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Date: Wed, 17 Oct 2012 02:08:11 +0200
From: boris brezillon <>
Subject: Re: TLS (thread-local storage) support

2012/10/17 Rich Felker <>:
> On Wed, Oct 17, 2012 at 01:39:49AM +0200, boris brezillon wrote:
>> >> 4) Compile musl with '-fsplit-stack' and add no_split_stack attribute
>> >> to appropriate functions (at least all functions called before
>> >> pthread_self_init because %gs or %fs register is unusable before this
>> >> call).
>> >
>> > This is definitely not desirable, at least not by default. It hurts
>> > performance, possibly a lot, and destroys async-signal-safety. Also I
>> > doubt it's needed. As long as split stack mode leaves at least ~8k
>> > when calling a new function, most if not all functions in musl should
>> > run fine without needing support for enlarging the stack.
>> I agree. This should be made optional. But if we don't compile libc
>> with fsplit-stack (-fnosplit-stack).
>> Each call to a libc func from an external func compiled with split
>> stack may lead to a 64K stack chunk alloc.
> Where does this allocation take place from? There should simply be a
> way to inhibit it.
In the linker (gold linker).
>> >> 6) add no-split-stack note to every asm file.
>> >
>> > I'm against this, or any boilerplate clutter. If it's really needed,
>> > it should be possible with CFLAGS (or "ASFLAGS"), rather than
>> > modifying every file, and if there's no way to do it with command line
>> > options, that's a bug in gas.
>> Not supported in gas, already tried.
> That's frustrating..
>> > Basically, the whole idea of split-stack is antithetical to the QoI
>> > guarantees of musl. A program using split-stack can crash at any time
>> > due to out-of-memory, and there is no reliable/portable way to recover
>> > from this condition. It's much like the following low-quality aspects
>> > of glibc and default Linux config:
>> The same program may crash because of stack overflow (segfault) or
>> worst : corrupt memory.
> Only if written improperly. A correctly written program has bounded
> stack usage that's easily proven correct with static analysis.
> Unbounded stack usage is a bug, plain and simple, because there's no
> way to safely and portably handle the runtime error of running out of
> memory.
>> At best the split stack provides a way to increase the thread without
>> crashing the whole process.
> If you're comparing the behavior of a program with initial
> thread-stack size N and no-split-stack to a program with initial
> thread-stack size N that can also obtain additional stack space with
> split-stack, and you don't have static bounds on your stack usage that
> keep it below N, then I agree that the latter will succeed in cases
> where the former crashes. On the other hand, both programs WILL CRASH
> under appropriate conditions, and as such, they are both buggy
> programs.
>> At worst it crash the program but never corrupt the memory.
> Memory corruption will not happen without split stack either unless
> you turn off guard pages or use functions with huge stack frames
> without the -fstack-check option.
>> > As such, I'm willing to add whatever inexpensive support framework is
>> > needed so that people who want to use split-stack can use it, but I'm
>> > very wary of invasive or costly changes to support a feature which I
>> > believe is fundamentally misguided (and, for 64-bit targets, utterly
>> > useless).
>> I understand.
> Getting into it more, I think split-stack is a lot harder to support
> than anybody has considered, especially if you want to still have a
> POSIX conforming environment. There are all sorts of nasty cases
> connected to signal handlers, async-signal-safety,
> async-cancel-safety, longjmp, and thread cancellation where I know at
> the very least you would need some ugly bloated hacks with unwinding
> to get them right, and where I'm doubtful you even _can_ make them
> 100% conforming. Getting this stuff right is highly non-trivial to
> begin with, even without split-stack (and glibc doesn't really even
> try) so I'm doubtful that the architects of split-stack even thought
> about it before throwing their experiment out there for everybody to
> use...
> Rich

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