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SubjectRe: pivot_root(".", ".") and the fchdir() dance
"Michael Kerrisk (man-pages)" <mtk.manpages@gmail.com> writes:

> Hello Philipp,
>
> On Tue, 6 Aug 2019 at 10:12, Philipp Wendler <ml@philippwendler.de> wrote:
>>
>> Hello Michael, hello Aleksa,
>>
>> Am 05.08.19 um 14:29 schrieb Michael Kerrisk (man-pages):
>>
>> > On 8/5/19 12:36 PM, Aleksa Sarai wrote:
>> >> On 2019-08-01, Michael Kerrisk (man-pages) <mtk.manpages@gmail.com> wrote:
>> >>> I'd like to add some documentation about the pivot_root(".", ".")
>> >>> idea, but I have a doubt/question. In the lxc_pivot_root() code we
>> >>> have these steps
>> >>>
>> >>> oldroot = open("/", O_DIRECTORY | O_RDONLY | O_CLOEXEC);
>> >>> newroot = open(rootfs, O_DIRECTORY | O_RDONLY | O_CLOEXEC);
>> >>>
>> >>> fchdir(newroot);
>> >>> pivot_root(".", ".");
>> >>>
>> >>> fchdir(oldroot); // ****
>> >>>
>> >>> mount("", ".", "", MS_SLAVE | MS_REC, NULL);
>> >>> umount2(".", MNT_DETACH);
>> >>
>> >>> fchdir(newroot); // ****
>> >>
>> >> And this one is required because we are in @oldroot at this point, due
>> >> to the first fchdir(2). If we don't have the first one, then switching
>> >> from "." to "/" in the mount/umount2 calls should fix the issue.
>> >
>> > See my notes above for why I therefore think that the second fchdir()
>> > is also not needed (and therefore why switching from "." to "/" in the
>> > mount()/umount2() calls is unnecessary.
>> >
>> > Do you agree with my analysis?
>>
>> If both the second and third fchdir are not required,
>> then we do not need to bother with file descriptors at all, right?
>
> Exactly.
>
>> Indeed, my tests show that the following seems to work fine:
>>
>> chdir(rootfs)
>> pivot_root(".", ".")
>> umount2(".", MNT_DETACH)
>
> Thanks for the confirmation, That's also exactly what I tested.
>
>> I tested that with my own tool[1] that uses user namespaces and marks
>> everything MS_PRIVATE before, so I do not need the mount(MS_SLAVE) here.
>>
>> And it works the same with both umount2("/") and umount2(".").
>
> Yes.
>
>> Did I overlook something that makes the file descriptors required?
>
> No.
>
>> If not, wouldn't the above snippet make sense as example in the man page?
>
> I have exactly that snippet in a pending change for the manual page :-).

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.

>> chdir(rootfs)
>> pivot_root(".", ".")

At this point the mount stack should be:
old_root
new_root
rootfs

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.

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.

Eric

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