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Date: Mon, 21 Apr 2014 18:38:12 -0500
From: Josiah Worcester <>
Subject: Re: Changes for no-legacy-syscalls archs

On Mon, Apr 21, 2014 at 6:13 PM, Rich Felker <> wrote:

> Based on reports from the in-progress aarch64 port, at least the
> following syscalls musl uses internally in several places are missing
> on "new" archs:
> - open
> - stat
> - pipe
> I'm actually surprised it way so few, but I think that's indicative
> that our test coverage is insufficient; all of the syscalls with "at"
> variants or 2/3/4 variants (pipe/dup/accept) should be problems.

The complete list of variants missing from new ports can be seen in
include/uapi/asm-generic/unistd.h in the kernel tree, under the
__ARCH_WANT_SYSCALL_DEPRECATED #ifdefs. As far as I'm aware this should
apply to all future Linux archs, as the current Linux development policy is
to use arch-generic constants for anything new, rather than the crazy
approach of matching some old API.

> Anyway, as far as I can tell, of the above three, "open" is the only
> one used as an inline syscall in multiple places across the source.
> The others (stat and pipe) are just used via calls to the public
> function, so any changes needed can be made in just one place. For
> open, of the 8 uses, 3-4 are in places that need to be
> namespace-protected (so we can't just call the open function, and
> anyway it's a cancellation point which is problematic) and one,
> __init_security, is in a place that's size-critical (linked in all
> static programs) so we don't want to add a function call there anyway.
> The rest of the call points are all largish functions where the inline
> syscall is not making a significant difference to size.
> So, for all instances except __init_security and open itself, I think
> it would make sense to call an external __open function. This would
> also be a nice place to tuck away the O_LARGEFILE flag, rather than
> having all calling code be aware of it. We could then just add two
> additional, mildly-ugly #ifdef SYS_open checks to __init_security.c
> and open.c and be done with it (open itself is special because it has
> to make a cancellable syscall).
> Alternatively, instead of the external function __open, we could
> define a macro __open, or sys_open, or similar, in internal/syscall.h
> and have it expand to either an inline syscall to SYS_open or
> SYS_openat depending on whether SYS_open is defined. This would avoid
> any size increase and would also avoid having an #ifdef in
> __init_security.
> The second solution might be preferable; eventually, we could
> transition to having most/all syscalls be made via sys_* function-like
> macros in syscall.h, which would facilitate porting to bare-metal
> without implementing a huge numeric syscall dispatch function like
> what's in the kernel.

I rather like this approach to doing the syscalls, as it does make it
notably easier to port musl to environments where the numeric syscall
dispatch function is not very nice. However, I would think it'd be
preferable to switch to this for all the system calls rather than just have
a single sys_open macro. So, for the minimally-invasive approach, I feel
that just doing the #ifdef in the two places it's needed is nicer
(particularly as it doesn't restrict you from switching to the sys_* macros
in the future).

> Rich

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