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Date: Tue, 9 Jan 2024 14:07:26 -0500
From: Rich Felker <>
To: jvoisin <>
Subject: Re: Protect pthreads' mutexes against use-after-destroy

On Tue, Jan 09, 2024 at 03:37:17PM +0100, jvoisin wrote:
> Ohai,
> as discussed on irc, Android's bionic has a check to prevent
> use-after-destroy on phtread mutexes
> (,
> and musl doesn't.
> While odds are that this is a super-duper common bug, it would still be
> nice to have this kind of protection, since it's cheap, and would
> prevent/make it easy to diagnose weird states.
> Is this something that should/could be implemented?
> o/

I think you meant that the odds are it's not common. There's already
enough complexity in the code paths for supporting all the different
mutex types that my leaning would be, if we do any hardening for
use-after-destroy, that it should probably just take the form of
putting the object in a state that will naturally deadlock or error
rather than adding extra checks to every path where it's used.

If OTOH we do want it to actually trap in all cases where it's used
after destroy, the simplest way to achieve that is probably to set it
up as a non-robust non-PI recursive or errorchecking mutex with
invalid prev/next pointers and owner of 0x3fffffff. Then the only
place that would actually have to have an explicit trap is trylock in
the code path:

        if (own == 0x3fffffff) return ENOTRECOVERABLE;

where it could trap if type isn't robust. The unlock code path would
trap on accessing invalid prev/next pointers.


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