Re: [PATCH RFC v5] pidns: introduce syscall translate_pid

From: Nagarathnam Muthusamy
Date: Tue May 15 2018 - 13:50:40 EST

On 05/15/2018 10:40 AM, Nagarathnam Muthusamy wrote:

On 05/15/2018 10:36 AM, Konstantin Khlebnikov wrote:

On 15.05.2018 20:19, Nagarathnam Muthusamy wrote:

On 04/24/2018 10:36 PM, Konstantin Khlebnikov wrote:
On 23.04.2018 20:37, Nagarathnam Muthusamy wrote:

On 04/05/2018 12:02 AM, Konstantin Khlebnikov wrote:
On 05.04.2018 01:29, Eric W. Biederman wrote:
Nagarathnam Muthusamy <nagarathnam.muthusamy@xxxxxxxxxx> writes:

On 04/04/2018 12:11 PM, Konstantin Khlebnikov wrote:
Each process have different pids, one for each pid namespace it belongs.
When interaction happens within single pid-ns translation isn't required.
More complicated scenarios needs special handling.

For example:
- reading pid-files or logs written inside container with pid namespace
- attaching with ptrace to tasks from different pid namespace
- passing pids across pid namespaces in any kind of API

Currently there are several interfaces that could be used here:

Pid namespaces are identified by inode number of /proc/[pid]/ns/pid.

Using the inode number in interfaces is not an option. Especially not
withou referencing the device number for the filesystem as well.

This is supposed to be single-instance fs,
not part of proc but referenced but its magic "symlinks".

Device numbers are not mentioned in "man namespaces".

Pids for nested Pid namespaces are shown in file /proc/[pid]/status.
In some cases conversion pid -> vpid could be easily done using this
information, but backward translation requires scanning all tasks.

Unix socket automatically translates pid attached to SCM_CREDENTIALS.
This requires CAP_SYS_ADMIN for sending arbitrary pids and entering
into pid namespace, this expose process and could be insecure.

This patch adds new syscall for converting pids between pid namespaces:

pid_t translate_pid(pid_t pid, int source_type, int source,

@source_type and @target_type defines type of following arguments:

TRANSLATE_PID_CURRENT_PIDNSÂ - current pid namespace, argument is unused
TRANSLATE_PID_TASK_PIDNSÂÂÂÂ - task pid-ns, argument is task pid

I believe using pid to represent the namespace has been already
discussed in V1 of this patch in
after which we moved on to fd based version of this interface.

Or in short why is the case of pids important?

You Konstantin you almost said why they were important in your message
saying you were going to send this one. However you don't explain in
your description why you want to identify pid namespaces by pid.

Open of /proc/[pid]/ns/pid requires same permissions as ptrace,
pid based variant doesn't have such restrictions.

Can you provide more information on usecase requiring PID translation but not used for tracing related purposes?

Any introspection for [nested] containers. It's easier to work when you have all information when you don't have any.
For example our CMS allows to start nested sub-container (or even deeper) by request from any container and have to tell back which pid task is have. And it could translate any pid inside into accessible by client and vice versa.

I still dont get the exact reason why PID based approach to identify the namespace during pid translation process is absolutely required compared to fd based approach.

As I told open(/proc/%d/ns/pid) have security restrictions - same uid/CAP_SYS_PTRACE/whatever
Pidns-fd holds pid-namespace and without restrictions could be abused.
Pid based API is racy but always available without any restrictions.

I get that Pid based API is available without any restrictions but do we have any existing usecase which requires Pid based API but cannot use Pidns-fd based API? Most of the usecases discussed in this thread deals with introspection of a process by another process and I believe that security requirement for opening (/proc/%d/ns/pid) is required for all such usecases. In other words, Why would a process which does not belong to same uid

Typo: inspection of a process by another process


of the process observed or have CAP_SYS_PTRACE be allowed to translate PID?


From your version of TranslatePid in

I see that you are going through the trouble of forking a process and sending SMC_CREDENTIALS for pid translation. Even your existing API could be extremely simplified if translate_pid based on file descriptors make it to the gate and I believe from the last discussion it was almost there

On a side note, can we have the types TRANSLATE_PID_CURRENT_PIDNS and TRANSLATE_PID_FD_PIDNS integrated first and then possibly extend the interface to include TRANSLATE_PID_TASK_PIDNS in future?

I don't see reason for this separation.
Pids and pid namespaces are part of the API for a long time.

If you are talking about the translate_pid API proposed, I believe the V4 proposed under had only fd based API before a mix of PID and fd based is proposed in V5. Again, I was just wondering if we can get the FD based approach in first and then extend the API to include PID based approach later as fd based approach could provide a lot of immediate benefits?


Most pid-based syscalls are racy in some cases but they are
here for decades and everybody knowns how to deal with it.
So, I've decided to merge both worlds in one interface which clearly tells what to expect.