[PATCH] Revert "Enable '-Werror' by default for all kernel builds"

Nathan Chancellor nathan at kernel.org
Tue Sep 7 23:00:51 UTC 2021

On Wed, Sep 08, 2021 at 12:14:19AM +0200, Marco Elver wrote:
> On Tue, Sep 07, 2021 at 01:30PM -0700, Nick Desaulniers wrote:
> > On Tue, Sep 7, 2021 at 12:16 PM Linus Torvalds <torvalds at linux-foundation.org> wrote:
> [...]
> > > I'm not going to revert that change. I probably will have to limit it
> > > (by making that WERROR option depend on certain expectations), but
> > > basically any maintainer who has code that causes warnings should
> > > expect that they will have to fix those warnings.
> > 
> > I'm not 100% against it; I think it could land in a more useful
> > variation. But it would be good to discuss that on-list, and give it
> > time to soak. This is a conversation we should be having with CI
> > maintainers IMO, and folks that maintain the build infra, at least.
> > I'm happy to kick off that discussion with this RFC.
> Here's a datapoint: I had to disable CONFIG_WERROR on a bunch of syzbot
> instances which started failing because of -Werror [1], because syzbot's
> time is better spent on fuzzing, and having the odd warning in some
> subsystem penalize fuzzing of the entire kernel is not appropriate.
> [1] https://github.com/google/syzkaller/commit/e096c0a2a414e487412c9669426780ce5acdde9d
> Getting the kernel built is a hard requirement for any sort of runtime
> testing. Once the kernel is built, runtime testing of various subsystems
> can proceed in parallel. A single warning in some odd subsystem
> penalizing the _entire_ kernel's testing progress is inappropriate. The
> severity of a use-after-free bug found by runtime testing is orders of
> magnitude more severe than some "unused variable" warning. Now such a
> warning would delay finding bugs at runtime on many CI systems that
> haven't yet disabled the warning.
> I'm predicting most distributions and runtime-focused CIs will disable
> the warning.
> I have formulated this in the form of a patch below, that might move
> this new Kconfig option towards its appropriate usecases by default.
> The intent is not to dispute the usefulness of -Werror, but select the
> appropriate usecases by default, limiting friction for all those who can
> do little more than say CONFIG_WERROR=n.
> Thanks,
> -- Marco
> ------ >8 ------
> From: Marco Elver <elver at google.com>
> Date: Tue, 7 Sep 2021 23:12:08 +0200
> Subject: [PATCH] kbuild: Only default to -Werror if COMPILE_TEST
> The cross-product of the kernel's supported toolchains, architectures,
> and configuration options is large. So large, that it's generally
> accepted to be infeasible to enumerate and build+test them all
> (many compile-testers rely on randomly generated configs).
> Without the possibility to enumerate all possible combinations of
> toolchains, architectures, and configuration options, it is inevitable
> that compiler warnings in this space exist.
> With -Werror, this means that an innumerable set of kernels are now
> broken, yet had been perfectly usable before (confused compilers, code
> with warnings unused, or luck).
> Distributors will necessarily pick a point in the toolchain X arch X
> config space, and if unlucky, will have a broken build. Granted, those
> will likely disable CONFIG_WERROR and move on.
> The kernel's default configuration is unlikely to be suitable for all
> users, but it's inappropriate to force many users to set CONFIG_WERROR=n.
> This also holds for CI systems which are focused on runtime testing,
> where the odd warning in some subsystem will disrupt testing of the rest
> of the kernel. Many of those runtime-focused CI systems run tests or
> fuzz the kernel using runtime debugging tools. Runtime testing of
> different subsystems can proceed in parallel, and potentially uncover
> serious bugs; halting runtime testing of the entire kernel because of
> the odd warning (now error) in a subsystem or driver is simply
> inappropriate.
> Therefore, runtime-focused CI systems will likely choose CONFIG_WERROR=n
> as well.
> The appropriate usecase for -Werror is therefore compile-test focused
> builds (often done by developers or CI systems).
> Reflect this in the Kconfig option by making the default value of WERROR
> Signed-off-by: Marco Elver <elver at google.com>

Reviewed-by: Nathan Chancellor <nathan at kernel.org>

> ---
>  init/Kconfig | 2 +-
>  1 file changed, 1 insertion(+), 1 deletion(-)
> diff --git a/init/Kconfig b/init/Kconfig
> index 8cb97f141b70..11f8a845f259 100644
> --- a/init/Kconfig
> +++ b/init/Kconfig
> @@ -139,7 +139,7 @@ config COMPILE_TEST
>  config WERROR
>  	bool "Compile the kernel with warnings as errors"
> -	default y
> +	default COMPILE_TEST
>  	help
>  	  A kernel build should not cause any compiler warnings, and this
>  	  enables the '-Werror' flag to enforce that rule by default.
> -- 

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