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SubjectRe: pivot_root(".", ".") and the fchdir() dance
Hello Eric,

On 9/10/19 1:40 AM, Eric W. Biederman wrote:


>>> I have just spotted this conversation and I expect if you are going
>>> to use this example it is probably good to document what is going
>>> on so that people can follow along.
>> (Sounds reasonable.)
>>>>> chdir(rootfs)
>>>>> pivot_root(".", ".")
>>> At this point the mount stack should be:
>>> old_root
>>> new_root
>>> rootfs
>> In this context, what is 'rootfs'? The initramfs? At least, when I
>> examine /proc/PID/mountinfo. When I look at the / mount point in
>> /proc/PID/mountinfo, I see just
>> old_root
>> new_root
>> But nothing below 'new_root'. So, I'm a little puzzled.
> I think that is because Al changed /proc/mounts to not display mounts
> that are outside of your current root. But yes there is typically
> the initramfs of file system type rootfs on their. Even when it isn't
> used you have one. Just to keep everything simple I presume.
> I haven't double checked lately to be certain it is there but I expect
> it is.
>> By the way, why is 'old_root' stacked above 'new_root', do you know? I
>> mean, in this scenario it turns out to be useful, but it's kind of the
>> opposite from what I would have expected. (And if this was a
>> deliverate design decision in pivot_root(), it was never made
>> explicit.)
> Oh. It is absolutely explicit and part of the design and it has nothing
> to do with this case.
> The pivot_root system calls takes two parameters: new_root and put_old.
> In this case the old root is put on put_old (which is the new_root).
> And new_root is made the current root.
> The pivot_root code looks everything up before it moves anything. With
> the result it is totally immaterrial which order the moves actually
> happen in the code. Further it is pretty much necessary to look
> everything up before things are moved because the definition of paths
> change.
> So it would actually be difficult to have pivot_root(.,.) to do anything
> except what it does today.
>>> With "." and "/" pointing to new_root.
>>>>> umount2(".", MNT_DETACH)
>>> At this point resolving "." starts with new_root and follows up the
>>> mount stack to old-root.
>> Okay.
>>> Ordinarily if you unmount "/" as is happening above you then need to
>>> call chroot and possibly chdir to ensure neither "/" nor "." point to
>>> somewhere other than the unmounted root filesystem. In this specific
>>> case because "/" and "." resolve to new_root under the filesystem that is
>>> being unmounted that all is well.
>> s/that/then/ ?

Thanks for the further clarifications.

All: I plan to add the following text to the manual page:

new_root and put_old may be the same directory. In particular,
the following sequence allows a pivot-root operation without need‐
ing to create and remove a temporary directory:

pivot_root(".", ".");
umount2(".", MNT_DETACH);

This sequence succeeds because the pivot_root() call stacks the
old root mount point (old_root) on top of the new root mount point
at /. At that point, the calling process's root directory and
current working directory refer to the new root mount point
(new_root). During the subsequent umount() call, resolution of
"." starts with new_root and then moves up the list of mounts
stacked at /, with the result that old_root is unmounted.

Look okay?



Michael Kerrisk
Linux man-pages maintainer;
Linux/UNIX System Programming Training:

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