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SubjectRe: [PATCH] exec: Fix a deadlock in ptrace
On 2020-03-01, Bernd Edlinger <> wrote:
> This fixes a deadlock in the tracer when tracing a multi-threaded
> application that calls execve while more than one thread are running.
> I observed that when running strace on the gcc test suite, it always
> blocks after a while, when expect calls execve, because other threads
> have to be terminated. They send ptrace events, but the strace is no
> longer able to respond, since it is blocked in vm_access.
> The deadlock is always happening when strace needs to access the
> tracees process mmap, while another thread in the tracee starts to
> execve a child process, but that cannot continue until the
> PTRACE_EVENT_EXIT is handled and the WIFEXITED event is received:
> strace D 0 30614 30584 0x00000000
> Call Trace:
> __schedule+0x3ce/0x6e0
> schedule+0x5c/0xd0
> schedule_preempt_disabled+0x15/0x20
> __mutex_lock.isra.13+0x1ec/0x520
> __mutex_lock_killable_slowpath+0x13/0x20
> mutex_lock_killable+0x28/0x30
> mm_access+0x27/0xa0
> process_vm_rw_core.isra.3+0xff/0x550
> process_vm_rw+0xdd/0xf0
> __x64_sys_process_vm_readv+0x31/0x40
> do_syscall_64+0x64/0x220
> entry_SYSCALL_64_after_hwframe+0x44/0xa9
> expect D 0 31933 30876 0x80004003
> Call Trace:
> __schedule+0x3ce/0x6e0
> schedule+0x5c/0xd0
> flush_old_exec+0xc4/0x770
> load_elf_binary+0x35a/0x16c0
> search_binary_handler+0x97/0x1d0
> __do_execve_file.isra.40+0x5d4/0x8a0
> __x64_sys_execve+0x49/0x60
> do_syscall_64+0x64/0x220
> entry_SYSCALL_64_after_hwframe+0x44/0xa9
> The proposed solution is to have a second mutex that is
> used in mm_access, so it is allowed to continue while the
> dying threads are not yet terminated.
> I also took the opportunity to improve the documentation
> of prepare_creds, which is obviously out of sync.
> Signed-off-by: Bernd Edlinger <>

I can't comment on the validity of the patch, but I also found and
reported this issue in 2016[1] and the discussion quickly veered into
the problem being more complicated (and uglier) than it seems at first

You should probably also Cc stable, given this has been a long-standing
issue and your patch doesn't look (too) invasive.


Aleksa Sarai
Senior Software Engineer (Containers)
SUSE Linux GmbH
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