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Date: Sat, 10 Aug 2019 12:42:52 -0400
From: Rich Felker <>
Cc: Luiz Angelo Daros de Luca <>
Subject: Re: dlsym returning unresolved symbol address instead of
 dependency library symbol address

On Sat, Aug 10, 2019 at 12:11:11PM +0200, Szabolcs Nagy wrote:
> * Luiz Angelo Daros de Luca <> [2019-08-10 05:16:19 -0300]:
> > I'm ruby maintainer in OpenWrt 18.06 (musl 1.1.19). I got a bug report (
> > related to musl in mipsel
> > 32bit.
> > 
> > When ruby loads a module (.so), it checks if that module was built for the
> > same ruby that is loading it. Ruby loads libruby at startup, which exports
> > ruby_xmalloc sym. So, the check consists on loading the module, searching
> > for ruby_xmalloc in the module context and comparing with global
> > ruby_xmalloc address. If they do not match, the module is using a different
> > libruby. Something like this:
> > 
> > handle = (void*)dlopen(file, RTLD_LAZY|RTLD_GLOBAL)
> > void *ex = dlsym(handle, EXTERNAL_PREFIX"ruby_xmalloc");
> > if (ex && ex != ruby_xmalloc) {
> >    // module is incompatible!
> > }
> > 
> > The first time a module is loaded, it simply works as expected.
> > I debugged and musl is working nicely. At do_dlsym(struct dso *p, const
> > char *s, void *ra), it correctly fails to find the symbol with:
> > 
> > sym = sysv_lookup(s, h, p)
> > 
> > and correctly find it with:
> > 
> > sysv_lookup(s, h, p->deps[0])
> > 
> > Now, when the second module is loaded, it find "ruby_xmalloc" already with:
> > 
> > sym = sysv_lookup(s, h, p)
> > 
> > However, sym now points to the address of the undefined symbol in the
> > second library (sym->st_shndx is NULL) instead of searching for it in
> > dependencies. It seems that do_dlsym() only checks for undefined symbol
> > (sym->shndx==NULL) when DL_FDPIC is 1 and DL_FDPIC is 0 in my case.
> > 
> > Does it make any sense to return an undefined symbol from dlsym()?
> > Or does it make sense to return an undefined symbol from sysv_lookup()?
> > Or is there any other arch specific issue that happened before, when
> > library was loaded?
> yes, if the search involves the main executable then
> st_shndx==0 && st_value!=0 symbols must be included
> because it's a plt in the exe and that's how function
> addresses work.. on most targets except mips.
> undef syms have st_value==0 in shared libs, maybe
> not in mips? can you post the readelf -aW output of
> the module that has st_shndx==0 && st_value!=0 entry
> in its dynamic symbol table
> i think this was going to be fixed by
> but that was never applied.

I brought it up a few times after that, asking what should be done
since it no longer cleanly applies. The concept of that patch is
probably still right but a localized fix now followed by deduplication
later is probably preferable.

Do you know if the TLS and STB_LOCAL issues described there still
exist too?

> > I created a simple patch that skips a symbol if it is undefined.
> >

This patch is wrong (on non-MIPS and on MIPS with PLT); it will result
in wrong values for dlsym of a

> i think the find_sym logic should be copied
> because mips behaves differently from other targets:

Yes. Conceptually, compared to find_sym, need_def is always false for
dlsym (dlsym must return PLT thunk and copy relocation definitions),
and STT_TLS was already checked as a special case above to lookup the
thread-local copy of the object, so the only additional check needed
here is !ARCH_SYM_REJECT_UND(sym). Does that sound correct to you?


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