Re: [pcre-dev] [RFC PATCH 1/2] grep: fallback to interpreter…

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Author: Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason
Date:  
To: Carlo Arenas
CC: sandals, git, pcre-dev
Subject: Re: [pcre-dev] [RFC PATCH 1/2] grep: fallback to interpreter if JIT fails with pcre1

On Tue, Dec 11 2018, Carlo Arenas wrote:

> On Mon, Dec 10, 2018 at 12:24 AM Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason
> <avarab@???> wrote:
>> On Mon, Dec 10 2018, brian m. carlson wrote:
>> > Considering that some Linux users use PaX kernels with standard
>> > distributions and that most BSD kernels can be custom-compiled with a
>> > variety of options enabled or disabled, I think this is something we
>> > should detect dynamically.
>>
>> Right. I'm asking whether we're mixing up cases where it can always be
>> detected at compile-time on some systems v.s. cases where it'll
>> potentially change at runtime.
>
> the closer we come to a system specific issues is with macOS where the
> compiler (in some newer versions) is allocating the memory using the
> MAP_JIT flag, which seems was originally meant to be only used in iOS
> and has the strange characteristic of failing the mmap for versions
> older than 10.14 if it was called more than once.
>
> IMHO as brian pointed out, this is better done at runtime.


Sure. Just something I was wondering since it wasn't clear from the
patch. Makes sense, if it's always runtime (or not worth the effort to
divide the two) let's do that.

>> >> I'm inclined to suggest that we should have another ifdef here for "if
>> >> JIT fails I'd like it to die", so that e.g. packages I build (for
>> >> internal use) don't silently slow down in the future, only for me to
>> >> find some months later that someone enabled an overzealous SELinux
>> >> policy and we swept this under the rug.
>> >
>> > My view is that JIT is a nice performance optimization, but it's
>> > optional. I honestly don't think it should even be exposed through the
>> > API: if it works, then things are faster, and if it doesn't, then
>> > they're not. I don't see the value in an option for causing things to be
>> > broken if someone improves the security of the system.
>>
>> For many users that's definitely the case, but for others that's like
>> saying a RDBMS is still going to be functional if the "ORDER BY"
>> function degrades to bubblesort. The JIT improves performance my
>> multi-hundred percents sometimes, so some users (e.g. me) rely on that
>> not being silently degraded.
>
> the opposite is also true, specially considering that some old
> versions of pcre result in a segfault instead of an error message and
> therefore since there is no way to disable JIT, the only option left
> is not to use `git grep -P` (or the equivalent git log call)


Right, of course it segfaulting is a bug...

>> So I'm wondering if we can have something like:
>>
>>     if (!jit)
>>         if (must_have_jit)
>>             BUG(...); // Like currently
>>         else
>>             fallback(); // new behavior

>
> I am wondering if something like a `git doctor` command might be an
> interesting alternative to this.
>
> This way we could (for ex: in NetBSD) give the user a hint of what to
> do to make their git grep -P faster when we detect we are running the
> fallback, and might be useful as well to provide hints for
> optimizations that could be used in other cases (probably even
> depending on the size of the git repository)


Such a command has been discussed before on-list. I think it's a good
idea for the more fuzzy things like optimization suggests, but for the
case of expecting something at compile-time where not having that at
runtime is a boolean state it's nicer to just die with a BUG(...).

> For your use case, you just need to add a crontab that will trigger an
> alarm if this command ever mentions PCRE


...The reason I'd like it to die is because it neatly and naturally
integrates with all existing test infrastructure I have. I.e. build
package, run stress tests on all sorts of machines, see that it passes,
and SELinux isn't ruining it or whatever.

I know this works now (I always get PCRE v2 JIT) because it doesn't die
or segfault. I'd like not to have it regress to having worse
performance.

Having a cronjob to test for "does PCRE v2 JIT still work?" is not as
easy & isn't a drop-in solution.