Re: [patch] pipe: add support for shrinking and growing pipes

From: Michael Kerrisk
Date: Sun May 23 2010 - 01:53:22 EST

On Sun, May 23, 2010 at 4:38 AM, Andrew Morton
<akpm@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> On Sun, 23 May 2010 07:30:01 +0200 Michael Kerrisk <mtk.manpages@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>> Hi all,
>> I see that this patch has hit Linus's git, so some questions
>> On Wed, May 19, 2010 at 6:49 PM, Linus Torvalds
>> <torvalds@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>> >
>> >
>> > On Wed, 19 May 2010, Miklos Szeredi wrote:
>> >>
>> >> One issue I see is that it's possible to grow pipes indefinitely.
>> >> Should this be restricted to privileged users?
>> >
>> > Yes. But perhaps only if it grows past the default (or perhaps "default*2"
>> > or similar). That way a normal user could shrink the pipe buffers, and
>> > then grow them again if he wants to.
>> >
>> > Oh, and I think you need to also require that there be at least two
>> > buffers. Otherwise we can't guarantee POSIX behavior, I think.
>> Is there any documentation (e.g., a man-pages patch) for these changes?
>> The argument of the fcntl() operations is expressed in pages. I take
>> it that this means that the semantics of the argument will very
>> depending on the system page size? So for example, 2 on x86 will mean
>> 8192 bytes, but will mean 32768 of ia64? That seems very weird. (And
>> what about architectures where the page size is switchable?) Such
>> changes in semantics should not be silent for the use, IMO.
> Well, there is getpagesize().  But I agree - this interface is just
> asking (x86) people to write non-portable code.
> otoh, if the arg was in bytes, they'd just hard-code "8192".  They're
> clever like that.
> But we have gone to some lengths to avoid exposing things like
> PAGE_SIZE and HZ in procfs, so it makes sense to take the same approach
> to syscalls.

Quite. All of the other memory-related APIs that I can think of
require the user to express the info in bytes. (mlock(),
remap_file_pages(), mmap(), mremap(), mprotect(), shmget(), and so
on). Not doing the same for this interface is needlessly inconsistent.
And while there will be the silly users you mention above, smart users
will know how to do the right thing with a consistently designed

Michael Kerrisk
Linux man-pages maintainer;
Author of "The Linux Programming Interface"
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