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Date:   Wed, 8 Aug 2018 13:16:42 +0100
From:   Catalin Marinas <>
To:     Matt Sealey <>
Cc:     Mikulas Patocka <>,
        Thomas Petazzoni <>,
        Joao Pinto <>,
        Ard Biesheuvel <>,
        linux-pci <>,
        Jingoo Han <>,
        Will Deacon <>,
        Russell King <>,
        Linux Kernel Mailing List <>,
        linux-arm-kernel <>
Subject: Re: framebuffer corruption due to overlapping stp instructions on

Hi Matt,

On Fri, Aug 03, 2018 at 03:44:44PM -0500, Matt Sealey wrote:
> On 3 August 2018 at 13:25, Mikulas Patocka <> wrote:
> > On Fri, 3 Aug 2018, Ard Biesheuvel wrote:
> >> Are we still talking about overlapping unaligned accesses here? Or do
> >> you see other failures as well?
> >
> > Yes - it is caused by overlapping unaligned accesses inside memcpy.
> > When I put "dmb sy" between the overlapping accesses in
> > glibc/sysdeps/aarch64/memcpy.S, this program doesn't detect any
> > memory corruption.
> It is a symptom of generating reorderable accesses inside memcpy. It's nothing
> to do with alignment, per se (see below). A dmb sy just hides the symptoms.
> What we're talking about here - yes, Ard, within certain amounts of
> reason - is that you cannot use PCI BAR memory as 'Normal' - certainly
> never cacheable memory, but Normal NC isn't good either. That is that
> your CPU cannot post writes or reads towards PCI memory spaces unless
> it is dealing with it as Device memory or very strictly controlled use
> of Normal Non-Cacheable.

I disagree that it's not possible to use Normal NC on prefetchable BARs.
This particular case looks more like a hardware issue to me as other
platforms don't exhibit the same behaviour.

Note that allowing Normal NC mapping of prefetchable BARs together with
unaliagned accesses is also a requirement for SBSA-compliant platforms
([1]; though I don't find the text in D.2 very clear).

> >> > I tried to run it on system RAM mapped with the NC attribute and I didn't
> >> > get any corruption - that suggests the the bug may be in the PCIE
> >> > subsystem.
> Pure fluke.

Do you mean you don't expect Mikulas' test to run fine on system RAM
with Normal NC mapping? We would have bigger issues if this was the

> I'll give a simple explanation. The Arm Architecture defines
> single-copy and multi-copy atomic transactions. You can treat
> 'single-copy' to mean that that transaction cannot be made partial, or
> reordered within itself, i.e. it must modify memory (if it is a store)
> in a single swift effort and any future reads from that memory must
> return the FULL result of that write.
> Multi-copy means it can be resized and reordered a bit. Will Deacon is
> going to crucify me for simplifying it, but.. let's proceed with a
> poor example:

Not sure about Will but I think you got them wrong ;). The single/multi
copy atomicity is considered in respect to (multiple) observers, a.k.a.
masters, and nothing to do with reordering a bit (see B2.2 in the ARMv8

> STR X0,[X1] on a 32-bit bus cannot ever be single-copy atomic, because
> you cannot write 64-bits of data on a 32-bit bus in a single,
> unbreakable transaction. This is because from one bus cycle to the
> next, one half of the transaction will be in a different place. Your
> interconnect will have latched and buffered 32-bits and the CPU is
> holding the other.

It depends on the implementation, interconnect, buses. Since single-copy
atomicity refers to master accesses, the above transaction could be a
burst of two 32-bit writes and treated atomically by the interconnect
(i.e. not interruptible).

> STP X0, X1, [X2] on a 64-bit bus can be single-copy atomic with
> respect to the element size. But it is on the whole multi-copy atomic
> - that is to say that it can provide a single transaction with
> multiple elements which are transmitted, and those elements could be
> messed with on the way down the pipe.

This has nothing to do with multi-copy atomicity which actually refers
to multiple observers seeing the same write. The ARM architecture is not
exactly multi-copy atomic anyway (rather "other-multi-copy atomic").

Architecturally, STP is treated as two single-copy accesses (as you
mentioned already).

Anyway, the single/multiple copy atomicity is irrelevant for the C test
from Mikulas where you have the same observer (the CPU) writing and
reading the memory. I wonder whether writing a byte and reading a long
back would show similar corruption.

> And the granularity of the hazarding in your system, from the CPU
> store buffer to the bus interface to the interconnect buffering to the
> PCIe bridge to the PCIe EP is.. what? Not the same all the way down,
> I'll bet you.

I think hazarding is what goes wrong here, especially since with
overlapping unaligned addresses. However, I disagree that it is
impossible to implement this properly on a platform with PCIe so that
Normal NC mappings can be used.




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