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Date: Thu, 3 Sep 2020 14:44:41 -0700
From: Kees Cook <>
To: Sami Tolvanen <>
Cc: Masahiro Yamada <>, Will Deacon <>,
	Peter Zijlstra <>,
	Steven Rostedt <>,
	Greg Kroah-Hartman <>,
	"Paul E. McKenney" <>,
	Nick Desaulniers <>,,,,,,,,, Arvind Sankar <>
Subject: Re: [PATCH v2 01/28] x86/boot/compressed: Disable relocation

On Thu, Sep 03, 2020 at 01:30:26PM -0700, Sami Tolvanen wrote:
> From: Arvind Sankar <>
> The x86-64 psABI [0] specifies special relocation types
> (R_X86_64_[REX_]GOTPCRELX) for indirection through the Global Offset
> Table, semantically equivalent to R_X86_64_GOTPCREL, which the linker
> can take advantage of for optimization (relaxation) at link time. This
> is supported by LLD and binutils versions 2.26 onwards.
> The compressed kernel is position-independent code, however, when using
> LLD or binutils versions before 2.27, it must be linked without the -pie
> option. In this case, the linker may optimize certain instructions into
> a non-position-independent form, by converting foo@...PCREL(%rip) to $foo.
> This potential issue has been present with LLD and binutils-2.26 for a
> long time, but it has never manifested itself before now:
> - LLD and binutils-2.26 only relax
> 	movq	foo@...PCREL(%rip), %reg
>   to
> 	leaq	foo(%rip), %reg
>   which is still position-independent, rather than
> 	mov	$foo, %reg
>   which is permitted by the psABI when -pie is not enabled.
> - gcc happens to only generate GOTPCREL relocations on mov instructions.
> - clang does generate GOTPCREL relocations on non-mov instructions, but
>   when building the compressed kernel, it uses its integrated assembler
>   (due to the redefinition of KBUILD_CFLAGS dropping -no-integrated-as),
>   which has so far defaulted to not generating the GOTPCRELX
>   relocations.
> Nick Desaulniers reports [1,2]:
>   A recent change [3] to a default value of configuration variable
>   (ENABLE_X86_RELAX_RELOCATIONS OFF -> ON) in LLVM now causes Clang's
>   integrated assembler to emit R_X86_64_GOTPCRELX/R_X86_64_REX_GOTPCRELX
>   relocations. LLD will relax instructions with these relocations based
>   on whether the image is being linked as position independent or not.
>   When not, then LLD will relax these instructions to use absolute
>   addressing mode (R_RELAX_GOT_PC_NOPIC). This causes kernels built with
>   Clang and linked with LLD to fail to boot.
> Patch series [4] is a solution to allow the compressed kernel to be
> linked with -pie unconditionally, but even if merged is unlikely to be
> backported. As a simple solution that can be applied to stable as well,
> prevent the assembler from generating the relaxed relocation types using
> the -mrelax-relocations=no option. For ease of backporting, do this
> unconditionally.
> [0]
> [1]
> [2]
> [3]
> [4]
> Reported-by: Nick Desaulniers <>
> Signed-off-by: Arvind Sankar <>

Reviewed-by: Kees Cook <>

Kees Cook

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