#OSSummit: Linux Continues to Pay the Price for CPU Hardware Vulnerabilities

Tuesday Aug 27th 2019

Greg Kroah-Hartman, who maintains the stable Linux kernel, outlined the many new CPU hardware security challenges that Linux developers have faced in the past year, that extend far beyond just the original Spectre and Meltdown issues.

From a Linux perspective, Kroah-Hartman said that in order to mitigate the various CPU vulnerabilities, the Linux kernel has had to do more work, flushing memory buffers to reduce risk among other activities. The additional controls that have been in place to mitigate the issues have also had a performance impact on Linux, that varies based on workload. Kroah-Hartman noted that the mitigations have led to a 15% performance impact for his workloads, which include reading email and building new Linux kernels.

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