GCC Developers Potentially Deprecating Intel MPX

Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 24 May 2017 at 07:14 AM EDT. 1 Comment
It was just with GCC 6 that MPX support was flipped on with Intel's Memory Protection Extensions (MPX) just premiering with Skylake CPUs. But now GCC developers are thinking about potentially deprecating this feature.

Intel MPX is designed for increased security by checking pointer references at run-time to avoid buffer overflows. Aside from needing a Skylake or newer CPU for the new registers needed by MPX, there has been MPX support within the mainline Linux kernel, GCC compiler, and related components. But now GCC is eyeing the deprecation of their compiler support for MPX.

GCC developer Richard Biener had sent out a documentation patch to deprecate MPX. Intel developers have still been sending in fixes for MPX in GCC, but the bootstrapping with MPX has been broken and some developers are in favor of dropping this security feature in order to work on more easily restructuring other code.

See this mailing list thread for details. We'll need to wait and see if the MPX deprecation happens for GCC 8 or this Intel security feature is resurrected.
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