nonforking process copying

Fri Oct 7 10:09:00 GMT 2011

On Fri, Oct 7, 2011 at 12:30 PM, Corinna Vinschen wrote:
> On Oct  7 09:29, LRN wrote:
>> I've been wondering about the way cygwin forks W32 processes.
>> One of the things W32 seems to be unable to do is to let you delete an
>> executable file that is being executed (AFAIU, there's a file handle
>> opened somewhere within w32 subsystem, preventing that).
>> One of the most prominent self-deleting techniques is to run another
>> process, have it wait upon the main process, and once the main process
>> terminates, also delete main process' executable, and then terminate
>> itself (special delete-on-close behaviour is used to remove the
>> executable of the second process). This is, again, due to the fact
>> that the main process can't delete its own executable while it is running.
>> When fork() runs, it usually creates the forked process based on the
>> same executable image file, which is (usually) replaced later by the
>> contents of another executable file (using exec()).
>> However, AFAICS, nothing really prevents me from creating a fork()
>> variant that creates a new process using a *copy* of the original
>> executable image file, and then closing the original. This way it
>> should be possible to release the handle W32 subsystem keeps on the
>> original image file, so that it can be removed or replaced.
> When you fork, it's too late.  The parent process has already an open
> handle to the executable.  The forked process just opens YA handle.
> If that's feasible at all, it would be in the exec functions.  However,
> this wouldn't work for the first process started in a Cygwin process
> tree.  A general implementation would have to be called at process
> initialization.
> I think that something like this could be made to work, but I have a
> gut feeling that this would slow down Cygwin even more.  We already
> have enough complaints about Cygwin's performance as it is.
To clarify: I did not intend to propose this as something to be
implemented in Cygwin
I'm writing this here because Cygwin developers tend to know about such things.
(sorry, if i was not supposed to talk about
not-directly-related-to-Cygwin things on this list).
>> However we all remember the base addresses problem that arises when
>> forking in cygwin (and maybe other problems that i am not aware of),
>> so maybe forking is not a viable solution here (assuming that
>> arbitrary non-cygwin processes are going to be "moved" this way)? Are
>> matching base addresses for DLLs simply one of the POSIX requirements,
>> or is it a practical requirement (i.e. things break if this
>> requirement is not fulfilled)?
> DLLs have data sections.  Data sections contain pointers.  If you can't
> exactly reproduce the memory state of these DLLs after fork, you are in
> trouble.
OK, that makes this approach pretty much useless.

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