POWER Gets SMAP-Like Functionality, 32-bit KASAN Support On Linux 5.2

Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 14 May 2019 at 01:01 AM EDT. Add A Comment
Not only has the Linux 5.2 kernel been exciting on the x86_64 and ARM front, but there is also a fair amount of new IBM POWER architecture updates that landed for this summer 2019 kernel update.

First up, POWER is now supporting a kernel user-space access/execution prevention technology. This feature is similar to Intel's SMAP (Supervisor Mode Access Prevention) and similar SMEP / PAN / PXN technologies. This feature will prevent the kernel from accidentally accessing user-space outside of certain calls or ever executing user-space.

Also on the security front but for 32-bit POWER is support for the Kernel Address Sanitizer (KASAN). This Linux 5.2 merge window has also brought a rewrite of more code into C around their idle handling bits, a fast path entry for syscalls on 32-bit CPUs yielding a 12~17% improvement in a syscall benchmark, and various other low-level improvements.

More details on this new material via this Git merge.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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