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Date:   Sat, 24 Dec 2016 09:57:53 -0800
From:   Andy Lutomirski <>
To:     Ard Biesheuvel <>
Cc:     Andy Lutomirski <>,
        Daniel Borkmann <>,
        Netdev <>,
        LKML <>,
        Linux Crypto Mailing List <>,
        "Jason A. Donenfeld" <>,
        Hannes Frederic Sowa <>,
        Alexei Starovoitov <>,
        Eric Dumazet <>,
        Eric Biggers <>,
        Tom Herbert <>,
        "David S. Miller" <>,
        Herbert Xu <>
Subject: Re: [RFC PATCH 4.10 1/6] crypto/sha256: Refactor the API so it can be
 used without shash

On Sat, Dec 24, 2016 at 2:33 AM, Ard Biesheuvel
<> wrote:
> Hi Andy,
> On 24 December 2016 at 02:22, Andy Lutomirski <> wrote:
>> There are some pieecs of kernel code that want to compute SHA256
>> directly without going through the crypto core.  Adjust the exported
>> API to decouple it from the crypto core.
> There are a bunch of things happening at the same time in this patch,
> i.e., unnecessary renames of functions with static linkage, return
> type changes to the base prototypes (int (*)(...) to void (*)(...))
> and the change for the base functions to take a struct sha256_state
> ctx rather than a shash_desc. I suppose you are mainly after the
> latter, so could we please drop the other changes?
> For the name clashes, could we simply use the crypto_ prefix for the
> globally visible functions rather than using names that are already in
> use? (and having to go around clean up the conflicts)
> As for the return type changes, the base functions intentionally
> return int to allow tail calls from the functions exposed by the
> crypto API (whose prototypes cannot be changed). Unlikely to matter in
> the grand scheme of things (especially now that the base layer
> consists of static inline functions primarily), but it is equally
> pointless to go around and change them to return void IMO.
> So what remains is the struct shash_desc to struct sha256_state
> change, which makes sense given that you are after a sha256_digest()
> function that does not require the crypto API. But it seems your use
> case does not rely on incremental hashing, and so there is no reason
> for the state to be exposed outside of the implementation, and we
> could simply expose a crypto_sha256_digest() routine from the
> sha256_generic.c implementation instead.

I actually do use incremental hashing later on.   BPF currently
vmallocs() a big temporary buffer just so it can fill it and hash it.
I change it to hash as it goes.

I painted the bike shed the other way because I thought that crypto_
names should indicate that they're the versions compatible with the
crypto API, but I take your point about churn.  Part of the reason I
didn't want to use crypto_sha256_update is because that function is
currently like this:

int crypto_sha256_update(struct shash_desc *desc, const u8 *data,
                          unsigned int len)

and I wanted to avoid churn.  The sha256_update() functions scattered
all over were static, so I didn't worry about them.

I'm going to give this another try as a split-up series that tries to
avoid making any changes beyond simple function renames to the

> Also, I strongly feel that crypto and other security related patches
> should be tested before being posted, even if they are only RFC,
> especially when they are posted by high profile kernel devs like
> yourself. (Your code incorrectly calls crypto_sha2_final() in a couple
> of places, resulting in the finalization being performed twice, once
> with the accelerated block transform and again with the generic
> transform)

I tested it, albeit poorly.  I wanted feedback on the API (thanks!)
and I figured I could more carefully check the implementation once the
API survives a bit of review.  Since it looks like I have to rework
this, I'd need to re-test anyway.

>> I suspect this will very slightly speed up the SHA256 shash operations
>> as well by reducing the amount of indirection involved.
> I think you have a valid point when it comes to the complexity of the
> crypto API in general. But the struct sha256_state is embedded in the
> shash_desc rather than referred to via a pointer, so the level of
> indirection does not appear to change. And given how 99.9% of the
> SHA256 execution time is spent in the block transform routine anyway,
> I expect the performance delta to be in the noise tbh.

s/very slightly/negligibly?  There's an extra speedup from avoiding a
variable-length stack allocation, but that probably doesn't matter
much either.

> Finally, another thing to keep in mind is that the base layers of
> SHA-1, SHA-256 and SHA-512 are intentionally structured in the same
> way. If there is a need for a digest() entry point, I'd prefer to add
> them for all flavours.

I want to get sha256 right first.  Once it's in good shape, making the
same changes to the other variants should be easy.

> Whether this still belongs under crypto or under lib/sha256.c as a
> library function (allowing archs to override it) is open for debate.
> If hashing BPF programs becomes a hot spot, we probably have bigger
> problems.
> Regards,
> Ard.
> P.S. I do take your point regarding the arch_sha256_block_transform()
> proposed in your follow up email, but there are some details (SIMD,
> availability of the instructions etc) that would make it only suitable
> for the generic implementation anyway, and the base layer was already
> a huge improvement compared to the open coded implementations of the
> SHA boilerplate.

Agreed, and my model may not be quite right.  It might have to be
something like:

if (arch_begin_sha256(len)) {
  ... do it with arch helpers...
} else {
  ... do it generically ...

>> -       return sha256_base_finish(desc, out);
>> +       return crypto_sha2_final(desc, out);
> This is wrong: your crypto_sha2_final also calls sha256_base_do_finalize()

Ugh, right.  I clearly need to organize this change better to avoid
this kind of mistake.

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