Which Page table is appled when MMU is turned on in boot process of ARM64

Chan Kim ckim at etri.re.kr
Fri Mar 18 01:35:12 EDT 2022

Hi JeongHwan,

Recently I followed the kernel boot process so now I understand how it's
The kernel starts at HEAD and it jumps to primary_entry. (code below is
5.10.0.  but in 5.4.21 it jumped to stext, just name change)
Primary_entry looks like this.


            bl  preserve_boot_args
            bl  el2_setup           // Drop to EL1, w0=cpu_boot_mode
            adrp    x23, __PHYS_OFFSET
            and x23, x23, MIN_KIMG_ALIGN - 1    // KASLR offset, defaults to
            bl  set_cpu_boot_mode_flag
            bl  __create_page_tables
             * The following calls CPU setup code, see arch/arm64/mm/proc.S
             * details.
             * On return, the CPU will be ready for the MMU to be turned on
             * the TCR will have been set.
            bl  __cpu_setup         // initialise processor
            b   __primary_switch

The page tables for id mapping (for 0x80000000 ~ .. physical address) and
swapper_pgdir (for virtual address) are setup inside __create_page_tables.
MMU is turned on in __primary_switch. (code below for 5.10.0-rc5)
You see there is bl __enable_mmu. Until MMU is turned on, the CPU has been
using physical address and pc-relative jumps. 
At the instant MMU is turned on, the page table for the current physical
address range is already setup so there is no problem using physical
address.(just identical mapping) 
The first place where kernel virtual address is used is at the end of
__primary_switch. The value __primary_switched is a virtual address
(starting with 0xffffffc0....) and from that point on virtual->physical
address mapping is used.  Old version will be the same. (I checked
previously for 5.4.21)

		    mov x19, x0             // preserve new SCTLR_EL1 value
		    mrs x20, sctlr_el1          // preserve old SCTLR_EL1
		    adrp    x1, init_pg_dir
		    bl  __enable_mmu
		#ifdef CONFIG_RELR
		    mov x24, #0             // no RELR displacement yet
		    bl  __relocate_kernel
		    ldr x8, =__primary_switched
		    adrp    x0, __PHYS_OFFSET
		    blr x8
		     * If we return here, we have a KASLR displacement in
x23 which we need
		     * to take into account by discarding the current kernel
mapping and
		     * creating a new one.
		    msr sctlr_el1, x20          // disable the MMU
		    bl  __create_page_tables        // recreate kernel
		    tlbi    vmalle1             // Remove any stale TLB
		    dsb nsh
		    msr sctlr_el1, x19          // re-enable the MMU
		    ic  iallu               // flush instructions fetched
		    dsb nsh             // via old mapping
		    bl  __relocate_kernel
		    ldr x8, =__primary_switched
		    adrp    x0, __PHYS_OFFSET
		    br  x8

Hope this helps.
Have a nice day!


> -----Original Message-----
> From: JeongHwan Kim <frog007.kernel.kr at gmail.com>
> Sent: Friday, March 18, 2022 10:41 AM
> To: kernelnewbies at kernelnewbies.org
> Subject: Which Page table is appled when MMU is turned on in boot process
> of ARM64
> Hi, everyone
> When ARM64 boots, it setup 2 page tables ("idmap_pg_dir" and
> "swapper_pgdir").
> On turning on MMU, which page table is applied?
> I heard that "idmap_pg_dir" is applied as soon as MMU is turned on.
> I cannot understand why "idmap_pg_dir" is applied, which is for "Lower"
> address.
> As I understand, the virtual address of kernel code is in "Higher"
> Can you explain why "idmap_pg_dir" is applied on MMU turning on?
> Thanks in advance
> J.Hwan Kim
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> Kernelnewbies mailing list
> Kernelnewbies at kernelnewbies.org
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