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Date: Wed, 25 Oct 2017 21:02:34 +0200
From: Rasmus Villemoes <>
To: "Tobin C. Harding" <>
Subject: Re: [PATCH v7] printk: hash addresses printed with %p

On 25 October 2017 at 01:57, Tobin C. Harding <> wrote:
> On Tue, Oct 24, 2017 at 09:25:20PM +0200, Rasmus Villemoes wrote:
>> I haven't followed the discussion too closely, but has it been
>> considered to exempt NULL from hashing?
> The code in question is;
> static noinline_for_stack
> char *pointer(const char *fmt, char *buf, char *end, void *ptr,
>               struct printf_spec spec)
> {
>         const int default_width = 2 * sizeof(void *);
>         if (!ptr && *fmt != 'K') {
>                 /*
>                  * Print (null) with the same width as a pointer so it makes
>                  * tabular output look nice.
>                  */
>                 if (spec.field_width == -1)
>                         spec.field_width = default_width;
>                 return string(buf, end, "(null)", spec);
>         }

Ah, yes, I should have re-read the current code before commenting. So
we're effectively already exempting NULL due to this early handling.
Good, let's leave that.

Regarding the tabular output: Ignore it, it's completely irrelevant to
the hardening efforts (good work, btw), and probably completely
irrelevant period. If anything I'd say the comment and the attempted
alignment should just be killed.

> This check and print "(null)" is at the wrong level of abstraction. If we want tabular output to be
> correct for _all_ pointer specifiers then spec.field_width (for NULL) should be set to match whatever
> field_width is used in the associated output function. Removing the NULL check above would require
> NULL checks adding to at least;
> resource_string()
> bitmap_list_string()
> bitmap_string()
> mac_address_string()
> ip4_addr_string()
> ip4_addr_string_sa()
> ip6_addr_string_sa()
> uuid_string()
> netdev_bits()
> address_val()
> dentry_name()
> bdev_name()
> ptr_to_id()

No, please don't. The NULL check makes perfect sense early in
pointer(), because many of these handlers would dereference the
pointer, and while it's probably a bug to pass NULL to say %pD, it's
obviously better to print (null) than crash. Adding NULL checks to
each of these is error-prone and lots of bloat for no real value
(consider that many of these can produce lots of variants of output,
and e.g. dotted-decimal ip addresses don't even have a well-defined
width at all).

> My question is [snip] is it too trivial to matter?



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