Re: [PATCH v2] kernel/signal: Signal-based pre-coredump notification

From: Enke Chen
Date: Wed Oct 24 2018 - 19:50:33 EST

Hi, Eric:

Thanks for your comments. Please see my replies inline.

On 10/24/18 6:29 AM, Eric W. Biederman wrote:
> Enke Chen <enkechen@xxxxxxxxx> writes:
>> For simplicity and consistency, this patch provides an implementation
>> for signal-based fault notification prior to the coredump of a child
>> process. A new prctl command, PR_SET_PREDUMP_SIG, is defined that can
>> be used by an application to express its interest and to specify the
>> signal (SIGCHLD or SIGUSR1 or SIGUSR2) for such a notification. A new
>> signal code (si_code), CLD_PREDUMP, is also defined for SIGCHLD.
>> Changes to prctl(2):
>> PR_SET_PREDUMP_SIG (since Linux 4.20.x)
>> Set the child pre-coredump signal of the calling process to
>> arg2 (either SIGUSR1, or SIUSR2, or SIGCHLD, or 0 to clear).
>> This is the signal that the calling process will get prior to
>> the coredump of a child process. This value is cleared across
>> execve(2), or for the child of a fork(2).
>> When SIGCHLD is specified, the signal code will be set to
>> CLD_PREDUMP in such an SIGCHLD signal.
> Your signal handling is still not right. Please read and comprehend
> siginfo_layout.
> You have not filled in all of the required fields for the SIGCHLD case.
> For the non SIGCHLD case you are using si_code == 0 == SI_USER which is
> very wrong. This is not a user generated signal.
> Let me say this slowly. The pair si_signo si_code determines the union
> member of struct siginfo. That needs to be handled consistently. You
> aren't. I just finished fixing this up in the entire kernel and now you
> are trying to add a usage that is worst than most of the bugs I have
> fixed. I really don't appreciate having to deal with no bugs.

My apologies. I will investigate and make them consistent.

> Further siginfo can be dropped. Multiple signals with the same signal
> number can be consolidated. What is your plan for dealing with that?

The primary application for the early notification involves a process
manager which is responsible for re-spawning processes or initiating
the control-plane fail-over. There are two models:

One model is to have 1:1 relationship between a process manager and
application process. There can only be one predump-signal (say, SIGUSR1)
from the child to the parent, and will unlikely be dropped or consolidated.

Another model is to have 1:N where there is only one process manager with
multiple application processes. One of the RT signal can be used to help
make it more reliable.

> Other code paths pair with wait to get the information out. There
> is no equivalent of wait in your code.

I was not aware of that before. Let me investigate.

> Signals can be delayed by quite a bit, scheduling delays etc. They can
> not provide any meaningful kind of real time notification.

The timing requirement is about 50-100 msecs for BFD. Not sure if that
qualifies as "real time". This mechanism has worked well in deployment
over the years.

> So between delays and loss of information signals appear to be a very
> poor fit for this usecase.
> I am concerned about code that does not fit the usecase well because
> such code winds up as code that no one cares about that must be
> maintained indefinitely, because somewhere out there there is one use
> that would break if the interface was removed. This does not feel like
> an interface people will want to use and maintain in proper working
> order forever.
> Ugh. Your test case is even using signalfd. So you don't even want
> this signal to be delivered as a signal.

I actually tested sigaction()/waitpid() as well. If there is a preference,
I can check in the sigaction()/waitpid() version instead.

> You add an interface that takes a pointer and you don't add a compat
> interface. See Oleg's point of just returning the signal number in the
> return code.

This is what Oleg said "but I won't insist, this is subjective and cosmetic".

It is no big deal either way. It just seems less work if we do not keep
adding exceptions to the prctl(2) manpage:


PR_MCE_KILL_GET, PR_CAP_AMBIENT+PR_CAP_AMBIENT_IS_SET, and (if it returns) PR_GET_SECCOMP return the nonnegative values described
above. All other option values return 0 on success. On error, -1 is returned, and errno is set appropriately.

> Now I am wondering how well prctl works from a 32bit process on a 64bit
> kernel. At first glance it looks like it probably does not work.

I am not sure which part would be problematic.

> Consistency with PDEATHSIG is not a good argument for anything.
> PDEATHSIG at the present time is unusable in the real world by most
> applications that want something like it.

Agreed, PDEATHSIG seems to have a few issues ...

> So far I see an interface that even you don't want to use as designed,
> that is implemented incorrectly.
> The concern is real and deserves to be addressed. I don't think signals
> are the right way to handle it, and certainly not this patch as it
> stands.

I will address your concerns on the patch. Regarding the requirement and the
overall solution, if there are specific questions that I have not answered,
please let me know.

Thanks. -- Enke