Re: [PATCH] C undefined behavior fix

From: Tom Rini (
Date: Wed Jan 02 2002 - 19:01:18 EST

On Thu, Jan 03, 2002 at 12:45:14AM +0100, jtv wrote:
> On Wed, Jan 02, 2002 at 04:12:43PM -0700, Tom Rini wrote:
> > >
> > > Obviously -ffreestanding isn't, because this problem could crop up pretty
> > > much anywhere. The involvement of standard library functions is almost
> > > coincidence and so -ffreestanding would only fix the current symptom.
> >
> > After thinking about this a bit more, why wouldn't this be the fix? The
> > problem is that gcc is assuming that this is a 'normal' program (or in
> > this case, part of a program) and that it, and that the standard rules
> > apply, so it optimizes the strcpy into a memcpy. But in this small bit
> > of the kernel, it's not. It's not even using the 'standard library
> > functions', but what the kernel provides. This problem can only crop up
> > in the time before we finish moving ourself around.
> I'm not arguing your facts, but the "abnormality" is in the different
> workings of memory addresses, not in anything related to the standard
> library. What if these functions were named differently but gcc were
> able to inline them? AFAICS that might trigger the same problem--no
> cstdlib confusion involved.

I'm not sure.. We do:

#define RELOC(x) (*PTRRELOC(&(x)))
#define PTRRELOC(x) ((typeof(x))((unsigned long)(x) + offset))

unsigned long offset = reloc_offset();
strcpy(namep, RELOC("linux,phandle"));

Which is basically inlining, yes?

> Conversely, what if these were the real stdlib calls that they seem to
> be? Still the same bug. Absence or presence of the standard library
> is not essential to the problem, and so -ffreestanding can be a fragile
> workaround at best.

Yes, but doesn't -ffreestanding imply that gcc _can't_ assume this is
the standard library, and that strcpy _might_ not be what it thinks, and
to just call strpy?

> The bug just happens to get triggered by a 'builtin' optimization, because
> gcc 3.0.3 is a little more aggressive with those. We can't keep the
> progress of gcc's optimizer back just for a kernel. Asking for a new
> option or #pragma, okay. But weeding out otherwise valid assumptions that
> help many inputs but break one? Better to fix the one, even if it does
> cost you some speed there.

We aren't saying this is always a bad thing, but what if we want to turn
off a built-in optimization? Unless -ffreestanding stops implying
-fno-builtin (maybe we could just add -fno-builtin for this one file..),
this line should be fine.

> Oh, and another suggestion: would having RELOC cast the pointer to the
> intermediate type "const volatile void *" make gcc drop its assumptions
> on that one pointer, and avoid the optimization? It may not be exactly
> what the Standard had in mind when it defined "volatile," but then again
> the definition was deliberately left vague.

I _think_ this is option 3 or so that I mentioned in another email.
Modify RELOC so that gcc will drop its assumptions and just do what we
explicitly say.

Tom Rini (TR1265)
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