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Date: Mon, 20 Mar 2023 08:15:59 -0400
From: Rich Felker <>
To: Bruno Haible <>
Subject: Re: swprintf: count returned by %n is wrong after conversion

On Mon, Mar 20, 2023 at 12:48:59AM +0100, Bruno Haible wrote:
> Hi,
> On musl-1.2.3 I see this violation of the POSIX specification of swprintf [1]:
> ==================================== foo1.c ====================================
> #include <stdio.h>
> #include <wchar.h>
> int main ()
> {
>   static const wchar_t input[] = { (wchar_t) 1702057263, 114, 0 };
>   wchar_t buf[12] = { 0xDEADBEEF, 0xDEADBEEF, 0xDEADBEEF, 0xDEADBEEF };
>   int count = -1;
>   int ret = swprintf (buf, 12, L"%ls%n", input, &count);
>   printf ("ret = %d, count = %d, buf[0] = 0x%x, buf[1] = 0x%x, buf[2] = 0x%x\n",
>           ret, count,
>           (unsigned int) buf[0], (unsigned int) buf[1], (unsigned int) buf[2]);
>   return 0;
> }
> /*
> glibc:      ret = 2, count = 2, buf[0] = 0x6573552f, buf[1] = 0x72, buf[2] = 0x0
> musl libc:  ret = -1, count = 2, buf[0] = 0x0, buf[1] = 0xdeadbeef, buf[2] = 0xdeadbeef
> FreeBSD 13: ret = -1, count = -1, buf[0] = 0x0, buf[1] = 0xdeadbeef, buf[2] = 0xdeadbeef
> Solaris OI: ret = 2, count = 2, buf[0] = 0x6573552f, buf[1] = 0x72, buf[2] = 0x0
> */
> ================================================================================
> $ gcc -Wall foo1.c
> $ ./a.out
> ret = -1, count = 2, buf[0] = 0x0, buf[1] = 0xdeadbeef, buf[2] = 0xdeadbeef
> The POSIX specification says:
>   "The application shall ensure that the argument is a pointer to an integer
>    into which is written the number of wide characters written to the output
>    so far by this call to one of the fwprintf() functions."
> From the values of buf[0], buf[1], buf[2] it can be seen that the number
> of wide characters written after the %ls directive is 0, not 2. Therefore
> the value of count should be 0 or — if the processing of the format string
> stops right after the %ls directive, like it does on FreeBSD 13 — -1.
> It is OK for the %ls directive to fail, because of the invalid wide characters
> in the input[] arrary. What is not OK is for the %n directive to report 2
> written wide characters, when in fact 0 wide characters have been written.

Thanks. It looks like the wide printf core is just missing any
validation logic for the wchar_t[] array. Probably it was assumed
writing it that any wchar_t would be accepted so that no error
handling would be needed, but the backend doesn't actually accept

I'm not sure what the best fix is, but the simplest one is to iterate
and validate the entire range to be printed before printing anything
and error out on EILSEQ. But I'm not sure if this is actually
conforming either.

Since fwprintf is supposed to behave as if by repeated fputwc, and the
allowance (rather mandate) for EILSEQ comes from fputwc, the error
should only happen at the point the invalid character is written, with
all output up to that point being visible. So I guess we should drop
use of the out() helper function here and call fputc explicitly in a
loop where we can process the error. And in fact out() is only used
two places (also for the format string, where not being a valid wchar
string is UB so it doesn't really matter) so maybe we should just drop
the helper altogether and open-code it both places with proper error


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