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Date:	Mon, 03 Feb 2014 09:02:47 -0800
From:	Randy Dunlap <rdunlap@...radead.org>
To:	Michael Ellerman <mpe@...erman.id.au>, rob@...dley.net
CC:	linux-doc@...r.kernel.org, linux-kernel@...r.kernel.org,
	daniel.vetter@...ll.ch
Subject: Re: [PATCH] Documentation: Add Daniel Vetter's excellent "Botching
 up ioctls"

On 01/31/2014 10:05 PM, Michael Ellerman wrote:
> I pointed some folks at this and they wondered why it wasn't in the
> kernel Documentation directory. So now it is.
> 
> Signed-off-by: Daniel Vetter <daniel.vetter@...ll.ch>
> Signed-off-by: Michael Ellerman <mpe@...erman.id.au>
> ---
>  Documentation/ioctl/00-INDEX               |   2 +
>  Documentation/ioctl/botching-up-ioctls.txt | 219 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
>  2 files changed, 221 insertions(+)
>  create mode 100644 Documentation/ioctl/botching-up-ioctls.txt
> 
> diff --git a/Documentation/ioctl/00-INDEX b/Documentation/ioctl/00-INDEX
> index d2fe4d4..c1a9257 100644
> --- a/Documentation/ioctl/00-INDEX
> +++ b/Documentation/ioctl/00-INDEX
> @@ -1,5 +1,7 @@
>  00-INDEX
>  	- this file
> +botching-up-ioctls.txt
> +	- how to avoid botching up ioctls
>  cdrom.txt
>  	- summary of CDROM ioctl calls
>  hdio.txt
> diff --git a/Documentation/ioctl/botching-up-ioctls.txt b/Documentation/ioctl/botching-up-ioctls.txt
> new file mode 100644
> index 0000000..50be7e4
> --- /dev/null
> +++ b/Documentation/ioctl/botching-up-ioctls.txt
> @@ -0,0 +1,219 @@
> +(How to avoid) Botching up ioctls
> +=================================
> +
> +From: http://blog.ffwll.ch/2013/11/botching-up-ioctls.html
> +
> +By: Daniel Vetter, Copyright © 2013 Intel Corporation
> +
> +One clear insight kernel graphics hackers gained in the past few years is that
> +trying to come up with a unified interface to manage the execution units and
> +memory on completely different GPUs is a futile effort. So nowadays every
> +driver has its own set of ioctls to allocate memory and submit work to the GPU.
> +Which is nice, since there's no more insanity in the form of fake-generic, but
> +actually only used once interfaces. But the clear downside is that there's much
> +more potential to screw things up.
> +
> +To avoid repeating all the same mistakes again I've written up some of the
> +lessons learned while botching the job for the drm/i915 driver. Most of these
> +only cover technicalities and not the big-picture issues like what the command
> +submission ioctl exactly should look like. Learning these lessons is probably
> +something every GPU driver has to do on its own.
> +
> +
> +Prerequisites
> +-------------
> +
> +First the basic - without these the fail already starts with the need for a

             basics -                  ^^^^ failures or faults ?
                                            already start

Maybe this "basics" should be "requirements" since there is another Basics
section below.


> +32bit compat layer:

   32-bit

> +
> + * Only use fix sized integers. To avoid conflicts with typedefs in userspace

               fixed

> +   the kernel has special types like __u32, __s64. Use them.
> +
> + * Align everything to the natural size and use explicit padding. 32bit

                                                                     32-bit

> +   platforms don't necessarily align 64bit values to 64bit boundaries, but
                                        64-bit          64-bit

> +   64bit platforms do. So we always need padding to the natural size to get

      64-bit
etc. throughout the text.

> +   this right.
> +
> + * Pad the entire struct to a multiple of 64bits - the structure size will
> +   otherwise differ on 32bit versus 64bit. Which hurts when passing arrays of
> +   structures to the kernel. Or with the ioctl structure size checking that
> +   e.g. the drm core does.

last 2 "sentences" above are not complete sentences.

> +
> + * Pointers are __u64, cast from/to a uintprt_t on the userspace side and
> +   from/to a void __user * in the kernel. Try really hard not to delay this
> +   conversion or worse, fiddle the raw __u64 through your code since that
> +   diminishes the checking tools like sparse can provide.
> +
> +
> +Basics
> +------
> +
> +With the joys of writing a compat layer avoided we can take a look at the basic
> +fumbles. Neglecting these will make backward and forward compatibility a real
> +pain. And since getting things wrong on the first attempt is guaranteed you
> +will have a second iteration or at least an extension for any given interface.
> +
> + * Have a clear way for userspace to figure out whether your new ioctl or ioctl
> +   extension is supported on a given kernel. If you can't rely on old kernels
> +   rejecting the new flags/modes or ioctls (since doing that was botched in the
> +   past) then you need a driver feature flag or revision number somewhere.
> +
> + * Have a plan for extending ioctls with new flags or new fields at the end of
> +   the structure. The drm core checks the passed-in size for each ioctl call
> +   and zero-extends any mismatches between kernel and userspace. That helps,
> +   but isn't a complete solution since newer userspace on older kernels won't
> +   notice that the newly added fields at the end get ignored. So this still
> +   needs a new driver feature flags.
> +
> + * Check all unused fields and flags and all the padding for whether it's 0,
> +   and reject the ioctl if that's not the case. Otherwise your nice plan for
> +   future extensions is going right down the gutters since someone will submit
> +   an ioctl struct with random stack garbage in the yet unused parts. Which
> +   then bakes in the ABI that those fields can never be used for anything else
> +   but garbage.
> +
> + * Have simple testcases for all of the above.
> +
> +
> +Fun with Error Paths
> +--------------------
> +
> +Nowadays we don't have any excuse left any more for drm drivers being neat
> +little root exploits. Which means we both need full input validation and solid

                         This

> +error handling paths - GPUs will die eventually in the oddmost cornercases

                                                                  corner cases

> +anyway:
> +
> + * The ioctl must check for array overflows. Also it needs to check for
> +   over/underflows and clamping issues of integer values in general. The usual
> +   example is sprite positioning values fed directly into the hardware with the
> +   hardware just having 12 bits or so. Works nicely until some odd display
> +   server doesn't bother with clamping itself and the cursor wraps around the
> +   screen.
> +
> + * Have simple testcases for every input validation failure case in your ioctl.
> +   Check that the error code matches your expectations. And finally make sure
> +   that you only test for one single error path in each subtest by submitting
> +   otherwise perfectly valid data. Without this an earlier check might reject
> +   the ioctl already and shadow the codepath you actually want to test, hiding
> +   bugs and regressions.
> +
> + * Make all your ioctls restartable. First X really loves signals and second
> +   this will allow you to test 90% of all error handling paths by just
> +   interrupting your main test suite constantly with signals. Thanks to X's
> +   love for signal you'll get an excellent base coverage of all your error
> +   paths pretty much for free for graphics drivers. Also, be consistent with
> +   how you handle ioctl restarting - e.g. drm has a tiny drmIoctl helper in its
> +   userspace library. The i915 driver botched this with the set_tiling ioctl,
> +   now we're stuck forever with some arcane semantics in both the kernel and
> +   userspace.
> +
> + * If you can't make a given codepath restartable make a stuck task at least
> +   killable. GPUs just die and your users won't like you more if you hang their
> +   entire box (by means of an unkillable X process). If the state recovery is
> +   still too tricky have a timeout or hangcheck safety net as a last-ditch
> +   effort in case the hw has gone bananas.

                         hardware

> +
> + * Have testcases for the really tricky cornercases in your error recovery code

                                           corner cases

> +   - it's way too easy to create a deadlock between your hangcheck code and
> +   waiters.
> +
> +
> +Time, Waiting and Missing it
> +----------------------------
> +
> +GPUs do most everything asynchronous, so we have a need to time operations and

                           asynchronously,

> +wait for oustanding ones. This is really tricky business, at the moment none of

                                                   business;

> +the ioctls supported by the drm/i915 get this fully right. Which means there's

                                                       right, which

> +still a tons more lessons to learn here.

   still tons

> +
> + * Use CLOCK_MONOTONIC as your reference time, always. It's what alsa, drm and
> +   v4l use by default nowadays. But let userspace know which timestamps are
> +   derived from different clock domains like your main system clock (provided
> +   by the kernel) or some independent hardware counter somewhere else. Clocks
> +   will mismatch if you look close enough, but if performance measuring tools
> +   have this information they can at least compensate. If your userspace can
> +   get at the raw values of some clocks (e.g. through in-command-stream
> +   performance counter sampling instructions) consider exposing also those.

                                                                   those also.

> +
> + * Use __s64 seconds plus __u64 nanoseconds to specify time. It's not the most
> +   convenient time specification, but it's mostly the standard.
> +
> + * Check that input time values are normalized and reject them if not. Note
> +   that the kernel native struct ktime has a signed integer for both seconds
> +   and nanoseconds, so beware here.
> +
> + * For timeouts, use absolute times. If you're a good fellow and made your
> +   ioctl restartable relative timeouts tend to be too coarse and can
> +   indefinitely extend your wait time due to rounding on each restart.
> +   Especially if your reference clock is something really slow like the display
> +   frame counter. With a spec laywer hat on this isn't a bug since timeouts can
> +   always be extended - but users will surely hate you if their neat animations
> +   starts to stutter due to this.
> +
> + * Consider ditching any synchronous wait ioctls with timeouts and just deliver
> +   an asynchronous event on a pollable file descriptor. It fits much better
> +   into event driven applications' main loop.
> +
> + * Have testcases for corner-cases, especially whether the return values for
> +   already-completed events, successful waits and timed-out waits are all sane
> +   and suiting to your needs.
> +
> +
> +Leaking Resources, Not
> +----------------------
> +
> +A full-blown drm driver essentially implements a little OS, but specialized to
> +the given GPU platforms. Which means a driver needs to expose tons of handles

either:
                 platforms, which means
or
                 platforms. This means

> +for different objects and other resources to userspace. Doing that right
> +entails its own little set of pitfalls:
> +
> + * Always attach the lifetime of your dynamically created resources to the
> +   lifetime of a file descriptor. Consider using a 1:1 mapping if your resource
> +   needs to be shared across processes -  fd-passing over unix domain sockets
> +   also simplifies lifetime management for userspace.
> +
> + * Always have O_CLOEXEC support.
> +
> + * Ensure that you have sufficient insulation between different clients. By
> +   default pick a private per-fd namespace which forces any sharing to be done
> +   explictly. Only go with a more global per-device namespace if the objects
> +   are truly device-unique. One counterexample in the drm modeset interfaces is
> +   that the per-device modeset objects like connectors share a namespace with
> +   framebuffer objects, which mostly are not shared at all. A separate
> +   namespace, private by default, for framebuffers would have been more
> +   suitable.
> +
> + * Think about uniqueness requirements for userspace handles. E.g. for most drm
> +   drivers it's a userspace bug to submit the same object twice in the same
> +   command submission ioctl. But then if objects are shareable userspace needs
> +   to know whether it has seen an imported object from a different process
> +   already or not. I haven't tried this myself yet due to lack of a new class
> +   of objects, but consider using inode numbers on your shared file descriptors
> +   as unique identifiers - it's how real files are told apart, too.
> +   Unfortunately this requires a full-blown virtual filesystem in the kernel.
> +
> +
> +Last, but not Least
> +-------------------
> +
> +Not every problem needs a new ioctl:
> +
> + * Think hard whether you really want a driver-private interface. Of course
> +   it's much quicker to push a driver-private interface than engaging in
> +   lengthy discussions for a more generic solution. And occasionally doing a
> +   private interface to spearhead a new concept is what's required. But in the
> +   end, once the generic interface comes around you'll end up maintainer two
> +   interfaces. Indefinitely.
> +
> + * Consider other interfaces than ioctls. A sysfs attribute is much better for
> +   per-device settings, or for child objects with fairly static lifetimes (like
> +   output connectors in drm with all the detection override attributes). Or
> +   maybe only your testsuite needs this interface, and then debugfs with it's

                                                                            its

> +   disclaimer of not having a stable ABI would be better.
> +
> +Finally, the name of the game is to get it right on the first attempt. Since if

                                                                 attempt, since if

> +your driver proves popular and your hardware platforms long-lived then you'll
> +be stuck with a given ioctl essentially forever. You can try to deprecate
> +horrible ioctls on newer iterations of your hardware, but generally it takes
> +years to accomplish this. And then again years until the last user able to
> +complain about regressions disappears, too.
> 


-- 
~Randy
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