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SubjectRe: rfc: treewide scripted patch mechanism? (was: Re: [PATCH] Makefile: Convert -Wimplicit-fallthrough=3 to just -Wimplicit-fallthrough for clang)QUILT
On Tue, Aug 20, 2019 at 4:37 PM Joe Perches <> wrote:
> > So I'm putting my foot down on yet another broken string copy
> > interface from people who do not understand this fundamental issue.
> I think you are mistaken about the stracpy limits as
> the only limit is not the source size but the dest.
> Why should the source be size limited?

You just proved my point. You don't understand that sources can also
be limited, and the limit on a source can be *smaller* than the limit
of a destination.

Did we learn *NOTHING* from the complete and utter disaster that was strlcpy()?

Do you not understand why strlcpy() was unacceptably bad, and why the
people who converted strncpy() to it introduced real bugs?

The fact is, it's not just the destination that has a size limit. The
source often has one too.

And no, the source is not always guaranteed to be NUL-terminated, nor
is the source buffer guaranteed to be larger than the destination

Now, if you *know* that the source is smaller than the destination
size, you can do:

len = strnlen(src, srclen);
memcpy(dst, len);
dst[len] = 0;

and that's not wrong, but that works only when

(a) you actually do the above

(b) you have no data races on src (or you at least only require that
'dst' is NUL-terminated, not that 'len' is necessarily the correct
length of the result

(c) you actually know as the programmer that yes, the source is
definitely smaller than the destination.

and honestly, people don't get _any_ of that right.

For one thing, the buffer sizes of the source and destination may be
two different things and some #define. It's hard to tell that one is
always smaller than the other (or that they are always the same size).
So then to get it right in the *general* case, you may need to do
something like

if (srcsize < dstsize) {
.. do the above ..
} else {

do you see the reason?

Do you see why strlcpy() is only safe to do when the allocation size
of the source buffer is at least as big as the allocation size of the
destination buffer?

For example, I just grepped for some patterns, and I can find code
like this in the kernel

name_len = strnlen(fileName, PATH_MAX);
name_len++; /* trailing null */
strncpy(pSMB->fileName, fileName, name_len);

where pretty much everything is wrong. The comment is fundamentally
wrong, and even spells "nul" wrong. Christ.

Here's another one:

/* will be less than a page size */
len = strnlen(link, ocfs2_fast_symlink_chars(inode->i_sb));
kaddr = kmap_atomic(page);
memcpy(kaddr, link, len + 1);

and notice how this time at least the comment is (hopefully) correct.
But the code is wrong once again, because it doesn't actually do the
correct pattern I showed above, it does a "memcpy(len+1)" instead.
Bzzt. WRONG!

What I think the code *wants* to do is

kaddr = kmap_atomic(page);
// destination and destination size limit
kaddr, PAGE_SIZE,
// source and source size limit
link, ocfs2_fast_symlink_chars(inode->i_sb)

ie the destination has one size, and the source has another size, and
the source may or may not be NUL-terminated.

And then the programmer wouldn't have needed the comment, and wouldn't
have needed to make sure that yes, ocfs2_fast_symlink_chars() is
guaranteed to be less than PAGE_SIZE.

Again, the code we actually _have_ in the kernel is not sensible. It
doesn't actually nul-terminate the destination, despite clearly
_trying_ to (note that "len+1" in the memcpy).

Now, it's possible that it doesn't care about properly nul-terminating
things. And it's possible; that the source is always nul-terminated to
begin with unless the filesystem is corrupted. But the code clearly
_tries_ to do something, and fails.

Because copying a string is complicated, particularly when the
allocations for source and destination may be entirely different.

On a happier note, I actually found a correct code case too. Our
"kstrndup()" function seems to actually be at a first glance entirely
bug-free, and actually takes a limited source string size, and gives
you back a nul-terminated destination string of a different size. Of
course, that's a simple case, because the size of the destination is
something that that function actually controls, so getting it right is
actually somewhat simpler.


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