back to article STIBP, collaborate and listen: Linus floats Linux kernel that 'fixes' Intel CPUs' Spectre slowdown

Linus Torvalds has stuck to his “no swearing” resolution with his regular Sunday night Linux kernel release candidate announcement. Probably the most important aspect of the weekend's release candidate is that it, in a way, improves the performance of STIBP, which is a mitigation that stops malware exploiting a Spectre security …

  1. Paul J Turner

    He should hug off and mind his own business

    In an age when the F word is generally permitted on radio, what is the problem with it being in Linux source comments? Are we protecting all the kiddy coders or are the coders usually adults?

    1. Nick Kew Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      Re: He should hug off and mind his own business

      It's a Code of Conduct, innit? At least censoring out pink marshmallows[1] isn't weaponising it to attack some poor bugger.

      [1] Seen elsewhere in a site with a deliberately silly swear filter.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: He should hug off and mind his own business

        > It's a Code of Conduct, innit?

        "Code of Madness" is the preferred term these days.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: He should hug off and mind his own business

      How's this for an idea: All those of us who are sick of snowflakes needing a safe space from being micro-aggressed by sporadic use of bad language should adopt an otherwise good, acceptable word to colloquially mean the same thing, until it sticks. When they start censoring that, we'll go and ruin another word the same way.

      I suggest we start with a word for a concept the snowflakes are particularly fond of. Any suggestions?

      1. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

        Re: He should hug off and mind his own business

        'Duck'

        Snowflakes like the fur of ducks, and they duck if given a Non-Maskable Interrupt (BOFH-style).

        Oh, that (NMI) is a good word, too.

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: He should hug off and mind his own business

        " All those of us who are sick of snowflakes needing a safe space from being micro-aggressed by sporadic use of bad language should adopt an otherwise good, acceptable word to colloquially mean the same thing, until it sticks"

        I nominate the OTHER 'F' word: FEEL

        (I have been regularly playing THAT one for laughs, for YEARS)

      3. A.P. Veening Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: He should hug off and mind his own business

        How about "snowflake"? Should get the snowflakes pretty riled up pretty quickly.

      4. John Sturdy
        Boffin

        Re: He should hug off and mind his own business

        "Posix" has been used as a synonym (see http://wiki.wlug.org.nz/POSIX_ME_HARDER).

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: He should hug off and mind his own business

        Movies in years gone by regularly overdubbed the F word . It became known as "funstering" as in "lets get them funsters".

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: He should hug off and mind his own business

      “hug up the programming interface.”

      What the fuck is that supposed to mean?

      1. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

        Re: He should hug off and mind his own business

        What the fuck is that supposed to mean?

        Somebody or something is attracted towards programming interfaces.

        1. HieronymusBloggs

          Re: He should hug off and mind his own business

          "Somebody or something is attracted towards programming interfaces."

          Interfaceophile? Show me your STDIN.

          1. VikiAi Silver badge
            Go

            Re: Show me your STDIN

            Ewww. That sounds like something you get for not using a proper wrapper on your pipe!

      2. Steve Crook

        Re: He should hug off and mind his own business

        Perhaps he meant "fug". I'd go for Flip, it worked well in the censored version of the original Repo Man. Or Frak.

        Or, perhaps, not be a dick, and leave things as they are.

        We're getting worse than the Victorians lobbing the genitals off statues. I always wondered where they stored them afterwards. In a big hanger like the one from Raiders Of The Lost Ark, but crammed full of cocks and balls cut off statues...

        1. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
          Childcatcher

          Re: He should hug off and mind his own business

          We're getting worse than the Victorians...

          Thus giving new scope to the term "cringeworthy"!

          1. Tom 7 Silver badge

            Re: Worse than the Victorians,

            How many pins do I have to make covers for this fucking time?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: He should hug off and mind his own business

      It's called creating a precedent.

      Allow some shit move like this to pass 'oh, but it's so innocuous, such a minor change' and you'll find it harder to stop the next 'innocuous' change, once they've got a couple of them under their belt, the 'not quite innocuous' changes start piling up and you'll find it hard to block them.

      (Not that I've seen this sort of scenario being played out by a clique within an organisation before, you understand [Greenock - early 70's, Dundee - early 80's, London - mid-90's])

      I've said this before here and in other places, I'm getting increasingly twitchy about the way Linux is heading, systemd and the attendant nonsense surrounding it I can avoid, ignore and work around, but finding out that a Kernel developer seriously submitted this as a patch is another indicator to me that there's something foul afoot there, considering this follows the recent drama surrounding Linus, you'd almost swear that it was a deliberately provocative weasel move..

    5. georgezilla

      Re: He should hug off and mind his own business

      There are times that the use of the word "fuck" is the only appropriate word. Times like ...

      "Go the FUCK away!"

      Where it is the only way to get across your exact meaning.

      Like in the work place where saying ...

      "Go away, or I'm going to beat you stupid ass!"

      Just might get you fired.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: He should hug off and mind his own business

        "Go the FUCK away!"

        So wordy.

        A cold, hard stare and a single "Leave" in a dark tone can express lots. If that doesn't work, a just-loud-enough-to-be-heard "fuck off" expresses things plenty enough I find. Anyone who does not get that (regardless of their grasp of the English language) is probably already brain dead.

  2. whitepines Silver badge
    WTF?

    So if I understand this correctly, Intel is knowingly leaving an exploit available to advanced malware just to hide the fact that their broken processors would have terrible performance operating with the same security level as competitors. One could say noncompetitive performance, even.

    So, does Intel have legal liability for malware using this hole now? Or do they have liability for the inflated benchmarks they are putting out on vulnerable systems?

    Seriously, what gives?

    1. John G Imrie Silver badge

      OK Assumption bussting time

      Intel is not hiding it, note all the publicity earlier on in the year. Unfortunately the bug is in code that is so fundamental to how modern day multi threaded processors work that to fully fix it will require a fundamental redesign of the chips. Current chips[1] IIRC can't be patched without causing a slowdown.

      The amount of slowdown depends on what each program is actually doing and can't be guessed.

      AMD and other chip manufacturers have the same problem.

      As to legal liability I doubt it, we wos warned.

      [1] Please correct this if I'm wrong

      1. Remy Redert

        Re: OK Assumption bussting time

        Don't forget that a big part of the slowdown with the patch is down to hyperthreading being a terrible idea in general. Disable hyperthreading (which doesn't help much performance much if any for most workloads) and lose most of the performance hit associated with the mitigation patch.

        1. Dazed and Confused

          Re: hyperthreading being a terrible idea in general

          which doesn't help much performance much if any for most workloads

          This is very application dependent. If you're getting L3 cache misses then the HyperThreading helps, it's just doing a context switch in HW. If your application is clever enough not to spend most of its time waiting to get data from memory then HW multithreading won't work. I seem to remember that for the TPC-C benchmark it made about a 50% difference when you enabled the HyperThreading, but then TPC-C is a bloody stupid app. Mind the biggest problem with had with TPC-C and the multithreading was that for the CPU involved a certain DB vendor doubled the license fee, so you got a 50% speed up for a 100% cost up.

    2. bazza Silver badge

      It's not just Intel AFAIK.

      This whole sorry saga was kinda inevitable as soon as CPUs started having microcode; someone was sooner or later going to end up with a micro architecture that didn't really implement the advertised machine architecture.

      OK, it was a way of getting better performance from existing software on new CPU designs, but we're paying a price for that now. Perhaps if microcode wasn't so opaque, perhaps if we didn't use it at all, problems like this would be more readily apparent before they got burnt into decades worth of CPUs.

      1. Warm Braw Silver badge

        as soon as CPUs started having microcode

        Microcode (or microprogramming as he called it) was invented by Maurice Wilkes in 1951 and pretty much every family of computers that implements the same instruction set on a range of different hardware has used it since in some form or another.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I like the new Linus about as much as I like jazz hands Mac

    Yes I'm old. But that doesn't change the fact that millennials are f'ing p'ssies.

    1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: I like the new Linus about as much as I like jazz hands Mac

      Don't worry gramps, you'll get over it. Or die. Definitely one of those.

      1. Mr Benny

        Re: I like the new Linus about as much as I like jazz hands Mac

        "Or die"

        I hate to break the bad news to you son, but so will you.

      2. georgezilla

        Re: I like the new Linus about as much as I like jazz hands Mac

        " ... Don't worry gramps .... "

        Don't worry child. Someday you will grow up. Or not.

        Definitely one of those.

        Well maybe not. But for the sake of the human race I hope so.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Meh

      Re: I like the new Linus about as much as I like jazz hands Mac

      I'm old too. But I recognise there are idiots in every generation, including ours. And I don't expect the proportion is really very different between 'millennials' and us.

      1. Mongrel

        Re: I like the new Linus about as much as I like jazz hands Mac

        And if there is a problem with Millennials, why aren't we blaming the parents?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I like the new Linus about as much as I like jazz hands Mac

          {...] why aren't we blaming the parents?

          An interesting new series on the BBC about experiments to judge babies' development approaching the age of two. "Babies: their wonderful world".

          The first episode looked at things like playmate selection bias, self-control, and whether the early use of touch screens was detrimental or beneficial.

          The "see again" iplayer will have geographic limitations.

        2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

          Re: why aren't we blaming millennials' parents

          We are the parents...

        3. georgezilla

          Re: I like the new Linus about as much as I like jazz hands Mac

          " ... why aren't we blaming the parents? ... "

          I do. But have found that the parents are "f'ing p'ssies" too.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I like the new Linus about as much as I like jazz hands Mac

            " ... why aren't we blaming the parents? ... "

            I do. But have found that the parents are "f'ing p'ssies" too.

            Well of course. I mean that's pretty obvious! If the father wasn't "f'ing p'ssies" then how would the child have been conceived?

            Whatever do they teach kids in the UK schools these days....

            </jk>

    3. georgezilla

      Re: I like the new Linus about as much as I like jazz hands Mac

      Ding! Ding! Ding!

      We have us a winner!

      Don, please tell them what they've won.

  4. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge

    Business-appropriate vocabulary

    I distinctly remember an earlier attempt to make the kernel comments business-appropriate, some 18-20 years ago maybe, but I can't be... eh... hugged... to look up a reference.

    What the hug, I just grepped the kernel code. That earlier attempt was probably just a proposal.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lets remove all

    Copy on Write mechanisms from the kernel too, to avoid offending vegans.

    1. herman Silver badge

      Re: Lets remove all

      Holy COW, what about the Brahmins?

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Lets remove all

        And lets not get started on BlockJains.

  6. herman Silver badge

    Just replace 'fucked' with the Slovak translation of 'really'.

  7. _LC_ Bronze badge
    Paris Hilton

    "Sakkinen said his intent was serious"

    The notion that we have such idiots working on “everybody’s” kernel gives me the creeps.

    1. oiseau Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: "Sakkinen said his intent was serious"

      ... such idiots working on “everybody’s” kernel ...

      Indeed.

      Just the phrase I was looking for.

      Have a beer --->

  8. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    He missed much more

    After some debate, Sakkinen acknowledged that, as a Finn

    Most of that swearing including that particular comment in the Sun source is by DaveM and it has a twist added to it. No matter how much you scrub the data, the METADATA in the kernel mailing list headers, git history, etc remains. If you can read/speak any of the major slavic languages (*) the email addresses, hosts, etc from which the code originated make for a very interesting reading. But he probably can't grok that. Bless him.

    It is an interesting question: "Why DaveM and several other major Linux developers have the habit of naming some of their machines using words which are not used in polite company in Eastern Europe?" No idea what's the answer. Something which El Reg can ask one day perhaps.

    All Slavic except Bulgarian and Macedonian use the same C word and that word is present quite prominently on the metadata side of the Linux kernel history.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: He missed much more

      /me reads the fine print... "the same C word" - you mean 'Cat' right?

      remembering the 'hand' rule for 'Motion, Field, Current' I learned in the military - "Mary's Fuzzy... Cat"

      (and 'Cat' is on the middle finger, naturally)

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Only in six places ?

    Out of pure curiosity, I headed over to github to see what all the fuss is about.

    Much to my amazement, 'fuck" only showed up in six pieces of kernel source.

    I'm not sure what all the fucking fuss is about ! (As v1.0 Linus might have put it )

  10. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

    Oh FFS!

    What's he got against fuck? Per this site it is one of the most useful words in the English language:

    NSFW:

    http://www.angelfire.com/or/mckennap/fuck.html

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I am in favor

    Of cleansing the comments of filthy verbiage. I would posit that the replacement ought be the same number of symbols though.

    As for "We're getting worse than the Victorians lobbing the genitals off statues"-- where did they lob them to? Maybe they are hidden in one of the cabinets in the fascinating Naples' Gabenetto Segreto.

    As for oddities, there is the monumental metal statue with (human) parts detachable (horse parts seemingly aren't an issue), for when the Pope floated by on his boat. You know, unscrew the parts, and later screwing them back in, well used in the meantime.

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