Re: v2.6.31-rc6: BUG: unable to handle kernel NULL pointerdereference at 0000000000000008

From: Frederic Weisbecker
Date: Tue Aug 25 2009 - 10:24:38 EST

On Mon, Aug 24, 2009 at 09:10:38PM -0700, Linus Torvalds wrote:
> On Tue, 25 Aug 2009, Frederic Weisbecker wrote:
> >
> > Now that also makes the TTY_LDISC flag clearing unprotected by
> > tty->ldisc_mutex.
> Yes.
> > tty_set_ldisc() can play concurrently with these flags right?
> .. but that shouldn't matter.
> The actual bit-setting is "atomic" already - and any other atomicity is
> pretty much unattainable, because all the routines in question drop the
> lock they need to hold in order to make it really be reliably atomic.
> > tty_ldisc_halt() could remain protected by the mutex, so that the
> > flag is safely toggled. Once it is cleared, we can ensure no more
> > user can ref it and the lock can be relaxed while the pending
> > work is flushed.
> That would make no difference at all. tty_set_ldisc() won't care about the
> flag (in fact, it will do its own tty_ldisc_halt()), and will be happy to
> replace the ldisc we just flushed with a new one regardless of whether it
> was halted before or not. And it will do tty_ldisc_enable() regardless of
> whether it was enabled or not before.
> In fact, because tty_set_ldisc() itself had to release the ldisc_mutex
> (for the same reason), you have this issue regardless of whether you hold
> the lock in tty_hangup() or not: the two will always be able to get "mixed
> up", because they - by design - have to release that silly lock.

Hmm, that's why I had a headache while trying to imagine every races in this

> That's why I said I was unhappy about the tty layer locking - it really
> isn't very sane. Things like tty_set_ldisc() will drop the lock in the
> middle because of that crazy workqueue deadlock - exactly for the same
> reasons that tty_ldisc_hangup() will need to do that "wait for things to
> flush" without the lock held.
> So I could have taken the ldisc_mutex, and then just dropped it
> temporarily while waiting for any workqueue entries, but as far as I can
> tell, it doesn't actually solve anything.

Yeah, indeed.

> I considered using the TTY_LDISC_CHANGING bit(*) there to protect against
> tty_set_ldisc(), and it may even be the right solution. But there's no way
> I'll do that kind of changes this late in the -rc series.
> We also have the "TTY_HUPPED" bit that disables tty_set_ldisc(), but that
> is set too late by do_tty_hangup(), and so doesn't fix the problem either.
> Again, moving it earlier may be a solution, but again, it's not
> appropriate for this late in the -rc.


> Finally, the solution that is most likely the _real_ solution would be to
> just fix the locking. The whole "ldisc_mutex" seems dubious. It's not even
> a real lock - exactly because it's dropped - and we already really use
> that TTY_LDISC_CHANGING bit to do the _real_ locking. I don't think it
> needs to be a mutex at all. The locking is just very dubious.
> And that, least of all, is anything I'm willing to really do in -rc.
> Anyway, I'll happily be shown wrong. I think the (second) patch I sent out
> is an acceptable hack in the presense of the current locking, but as I
> said, I'm not exactly happy about it, because I do think the locking is
> broken.
> Linus
> (*) We already have that hacky open-coded "lock" using TTY_LDISC_CHANGING,
> which protects two different tty_set_ldisc()'s from screwing up each other
> when they drop the semaphore. It could be just separated out into a
> function of its own, and then the hangup code would/could/should be taught
> to use that logic.

Ok, thanks.

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