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Date:   Wed, 3 Apr 2019 10:46:01 -0700
From:   Daniel Colascione <dancol@...gle.com>
To:     Joel Fernandes <joel@...lfernandes.org>
Cc:     Masahiro Yamada <yamada.masahiro@...ionext.com>,
        Alexei Starovoitov <alexei.starovoitov@...il.com>,
        Networking <netdev@...r.kernel.org>,
        Linux Kernel Mailing List <linux-kernel@...r.kernel.org>,
        Andrew Morton <akpm@...ux-foundation.org>,
        Alexei Starovoitov <ast@...nel.org>,
        atish patra <atishp04@...il.com>,
        Dan Williams <dan.j.williams@...el.com>,
        Greg Kroah-Hartman <gregkh@...uxfoundation.org>,
        Jonathan Corbet <corbet@....net>,
        Karim Yaghmour <karim.yaghmour@...rsys.com>,
        Kees Cook <keescook@...omium.org>,
        "open list:DOCUMENTATION" <linux-doc@...r.kernel.org>,
        "open list:KERNEL SELFTEST FRAMEWORK" 
        <linux-kselftest@...r.kernel.org>,
        Manoj Rao <linux@...ojrajarao.com>,
        Randy Dunlap <rdunlap@...radead.org>
Subject: Re: [PATCH v2 1/2] Provide in-kernel headers for making it easy to
 extend the kernel

On Wed, Apr 3, 2019 at 10:20 AM Joel Fernandes <joel@...lfernandes.org> wrote:
>
> On Wed, Apr 03, 2019 at 04:48:37PM +0900, Masahiro Yamada wrote:
> > On Thu, Mar 28, 2019 at 2:32 AM Joel Fernandes <joel@...lfernandes.org> wrote:
> > >
> > > On Mon, Mar 25, 2019 at 09:49:47AM -0400, Joel Fernandes wrote:
> > > > On Thu, Feb 14, 2019 at 07:19:29PM -0800, Alexei Starovoitov wrote:
> > > > > On Mon, Feb 11, 2019 at 09:35:59AM -0500, Joel Fernandes (Google) wrote:
> > > > > > Introduce in-kernel headers and other artifacts which are made available
> > > > > > as an archive through proc (/proc/kheaders.txz file). This archive makes
> > > > > > it possible to build kernel modules, run eBPF programs, and other
> > > > > > tracing programs that need to extend the kernel for tracing purposes
> > > > > > without any dependency on the file system having headers and build
> > > > > > artifacts.
> > > > > >
> > > > > > On Android and embedded systems, it is common to switch kernels but not
> > > > > > have kernel headers available on the file system. Raw kernel headers
> > > > > > also cannot be copied into the filesystem like they can be on other
> > > > > > distros, due to licensing and other issues. There's no linux-headers
> > > > > > package on Android. Further once a different kernel is booted, any
> > > > > > headers stored on the file system will no longer be useful. By storing
> > > > > > the headers as a compressed archive within the kernel, we can avoid these
> > > > > > issues that have been a hindrance for a long time.
> > > > >
> > > > > The set looks good to me and since the main use case is building bpf progs
> > > > > I can route it via bpf-next tree if there are no objections.
> > > > > Masahiro, could you please ack it?
> > > >
> > > > FYI, Masahiro's comments were all address by v5:
> > > > https://lore.kernel.org/patchwork/project/lkml/list/?series=387311
> > > >
> > > > I believe aren't more outstanding concerns. Could we consider it for v5.2?
> > >
> > > Just to highlight the problem, today I booted v5.0 on an emulated Android
> > > device for some testing, that didn't have a set of prebuilt headers that we
> > > have been packaging on well known kernels, to get around this issue. This
> > > caused great pain and issues with what I was doing. I know me and many others
> > > really want this. With this I can boot an emulated Android device with
> > > IKCONFIG_PROC=y and run BCC with that that. Also I want to do the BCC side of
> > > the development, but first want to know if we can merge this upstream.
> > >
> > > Masahiro, I believe due diligence has been done in solidifying it as posted
> > > in the v5.  Anything else we need to do here? Are you with the patches?
> >
> >
> > As you said, these updates are "cosmetic".
> > Nobody is worried about (or interested in) them.
> > Even if we miss something, they are fixable later.
> >
> > I accept embedding headers in the kernel,
> > but I do not like the part about external module build.
> >  - kernel embeds build artifacts that depend on a
> >    particular host-arch
> >  - users do not know which compiler to use
> > Perhaps, you may remember my concerns.
> > https://lore.kernel.org/patchwork/patch/1046307/#1239501
>
> Masahiro,
> I think we already discussed this right. The compiler issue is a user-issue -
> it is not a problem that has arisen because this patch. Anyone can build a
> kernel module today without this patch - using a compiler that is different
> from the running kernel. So I did not fully understand your concern. This
> patch does not ship a compiler in the archive. The compiler is upto the user
> based on user environment. They can already shoot themself in foot without
> this patch.
>
> Greg,
> Would be great to get your thoughts here as well about Masami's concern.
>
> Honestly, the "kernel module building artifacts" bit is a bonus with this
> patch. The main thing we are adding or that we need is really the headers
> (for BCC). I just thought shipping the kernel build artifacts would also be
> awesome because people can now build kernel modules without needing a kernel
> tree at all.
>
> But I also want this stuff merged so if folks are really unhappy with the
> module build artifacts and only want headers - then that's also fine with me
> and I can yank them - that would also mean though that this work cannot be a
> replacement for linux-headers package on distros, so that would be sad.
>
> thanks!

IMHO, including the module build stuff is fine, and the stuff that
Masahiro mentions doesn't matter much. To be specific about the
concerns:

>> > >  - kernel embeds build artifacts that depend on a
> >    particular host-arch

What are these artifacts? We build the kernel as a standalone system.
It's not as if we statically link host glibc into it or something.

> >  - users do not know which compiler to use

Does that matter much? Do things ever break if the kernel proper is
built with GCC x.y.z and we build a module with GCC x.y.(z+1)? Why
would it? Structure layout is invariant across compiler version, or at
least ought to be.  And don't we have exactly the same problem with
any kernel headers package? I don't think it'd hurt to include the
output of $(CC) --version though.

Like Joel, I'd like to see this change merged. It'll make life easier
for a lot of people.

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