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Date:   Fri, 12 Jan 2018 20:22:19 -0600
From:   Tom Lendacky <>
To:     Dan Williams <>
Cc:     X86 ML <>,
        Linux Kernel Mailing List <>,
        Rik van Riel <>,
        Andi Kleen <>,
        Josh Poimboeuf <>,
        Peter Zijlstra <>,
        Linus Torvalds <>,
        Jiri Kosina <>,
        Dave Hansen <>,
        Borislav Petkov <>,
        Andy Lutomirski <>,
        Kees Cook <>,
        Thomas Gleixner <>,
        Tim Chen <>,
        Greg Kroah-Hartman <>,
        David Woodhouse <>,
        Paul Turner <>
Subject: Re: [PATCH v1] x86/retpoline: Use lfence in the retpoline/RSB filling
 RSB macros

On 1/12/2018 7:53 PM, Dan Williams wrote:
> On Fri, Jan 12, 2018 at 5:07 PM, Tom Lendacky <> wrote:
>> The pause instruction is currently used in the retpoline and RSB filling
>> macros as a speculation trap.  The use of pause was originally suggested
>> because it showed a very, very small difference in the amount of
>> cycles/time used to execute the retpoline as compared to lfence.  On AMD,
>> the pause instruction is not a serializing instruction, so the pause/jmp
>> loop will use excess power as it is speculated over waiting for return
>> to mispredict to the correct target.
>> The RSB filling macro is applicable to AMD, and, if software is unable to
>> verify that lfence is serializing on AMD (possible when running under a
>> hypervisor), the generic retpoline support will be used and, so, is also
>> applicable to AMD.  Change the use of pause to lfence.
> Should we use ASM_IFENCE for this?

I don't think we need to.  On bare-metal this will be fine.  When running
as a guest, the hypervisor should have made lfence serializing, and if it
hasn't, this is still better then pause.



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