[PATCH v5 1/3] open: add close_range()

From: Christian Brauner
Date: Tue Jun 02 2020 - 16:42:45 EST

This adds the close_range() syscall. It allows to efficiently close a range
of file descriptors up to all file descriptors of a calling task.

I've also coordinated with some FreeBSD developers who got in touch with
me (Cced below). FreeBSD intends to add the same syscall once we merged it.
Quite a bunch of projects in userspace are waiting on this syscall
including Python and systemd.

The syscall came up in a recent discussion around the new mount API and
making new file descriptor types cloexec by default. During this
discussion, Al suggested the close_range() syscall (cf. [1]). Note, a
syscall in this manner has been requested by various people over time.

First, it helps to close all file descriptors of an exec()ing task. This
can be done safely via (quoting Al's example from [1] verbatim):

/* that exec is sensitive */
/* we don't want anything past stderr here */
close_range(3, ~0U);

The code snippet above is one way of working around the problem that file
descriptors are not cloexec by default. This is aggravated by the fact that
we can't just switch them over without massively regressing userspace. For
a whole class of programs having an in-kernel method of closing all file
descriptors is very helpful (e.g. demons, service managers, programming
language standard libraries, container managers etc.).
(Please note, unshare(CLONE_FILES) should only be needed if the calling
task is multi-threaded and shares the file descriptor table with another
thread in which case two threads could race with one thread allocating file
descriptors and the other one closing them via close_range(). For the
general case close_range() before the execve() is sufficient.)

Second, it allows userspace to avoid implementing closing all file
descriptors by parsing through /proc/<pid>/fd/* and calling close() on each
file descriptor. From looking at various large(ish) userspace code bases
this or similar patterns are very common in:
- service managers (cf. [4])
- libcs (cf. [6])
- container runtimes (cf. [5])
- programming language runtimes/standard libraries
- Python (cf. [2])
- Rust (cf. [7], [8])
As Dmitry pointed out there's even a long-standing glibc bug about missing
kernel support for this task (cf. [3]).
In addition, the syscall will also work for tasks that do not have procfs
mounted and on kernels that do not have procfs support compiled in. In such
situations the only way to make sure that all file descriptors are closed
is to call close() on each file descriptor up to UINT_MAX or RLIMIT_NOFILE,
OPEN_MAX trickery (cf. comment [8] on Rust).

The performance is striking. For good measure, comparing the following
simple close_all_fds() userspace implementation that is essentially just
glibc's version in [6]:

static int close_all_fds(void)
int dir_fd;
DIR *dir;
struct dirent *direntp;

dir = opendir("/proc/self/fd");
if (!dir)
return -1;
dir_fd = dirfd(dir);
while ((direntp = readdir(dir))) {
int fd;
if (strcmp(direntp->d_name, ".") == 0)
if (strcmp(direntp->d_name, "..") == 0)
fd = atoi(direntp->d_name);
if (fd == dir_fd || fd == 0 || fd == 1 || fd == 2)
return 0;

to close_range() yields:
1. closing 4 open files:
- close_all_fds(): ~280 us
- close_range(): ~24 us

2. closing 1000 open files:
- close_all_fds(): ~5000 us
- close_range(): ~800 us

close_range() is designed to allow for some flexibility. Specifically, it
does not simply always close all open file descriptors of a task. Instead,
callers can specify an upper bound.
This is e.g. useful for scenarios where specific file descriptors are
created with well-known numbers that are supposed to be excluded from
getting closed.
For extra paranoia close_range() comes with a flags argument. This can e.g.
be used to implement extension. Once can imagine userspace wanting to stop
at the first error instead of ignoring errors under certain circumstances.
There might be other valid ideas in the future. In any case, a flag
argument doesn't hurt and keeps us on the safe side.

>From an implementation side this is kept rather dumb. It saw some input
from David and Jann but all nonsense is obviously my own!
- Errors to close file descriptors are currently ignored. (Could be changed
by setting a flag in the future if needed.)
- __close_range() is a rather simplistic wrapper around __close_fd().
My reasoning behind this is based on the nature of how __close_fd() needs
to release an fd. But maybe I misunderstood specifics:
We take the files_lock and rcu-dereference the fdtable of the calling
task, we find the entry in the fdtable, get the file and need to release
files_lock before calling filp_close().
In the meantime the fdtable might have been altered so we can't just
retake the spinlock and keep the old rcu-reference of the fdtable
around. Instead we need to grab a fresh reference to the fdtable.
If my reasoning is correct then there's really no point in fancyfying
__close_range(): We just need to rcu-dereference the fdtable of the
calling task once to cap the max_fd value correctly and then go on
calling __close_fd() in a loop.

/* References */
[1]: https://lore.kernel.org/lkml/20190516165021.GD17978@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx/
[2]: https://github.com/python/cpython/blob/9e4f2f3a6b8ee995c365e86d976937c141d867f8/Modules/_posixsubprocess.c#L220
[3]: https://sourceware.org/bugzilla/show_bug.cgi?id=10353#c7
[4]: https://github.com/systemd/systemd/blob/5238e9575906297608ff802a27e2ff9effa3b338/src/basic/fd-util.c#L217
[5]: https://github.com/lxc/lxc/blob/ddf4b77e11a4d08f09b7b9cd13e593f8c047edc5/src/lxc/start.c#L236
[6]: https://sourceware.org/git/?p=glibc.git;a=blob;f=sysdeps/unix/sysv/linux/grantpt.c;h=2030e07fa6e652aac32c775b8c6e005844c3c4eb;hb=HEAD#l17
Note that this is an internal implementation that is not exported.
Currently, libc seems to not provide an exported version of this
because of missing kernel support to do this.
[7]: https://github.com/rust-lang/rust/issues/12148
[8]: https://github.com/rust-lang/rust/blob/5f47c0613ed4eb46fca3633c1297364c09e5e451/src/libstd/sys/unix/process2.rs#L303-L308
Rust's solution is slightly different but is equally unperformant.
Rust calls getdtablesize() which is a glibc library function that
simply returns the current RLIMIT_NOFILE or OPEN_MAX values. Rust then
goes on to call close() on each fd. That's obviously overkill for most
tasks. Rarely, tasks - especially non-demons - hit RLIMIT_NOFILE or
Let's be nice and assume an unprivileged user with RLIMIT_NOFILE set
to 1024. Even in this case, there's a very high chance that in the
common case Rust is calling the close() syscall 1021 times pointlessly
if the task just has 0, 1, and 2 open.

Suggested-by: Al Viro <viro@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Signed-off-by: Christian Brauner <christian.brauner@xxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: Arnd Bergmann <arnd@xxxxxxxx>
Cc: Kyle Evans <self@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: Jann Horn <jannh@xxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: David Howells <dhowells@xxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: Dmitry V. Levin <ldv@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: Oleg Nesterov <oleg@xxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: Linus Torvalds <torvalds@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: Florian Weimer <fweimer@xxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: linux-api@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
/* v2 */
- Linus Torvalds <torvalds@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>:
- add cond_resched() to yield cpu when closing a lot of file descriptors
- Al Viro <viro@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>:
- add cond_resched() to yield cpu when closing a lot of file descriptors

/* v3 */

/* v4 */
- Oleg Nesterov <oleg@xxxxxxxxxx>:
- fix braino: s/max()/min()/

/* v5 */
fs/file.c | 62 ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++------
fs/open.c | 20 +++++++++++++
include/linux/fdtable.h | 2 ++
include/linux/syscalls.h | 2 ++
4 files changed, 78 insertions(+), 8 deletions(-)

diff --git a/fs/file.c b/fs/file.c
index abb8b7081d7a..e260bfe687d1 100644
--- a/fs/file.c
+++ b/fs/file.c
@@ -10,6 +10,7 @@
#include <linux/syscalls.h>
#include <linux/export.h>
#include <linux/fs.h>
+#include <linux/kernel.h>
#include <linux/mm.h>
#include <linux/sched/signal.h>
#include <linux/slab.h>
@@ -620,12 +621,9 @@ void fd_install(unsigned int fd, struct file *file)


- * The same warnings as for __alloc_fd()/__fd_install() apply here...
- */
-int __close_fd(struct files_struct *files, unsigned fd)
+static struct file *pick_file(struct files_struct *files, unsigned fd)
- struct file *file;
+ struct file *file = NULL;
struct fdtable *fdt;

@@ -637,15 +635,63 @@ int __close_fd(struct files_struct *files, unsigned fd)
goto out_unlock;
rcu_assign_pointer(fdt->fd[fd], NULL);
__put_unused_fd(files, fd);
- spin_unlock(&files->file_lock);
- return filp_close(file, files);

- return -EBADF;
+ return file;
+ * The same warnings as for __alloc_fd()/__fd_install() apply here...
+ */
+int __close_fd(struct files_struct *files, unsigned fd)
+ struct file *file;
+ file = pick_file(files, fd);
+ if (!file)
+ return -EBADF;
+ return filp_close(file, files);
EXPORT_SYMBOL(__close_fd); /* for ksys_close() */

+ * __close_range() - Close all file descriptors in a given range.
+ *
+ * @fd: starting file descriptor to close
+ * @max_fd: last file descriptor to close
+ *
+ * This closes a range of file descriptors. All file descriptors
+ * from @fd up to and including @max_fd are closed.
+ */
+int __close_range(struct files_struct *files, unsigned fd, unsigned max_fd)
+ unsigned int cur_max;
+ if (fd > max_fd)
+ return -EINVAL;
+ rcu_read_lock();
+ cur_max = files_fdtable(files)->max_fds;
+ rcu_read_unlock();
+ /* cap to last valid index into fdtable */
+ max_fd = min(max_fd, (cur_max - 1));
+ while (fd <= max_fd) {
+ struct file *file;
+ file = pick_file(files, fd++);
+ if (!file)
+ continue;
+ filp_close(file, files);
+ cond_resched();
+ }
+ return 0;
* variant of __close_fd that gets a ref on the file for later fput.
* The caller must ensure that filp_close() called on the file, and then
diff --git a/fs/open.c b/fs/open.c
index 719b320ede52..87e076e9e127 100644
--- a/fs/open.c
+++ b/fs/open.c
@@ -1279,6 +1279,26 @@ SYSCALL_DEFINE1(close, unsigned int, fd)
return retval;

+ * close_range() - Close all file descriptors in a given range.
+ *
+ * @fd: starting file descriptor to close
+ * @max_fd: last file descriptor to close
+ * @flags: reserved for future extensions
+ *
+ * This closes a range of file descriptors. All file descriptors
+ * from @fd up to and including @max_fd are closed.
+ * Currently, errors to close a given file descriptor are ignored.
+ */
+SYSCALL_DEFINE3(close_range, unsigned int, fd, unsigned int, max_fd,
+ unsigned int, flags)
+ if (flags)
+ return -EINVAL;
+ return __close_range(current->files, fd, max_fd);
* This routine simulates a hangup on the tty, to arrange that users
* are given clean terminals at login time.
diff --git a/include/linux/fdtable.h b/include/linux/fdtable.h
index f07c55ea0c22..fcd07181a365 100644
--- a/include/linux/fdtable.h
+++ b/include/linux/fdtable.h
@@ -121,6 +121,8 @@ extern void __fd_install(struct files_struct *files,
unsigned int fd, struct file *file);
extern int __close_fd(struct files_struct *files,
unsigned int fd);
+extern int __close_range(struct files_struct *files, unsigned int fd,
+ unsigned int max_fd);
extern int __close_fd_get_file(unsigned int fd, struct file **res);

extern struct kmem_cache *files_cachep;
diff --git a/include/linux/syscalls.h b/include/linux/syscalls.h
index 1815065d52f3..18fea399329b 100644
--- a/include/linux/syscalls.h
+++ b/include/linux/syscalls.h
@@ -442,6 +442,8 @@ asmlinkage long sys_openat(int dfd, const char __user *filename, int flags,
asmlinkage long sys_openat2(int dfd, const char __user *filename,
struct open_how *how, size_t size);
asmlinkage long sys_close(unsigned int fd);
+asmlinkage long sys_close_range(unsigned int fd, unsigned int max_fd,
+ unsigned int flags);
asmlinkage long sys_vhangup(void);

/* fs/pipe.c */