Handling panics inside vt(4) callbacks

From: Jean-Sébastien_Pédron <dumbbell_at_FreeBSD.org>
Date: Wed, 12 Apr 2023 20:45:27 UTC

While working on the DRM drivers, I don't always get a kernel core dump 
in case of a panic.

My hypothesis is that if the DRM driver code called by vt(4) panics, 
then the panic code might not go through successfully. The reason is 
because panic(9) prints the reason, a stacktrace and possibly some 
progress to the console, which calls vt(4) and the DRM driver code again.

I played with the following patch:

The idea is that before calling "vt_flush()" in "vtterm_done()", I set a 
global flag to true to indicate that vt(4) is called as part of kdb or a 
panic. If another panic occurs inside vt_flush(), typically the 
underlying DRM driver code, "vtterm_done()" is called recursively and 
"vt_flush()" might trigger the same panic again. If the flag is set, the 
entire function is skipped instead.

I test the patch by adding a panic(9) just before "vt_flush()" and I 
trigger the initial panic with debug.kdb.panic=1. I don't even load a 
DRM driver. My problem is that in this case, the laptop reboots 
immediately. However, if I replace panic(9) with a simple printf(9), it 
works as expected and I get a kernel dump.

I could not find something in panic(9) code that would reboot the 
computer in case of a nested panic.

Previous versions of the patch called doadump() and rebooted the 
computer explicitly if the flag was set, but it didn't work either and I 
thought I could simplify that patch and let panic(9) handle recursion. 
In other words, I just want to skip most of vt(4) code if vt(4) or DRM 

Does someone spot something wrong in my hypothesis or methodology?

Jean-Sébastien Pédron
The FreeBSD Project