lists  /  announce  owl-users  owl-dev  john-users  john-dev  passwdqc-users  yescrypt  popa3d-users  /  oss-security  kernel-hardening  musl  sabotage  tlsify  passwords  /  crypt-dev  xvendor  /  Bugtraq  Full-Disclosure  linux-kernel  linux-netdev  linux-ext4  PHC 
Open Source and information security mailing list archives
Hash Suite: Windows password security audit tool. GUI, reports in PDF.
[<prev] [next>] [<thread-prev] [thread-next>] [day] [month] [year] [list]
Date:	Fri, 26 Feb 2010 21:08:04 -0600
From:	Robert Hancock <>
To:	Bartlomiej Zolnierkiewicz <>
Cc:	David Miller <>,,,
Subject: Re: [RFC PATCH] fix problems with NETIF_F_HIGHDMA in networking 

On Fri, Feb 26, 2010 at 9:25 AM, Bartlomiej Zolnierkiewicz
<> wrote:
> On Friday 26 February 2010 03:46:45 pm Robert Hancock wrote:
>> On Fri, Feb 26, 2010 at 3:36 AM, David Miller <> wrote:
>> > From: Robert Hancock <>
>> > Date: Mon, 22 Feb 2010 20:45:45 -0600
>> >
>> >> Many networking drivers have issues with the use of the NETIF_F_HIGHDMA flag.
>> >> This flag actually indicates whether or not the device/driver can handle
>> >> skbs located in high memory (as opposed to lowmem). However, many drivers
>> >> incorrectly treat this flag as indicating that 64-bit DMA is supported, which
>> >> has nothing to do with its actual function. It makes no sense to make setting
>> >> NETIF_F_HIGHDMA conditional on whether a 64-bit DMA mask has been set, as many
>> >> drivers do, since if highmem DMA is supported at all, it should work regardless
>> >> of whether 64-bit DMA is supported. Failing to set NETIF_F_HIGHDMA when it
>> >> should be can hurt performance on architectures which use highmem since it
>> >> results in needless data copying.
>> >>
>> >> This fixes up the networking drivers which currently use NETIF_F_HIGHDMA to
>> >> not do so conditionally on DMA mask settings.
>> >>
>> >> For the USB kaweth and usbnet drivers, this patch also uncomments and corrects
>> >> some code to set NETIF_F_HIGHDMA based on the USB host controller's DMA mask.
>> >> These drivers should be able to access highmem unless the host controller is
>> >> non-DMA-capable, which is indicated by the DMA mask being null.
>> >>
>> >> Signed-off-by: Robert Hancock <>
>> >
>> > Well, if the device isn't using 64-bit DMA addressing and the platform
>> > uses direct (no-iommu) mapping of physical to DMA addresses , won't
>> > your change break things?  The device will get a >4GB DMA address or
>> > the DMA mapping layer will signal an error.
>> >
>> > That's really part of the what the issue is I think.
>> >
>> > So, this trigger the check in check_addr() in
>> > arch/x86/kernel/pci-nommu.c when such packets try to get mapped by the
>> > driver, right?
>> >
>> > That will make the DMA mapping call fail, and the packet will be
>> > dropped permanently.  And hey, on top of it, many of these drivers you
>> > remove the setting from don't even check the mapping call return
>> > values for errors.
>> >
>> > So even bigger breakage.  One example is drivers/net/8139cp.c,
>> > it just does dma_map_single() and uses the result.
>> >
>> > It really depends upon that NETIF_F_HIGHDMA setting for correct
>> > operation.
>> >
>> > And even if something like swiotlb is available, now we're going
>> > to do bounce buffering which is largely equivalent to what
>> > a lack of NETIF_F_HIGHDMA will do.  Except that once NETIF_F_HIGHDMA
>> > copies the packet to lowmem it will only do that once, whereas if
>> > the packet goes to multiple devices swiotlb might copy the packet
>> > to a bounce buffer multiple times.
>> >
>> > We definitely can't apply your patch as-is.
>> Hmm.. Yeah, there is a bit of a mess there. I'm thinking of the
>> particular example of i386 where you have 32-bit DMA devices with more
>> than 4GB of RAM. If you then allow the device to access highmem then
>> the DMA mapping API can get presented with addresses above 4GB and
>> AFAIK I don't think it can cope with that situation on that platform.
>> Problem is that the NETIF_F_HIGHDMA check is generally too restrictive
>> in that situation, and it's really conflating two things into one (the
>> genuine can't-access-highmem part, and the "oh by the way, if highmem
>> can be >4GB then we can't access that") . If you have 3GB of RAM on
>> i386 with one of these drivers, you'll have packets being bounced
>> through lowmem without any real reason. I'll have a look into things a
>> bit further..
> Maybe it would be useful to start with splitting NETIF_F_HIGHDMA on two
> independent flags, i.e.:
>        #define NETIF_F_DMA_HIGH        (1 << 27)
>        #define NETIF_F_DMA_64BIT       (1 << 28)
> and keeping NETIF_F_HIGHDMA as
>        #define NETIF_F_HIGHDMA         (NETIF_F_DMA_HIGH | NET_F_DMA_64BIT)
> for now..?
> [ Next step would involve fixing illegal_highdma() check in net/core/dev.c
>  to distinguish between those new flags which in turn should allow sorting
>  out code in the device drivers on *per-driver* basis. ]

That seems like a reasonable approach to me. Only question is how to
implement the check for DMA_64BIT. Can we just check page_to_phys on
each of the pages in the skb to see if it's > 0xffffffff ? Are there
any architectures where it's more complicated than that?

Also, presumably these flags still wouldn't have any effect on
non-highmem architectures, same as NETIF_F_HIGHDMA now, since the best
we can do is copy the data to lowmem, which could still be >4GB in
this case. Therefore, the IOMMU (either HW or SWIOTLB, one of which
had better exist) just has to deal with it. (I suppose you could copy
to a buffer allocated with GFP_DMA32, but that likely wouldn't be a
win if you had a hardware IOMMU.)
To unsubscribe from this list: send the line "unsubscribe netdev" in
the body of a message to
More majordomo info at

Powered by blists - more mailing lists