[ECOS] FW: Very serious problem with Cyg_Mutex::trylock(), when eCos is built with CYGDBG_USE_ASSERTS

Hans Peter Jepsen hpj@lodam.com
Wed Nov 19 15:08:00 GMT 2014


After a few days of serious debugging, we think, that we have found, that eCos has a very serious problem with Cyg_Mutex::trylock(), when eCos is built with CYGDBG_USE_ASSERTS.

The problem has the impact, that when using cyg_mutex_trylock(), the system might die with an assert failed, although there is no reason for it.

Here is, what we have found:

When build with CYGDBG_USE_ASSERTS the Cyg_Mutex::check_this() method will check, that there is consistency between the instance variables "locked" and "owner". See code below (from file packages/kernel/.../src/sync/mutex.cxx). However, since this consistency check is not atomic, is must only be done, when thread switching is prohibited.


Cyg_Mutex::check_this( cyg_assert_class_zeal zeal) const

    // check that we have a non-NULL pointer first
    if( this == NULL ) return false;

    switch( zeal )
    case cyg_system_test:
    case cyg_extreme:
    case cyg_thorough:
    case cyg_quick:
    case cyg_trivial:
        if(  locked && owner == NULL ) return false;
        if( !locked && owner != NULL ) return false;
    case cyg_none:

    return true;


This checking is used in the macro call CYG_ASSERTCLASS( this, "Bad this pointer") .
In Cyg_Mutex::trylock() the checking is done, before launching Cyg_Scheduler::lock() :

    CYG_REPORT_FUNCTYPE("returning %d");

    cyg_bool result = true;

    CYG_ASSERTCLASS( this, "Bad this pointer");

    // Prevent preemption

We ended up using Cyg_Mutex::lock() instead, where the order of Cyg_Scheduler::lock() and CYG_ASSERTCLASS( this, "Bad this pointer") in our eyes are correct:

    CYG_REPORT_FUNCTYPE("returning %d");

    cyg_bool result = true;
    Cyg_Thread *self = Cyg_Thread::self();

    // Prevent preemption

    CYG_ASSERTCLASS( this, "Bad this pointer");

Kind regards

Hans Peter Jepsen
Lodam Electronics, Sønderborg, Denmark

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