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Date: Sat, 16 Mar 2019 03:25:34 +0100
From: Szabolcs Nagy <>
Cc: Michael Jeanson <>,
	Richard Purdie <>,
	Mathieu Desnoyers <>,
	Jonathan Rajotte-Julien <>
Subject: Re: sysconf(_SC_NPROCESSORS_CONF) returns the wrong value

* Jonathan Rajotte-Julien <> [2019-03-15 17:02:02 -0400]:
> We are currently in the process of making sure that lttng [1] (linux tracer) run
> smoothly on system using musl (Yocto, Alpine etc.). Most things work
> fine. Still, we currently have tests that are failing due to an issue regarding
> the reported number of configured processors on the system (__SC_NPROCESSORS_CONF).
> Note that users of LTTng are also affected by this if they chose to modify the
> sched affinity of their instrumented apps. This is relatively a big deal for us.
> Long story short, we start an app with "taskset -c 0" and we need to allocate
> data structure internally but using the number of configured processors not the
> number of online processors. To do so we call sysconf(__SC_NPROCESSORS_CONF).
> Slight problem: the value returned is the _SC_NPROCESSORS_ONLN value instead of
> A simple command line to show this:
>   taskset -c 0 nproc --all
> This is equivalent to asking sysconf(__SC_NPROCESSORS_CONF).

the right way to check the sysconf from a shell is getconf

on glibc system
$ taskset -c 0 getconf -a |grep NPROC
_NPROCESSORS_CONF                  8
_NPROCESSORS_ONLN                  8

on musl
$ taskset -c 0 getconf -a |grep NPROC
_NPROCESSORS_CONF                  1
_NPROCESSORS_ONLN                  1

so both values differ (plain nproc returns the affinity number,
*_ONLN is all the cpus that the kernel schedules to, *_CONF
includes offline cpus that may be hotplugged)

these are documented linux extensions so i think musl should follow
the linux sysconf man page. (but the semantics is not entirely clear
e.g. there is /sys/devices/system/cpu/possible which can have larger
number than echo /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu[0-9]* |wc -w which is
what glibc seems to be doing for *_CONF)

i think we need to know why does a process care if musl returns
the wrong number? or what are the valid uses of such a number?
(there are heterogeous systems like arm big-little, numa systems
with many sockets, containers, virtualization,.. how deep may a
user process need to go down in this rabbit hole?)

note that most of /sys/devices/system/cpu/* is documented under
Documentation/ABI/testing in linux, not in Documentation/ABI/stable
and the format is not detailed, and some apis (e.g. /proc/cpuinfo)
are known to be different on android (and grsec?) kernels it may
be unmounted during early boot or in chroots, so sysfs parsing is
only done when really necessary.

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