Mill Computing, Inc. Forums The Mill Architecture Meltdown and Spectre Reply To: Meltdown and Spectre

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Please correct me if I’m wrong but I was under the impression that Mill software was supposed to be distributed as GenAsm and compiled to machine code at install time – by a local compiler which would have to be trusted implicitly anyway. That would be an opportunity for code-checking to create a list of which groups of instructions that are used in an object file.

There are centralised compiler systems out there already. Apple encourages iOS developers to submit apps in LLVM bitcode for ARM which Apple optimises differently for each of their CPUs and then those Mach-O binaries are signed. A Linux distribution could accept packages in source form and build and sign them on trusted build servers, and it would not change much because all binary packages are from that source anyway.

Anyway, obviously MMIO would be a better design choice for protecting CPU features than some weird software. I think however that some kind of enclosed compiler log could perhaps become useful as a complement if some bug or vulnerability would need to be mitigated (knock on wood…) or if there is a change in the ABI. For one thing, it could make it easier to find which and what would need to be recompiled.
I also had a wider scope in mind (I started before Meltdown was public): Not just low-level issues but also for safe linking of object files compiled from “type-safe” languages where the rules of the language are relied upon to enforce security policy.