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Date: Sun, 19 Jan 2020 18:51:17 +0100
From: Szabolcs Nagy <>
Subject: Re: [RFC] removing __NR_clock_gettime / SYS_clock_gettime

* Rich Felker <> [2020-01-19 11:36:16 -0500]:
> Today we discovered that libstdc++ std::chrono is broken because it's
> making direct syscalls to SYS_clock_gettime to work around glibc
> putting clock_gettime in librt. This is exactly the same issue as
> busybox and I would not
> be surprised if it exists in more software. It's a silent bug that's
> easy to find and fix if you know what to look for, but very confusing
> and hard to find if you don't, and it can easily slip into software
> that's not well-tested on time64.
> What I'd like to propose doing is removing __NR_clock_gettime and
> SYS_clock_gettime from the public sys/syscall.h (via bits headers) on
> 32-bit archs, and moving SYS_clock_gettime to
> arch/$(ARCH)/syscall_arch.h for musl-internal use. This would make it
> a hard compile-time error for any software attempting to use the
> syscall directly, and in the case of libstdc++ I think it would even
> fix the problem without patching gcc, since they have a configure
> check for the syscall.
> Thoughts? Is this too big a hammer?

i think you should build gcc with --enable-libstdcxx-time so
it does not try to do raw syscalls (which is bad on 64bit
targets too, not just for time64, i thought distros already
do this or patch out that entire thing)

> Note that there are lots of other syscalls that are unsafe to use
> directly due to struct timespec/timeval mismatch between user and
> kernel, but (1) clock_gettime is the only one that's widely used
> because of the glibc -lrt mess, and (2) most of the others have valid
> usage cases, e.g. if the times argument is just a timeout and you're
> calling them without a timeout (null pointer). So I think it suffices
> to do this just for clock_gettime.
> Also note a possible variant: we could leave the definition but rename
> it to SYS_clock_gettime32 so that code that's implementing its own
> fallbacks with direct syscalls for whatever reasons still has access
> to the syscall number if needed, but only if it's aware of the name
> change.

i'd ask the glibc folks if they want to do something about this
when building for the time64 abi.

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