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SubjectRe: prctl(PR_SET_MM)
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Steven Rostedt wrote:

> On Mon, 2013-02-18 at 12:39 +1100, Amnon Shiloh wrote:
> > Hello,
> >
> > The code in "kernel/sys.c" provides the "prctl(PR_SET_MM)" function,
> > which is the only way a process can set or modify the following 11
> > per-process fields:
> >
> > start_code, end_code, start_data, end_data, start_brk, brk,
> > start_stack, arg_start, arg_end, env_start, env_end.
> >
> > Being able to set those fields is important, even crucial,
> > for any conceivable user-level checkpointing software, as
> > well as for migrating processes between different computers.
>
> You're saying that this is useful for code not needing a kernel with
> CHECKPOINT_RESTORE enabled. Correct?

Correct, this is an important feature that is useful for a whole
general class of applications, not only those needing CHECKPOINT_RESTORE.

Had this not been done as part of the CHECKPOINT_RESTORE project, it
would have certainly been done, sooner or later, by some other developers:
it just so happened that the CHECKPOINT_RESTORE people were the first to
(publically) fill this gap, but in fact this code in "kernel/sys.c" should
be general kernel code, not part of CHECKPOINT_RESTORE.

>
> >
> > Unfortunately, this code (essentially "prctl_set_mm()") is presently
> > enclosed in "#ifdef CONFIG_CHECKPOINT_RESTORE" which is configured
> > as "default n" in "init/Kconfig". Many system-administrators who
> > may like to have a checkpoint/restore or process-migration facility,
> > but use standard pre-packaged kernels, find the requirement to
> > configure and compile their own non-standard kernel difficult or
> > too prohibitive.
> >
> > Would it be possible to have this code enabled by default?
> >
> > This could be done in one of 4 ways:
> > 1) Having CONFIG_CHECKPOINT_RESTORE enabled by default; or
>
> Nope, that wont due. Kernel policy is to have things default n. Have an
> issue with a config, talk with the distribution you are dealing with.
> They set the policy of what configs get set for their kernels.

Yes, Randy Dunlap already raised this point, but I have no dealings with
any particular Linux distribution or the right connections to chase them
all, one by one - I develop generic software for the general Linux community,
that is intended to work distribution-independently. Even if I had access
to all distributions, it may be hard to convince them to configure
CONFIG_CHECKPOINT_RESTORE as a whole since it contains so much other code.

BTW, Can anyone explain this policy of "have things default n"?
When I go over "init/Kconfig" or most other Kconfig's, I can
actually see lots of "default y".

>
> > 2) Releasing this code from the "#ifdef CONFIG_CHECK_RESTORE"; or
> > 3) Placing this code within a different kernel-configuration option
> > (say "CONFIG_BASIC_CHECKPOINTING") that is enabled by default; or
> > 4) Placing this code under a dual #if, so instead of:
> > #ifdef CONFIG_CHECKPOINT_RESTORE
> > have:
> > #if defined(CONFIG_CHECKPOINT_RESTORE) || defined(CONFIG_BASIC_CHECKPOINTING)
>
> One of the above 3 can probably be worked out.
>
> -- Steve

Great!

Naturally I prefer option 2 (but the other two will do as well).

Thanks,
Amnon.


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