Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]Brendan2022/07/01 12:24 PM
            Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]rwessel2022/07/01 07:55 PM
  Linear Address Spaces - Free lunch?Björn Ragnar Björnsson2022/07/02 05:44 PM
    Linear Address Spaces - Free lunch?dmcq2022/07/03 03:30 AM
      Linear Address Spaces - Free lunch?Björn Ragnar Björnsson2022/07/03 03:50 PM
  Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]Paul A. Clayton2022/07/18 06:49 AM
    Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]Adrian2022/07/18 09:21 AM
      Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]Brendan2022/07/18 02:11 PM
        Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]anon22022/07/18 03:54 PM
          Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]Adrian2022/07/18 09:22 PM
            Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]Michael S2022/07/19 12:00 AM
              Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]Adrian2022/07/19 04:50 AM
        Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]Adrian2022/07/18 10:02 PM
          Linear Address Spaces: Unsafe at any speed [article]Brendan2022/07/19 07:29 PM
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