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SubjectRe: [PATCH v2 0/5] pid: add pidfd_open()
On Mon, Apr 1, 2019 at 4:55 PM Daniel Colascione <> wrote:
> On Mon, Apr 1, 2019 at 8:36 AM Linus Torvalds
> <> wrote:
> >
> > On Mon, Apr 1, 2019 at 4:41 AM Aleksa Sarai <> wrote:
> > >
> > > Eric pitched a procfs2 which would *just* be the PIDs some time ago (in
> > > an attempt to make it possible one day to mount /proc inside a container
> > > without adding a bunch of masked paths), though it was just an idea and
> > > I don't know if he ever had a patch for it.
> Couldn't this mode just be a relatively simple procfs mount option
> instead of a whole new filesystem? It'd be a bit like hidepid, right?
> The internal bind mount option and the no-dotdot-traversal options
> also look good to me.
> > I wonder if we really want a fill procfs2, or maybe we could just make
> > the pidfd readable (yes, it's a directory file descriptor, but we
> > could allow reading).
> What would read(2) read?
> > What are the *actual* use cases for opening /proc files through it? If
> > it's really just for a small subset that android wants to do this
> > (getting basic process state like "running" etc), rather than anything
> > else, then we could skip the whole /proc linking entirely and go the
> > other way instead (ie open_pidfd() would get that limited IO model,
> > and we could make the /proc directory node get the same limited IO
> > model).
> We do a lot of process state inspection and manipulation, including
> reading and writing the oom killer adjustment score, reading smaps,
> and the occasional cgroup manipulation. More generally, I'd also like
> to be able to write a race-free pkill(1). Doing this work via pidfd
> would be convenient. More generally, we can't enumerate the specific
> use cases, because what we want to do with processes isn't bounded in
> advance, and we regularly find new things in /proc/pid that we want to
> read and write. I'd rather not prematurely limit the applicability of
> the pidfd interface, especially when there's a simple option (the
> procfs directory file descriptor approach) that doesn't require
> in-advance enumeration of supported process inspection and
> manipulation actions or a separate per-option pidfd equivalent. I very
> much want a general-purpose API that reuses the metadata interfaces
> the kernel already exposes. It's not clear to me how this rich
> interface could be matched by read(2) on a pidfd.

With the POLLHUP model on a simple pidfd, you'd know when the process
you were referring to is dead (and one can map POLLPRI to dead and
POLLHUP to zombie, etc).

This is just an extension of the child process model, since you'd know
when it's dead, there's no race involved with opening the wrong
/proc/<PID> entry. The entire thing is already non-racy for direct
children, the same model can be extended to non-direct ones.

This simplifies a lot of things, now I am essentially just passing a
file descriptor pinning the struct pid associated with the original
task, and not process state around to others (I may even want the
other process to not read that stuff out even if it was allowed to, as
it wouldn't have been able to otherwise, due to being a in a different
mount namespace). KISS.

The upshot is this same descriptor can be returned from clone, which
would allow you to directly register it in your event loop (like
signalfd, timerfd, file fd, sockets, etc) and POLLIN generated for you
to read back its exit status (it is arguable if non-parents should be
returned a readable instance from pidfd_open, but parents sure
should). You can disable SIGCHLD for the child, and read back exit
status much later. The entire point of waiting and reaping was that
it'd be lost, but now you have a descriptor where it is kept for you
to consume.

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