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Date: Sun, 19 Jan 2020 13:16:43 -0500
From: Rich Felker <>
Subject: Re: [RFC] removing __NR_clock_gettime / SYS_clock_gettime

On Sun, Jan 19, 2020 at 06:51:17PM +0100, Szabolcs Nagy wrote:
> * 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)

It does raw syscalls with that as I understand it. You need =rt to
make it do the right thing.

But we know how to fix this for gcc now. I'm more concerned that if we
already caught busybox and libstdc++ doing this, there may be lots
more apps doing it that we don't know about...

> > 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.

I think they just use the kernel headers to provide sys/syscall.h.


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