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Date: Mon, 16 Feb 2015 23:21:07 -0500
From: Rich Felker <>
To: David Guillen Fandos <>
Subject: Re: Executable crashes at __libc_start_main

On Tue, Feb 17, 2015 at 01:41:00AM +0000, David Guillen Fandos wrote:
> Hello!
> I'm creating an app which is an ARM ELF (linux) which runs in very small
> machines (routers). Using buildroot to create my toolchain I can choose
> between uClibc and musl. Using uclibc my binary crashes at loading, so I
> switched to musl and tried. It fails too.
> The problem seems to be at __libc_start_main, in this part:
>         uintptr_t a = (uintptr_t)&__init_array_start;
>         for (; a<(uintptr_t)&__init_array_end; a+=sizeof(void(*)()))
>                 (*(void (**)())a)();
> I checked a little bit (dumping the map file) and I get:
> ..init_array     0x0000000000016230        0x4
>                 0x0000000000016230                PROVIDE
> (__init_array_start, .)
>  *(SORT(.init_array.*))
>  *(.init_array)
>  .init_array    0x0000000000016230        0x4
> /XXX/arm-buildroot-linux-musleabi/4.8.3/crtbeginT.o
>                 0x0000000000016234                PROVIDE
> (__init_array_end, .)
> ..fini_array     0x0000000000016234        0x4
>                 0x0000000000016234
> Which tells me there is only one function pointer there. Now dumping the
> binary:
> 00016230 <__frame_dummy_init_array_entry>:
>    16230:       00008210        andeq   r8, r0, r0, lsl r2
> Disassembly of section .fini_array:
> Which is pointer 0x8210 which points to function:
> 00008210 <frame_dummy>:
>     8210:       e92d4008        push    {r3, lr}
>     8214:       e59f3034        ldr     r3, [pc, #52]   ; 8250
> <frame_dummy+0x40>
>     8218:       e3530000        cmp     r3, #0
> ....
> So far so good. The binary runs OK on a ARM machine running Debian, but
> when I run this program on this other machine it crashes. The CPU is:
> ARMv6-compatible processor rev 7 (v6l)
> CPU implementer	: 0x41
> CPU architecture: 6TEJ
> CPU variant	: 0x0
> CPU part	: 0xb76
> CPU revision	: 7
> Finally I got a core dump and the program crashes here:
>     88c8:       e1550007        cmp     r5, r7
>     88cc:       2a000003        bcs     88e0 <__libc_start_main+0x1b0>
>     88d0:       e4953004        ldr     r3, [r5], #4
>     88d4:       e1a0e00f        mov     lr, pc
>     88d8:       e12fff13        bx      r3
>     88dc:       eafffff9        b       88c8 <__libc_start_main+0x198>
> In the 88d8 instruction to be more exact. Seems that R3 is holding the
> value 0xc8000082!!! Where is that 0xC8 at the beginning comming from?
> The PC reported by the core dump is 0xc8000080 which I guess it's just
> the vlaue of R3 aligned to 4 byte boundary. R5 points to the right
> place, it's just the value loaded by the load. Could it be that
> something corrupts my ELF? Could it be the OS being really dumb at
> loading the ELF? It's a pretty old kernel, 2.6.21.

Are you sure r5 is right? It sounds to me like r5 is off by one and
you have a chip that's not trapping misaligned accesses. You should
start by dumping all registers and checking that they make sense.

Building musl as thumb is not widely tested, and I suspect it might be
related to what's going on. If pc-relative addressing is being used
for __init_array_start and the linker is not properly aware of the
facts that (1) the calling code is thumb, and (2) the init array is
data (not code), then you could end up with an off-by-one address due
to the way thumb works.

Actually I think you really have something going on wrong here since
0x8210 is not even a valid function address for thumb code. The
address would be 0x8211.


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