Follow @Openwall on Twitter for new release announcements and other news
[<prev] [next>] [<thread-prev] [thread-next>] [day] [month] [year] [list]
Date: Thu, 3 Sep 2020 15:08:59 -0700
From: Kees Cook <>
To: Sami Tolvanen <>
Cc: Masahiro Yamada <>, Will Deacon <>,
	Peter Zijlstra <>,
	Steven Rostedt <>,
	Greg Kroah-Hartman <>,
	"Paul E. McKenney" <>,
	Nick Desaulniers <>,,,,,,,,
Subject: Re: [PATCH v2 09/28] kbuild: add support for Clang LTO

On Thu, Sep 03, 2020 at 01:30:34PM -0700, Sami Tolvanen wrote:
> This change adds build system support for Clang's Link Time
> Optimization (LTO). With -flto, instead of ELF object files, Clang
> produces LLVM bitcode, which is compiled into native code at link
> time, allowing the final binary to be optimized globally. For more
> details, see:
> The Kconfig option CONFIG_LTO_CLANG is implemented as a choice,
> which defaults to LTO being disabled. To use LTO, the architecture
> must select ARCH_SUPPORTS_LTO_CLANG and support:
>   - compiling with Clang,
>   - compiling inline assembly with Clang's integrated assembler,
>   - and linking with LLD.
> While using full LTO results in the best runtime performance, the
> compilation is not scalable in time or memory. CONFIG_THINLTO
> enables ThinLTO, which allows parallel optimization and faster
> incremental builds. ThinLTO is used by default if the architecture
> To enable LTO, LLVM tools must be used to handle bitcode files. The
> easiest way is to pass the LLVM=1 option to make:
>   $ make LLVM=1 defconfig
>   $ scripts/config -e LTO_CLANG
>   $ make LLVM=1
> Alternatively, at least the following LLVM tools must be used:
>   CC=clang LD=ld.lld AR=llvm-ar NM=llvm-nm
> To prepare for LTO support with other compilers, common parts are
> gated behind the CONFIG_LTO option, and LTO can be disabled for
> specific files by filtering out CC_FLAGS_LTO.
> Note that support for DYNAMIC_FTRACE and MODVERSIONS are added in
> follow-up patches.
> Signed-off-by: Sami Tolvanen <>

I remain crazy excited about being able to use this in upstream. :)

The only suggestion I have here, if it might help with clarity, would be
to remove DISABLE_LTO globally as a separate patch, since it's entirely
unused in the kernel right now. This series removes it as it goes, which
I think is fine, but it might cause some reviewers to ponder "what's
this DISABLE_LTO thing? Don't we need that?" without realizing currently
unused in the kernel.

I'm glad to see the general CONFIG_LTO, as I think it should be easy for
GCC LTO support to get added when someone steps up to do it. The bulk of
the changed needed to support GCC LTO are part of this series already,
since the build problems involving non-ELF .o files and init ordering
are shared by Clang and GCC AFAICT.

Reviewed-by: Kees Cook <>

Kees Cook

Powered by blists - more mailing lists

Confused about mailing lists and their use? Read about mailing lists on Wikipedia and check out these guidelines on proper formatting of your messages.