This is the mail archive of the mailing list for the glibc project.

Index Nav: [Date Index] [Subject Index] [Author Index] [Thread Index]
Message Nav: [Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next]
Other format: [Raw text]

Re: ctermid: return string literal, document MT-Safety pitfall

On Nov 14, 2014, Florian Weimer <> wrote:

> On 11/14/2014 05:45 PM, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
>> Say, given:
>> char foo[5] = "12";
>> int main() {
>> signal (SIGUSR1, checkme)
>> strcpy (&foo[1], "23");
>> }
>> what standard-compliant values can checkme legitimately expect to find
>> in foo[0], foo[1], foo[2], foo[3], and foo[4]?

> foo is not an atomic object, so this is undefined.

Yeah, I goofed in the testcase, and I failed to mention the reasoning
was supposed to apply to earlier C standards, that we still intend to
comply with, so our implementation of strcpy shouldn't gratuitously

In order to avoid the undefinedness under e.g. C90, the actual string
couldn't be in static storage.  Getting ahold of a pointer to the string
storage could be messy, though; maybe C90 and C99 were written so as to
imply it couldn't be done at all, even if POSIX introduced means that
would make it possible, such as writing the pointer to a pipe, or to a
file using POSIX functions not defined in standard C.  If their intent
was to make access impossible, then my argument would indeed fall apart.

> As a tried to explain, things turn out rather messy if you add the
> _Atomic qualifier.  I still think the values are unspecified (despite
> the standard saying they are not) because the accesses from strcpy and
> the signal handler are not sequenced.

Once we make C11 the focus, getting the pointer to the signal handler is
easier, through an _Atomic intptr_t with static or per-thread storage,
but the string storage would have to be _Atomic as well, and then, as
you say, what might happen within strcpy, memcpy et al is not entirely
clear.  However, making it unspecified might be pushing it too far.

The standard could specify, for example, that it is unspecified, within
an interrupting signal handler, whether observed values would be those
originally held in the atomic storage, or those that should be put in
there by the copy, without permitting any other values.  That would be
in line with my understanding, and I'll dare now put forth the idea that
the apparent contradiction you point out might be an indication that
this was the intent.

But it could also say any value whatsoever would be permitted, which
might make writing temporary garbage or invalidating entire cache lines
more defensible.  I suppose we'll only know if we ask and get a
clarification...  It no longer matters for the situation that initiated
the debate, but it might matter for other future decisions.

Alexandre Oliva, freedom fighter
You must be the change you wish to see in the world. -- Gandhi
Be Free! --   FSF Latin America board member
Free Software Evangelist|Red Hat Brasil GNU Toolchain Engineer

Index Nav: [Date Index] [Subject Index] [Author Index] [Thread Index]
Message Nav: [Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next]