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SubjectRe: [x86] Access off the bottom of stack causes a segfault?
On Tue, 14 Oct 2003, Chris Lattner wrote:

> My compiler is generating accesses off the bottom of the stack (address
> below %esp). Is there some funny kernel interaction that I should be
> aware of with this? I'm periodically getting segfaults.
> Example:
> int main() {
> int test[4000];
> ...
> return 0;
> }
> Generated code:
> .intel_syntax
> ...
> main:
> mov DWORD PTR [%ESP - 16004], %EBP # Save EBP to stack

BAM **INTERRUPT** writes return address below stack-pointer.

> mov %EBP, %ESP # Set up EBP
> sub %ESP, 16004 # Finally adjust ESP
> lea %EAX, DWORD PTR [%EBP - 16000] # Get the address of the array
> ...
> mov %EAX, 0 # Setup return value
> mov %ESP, %EBP # restore ESP
> mov %EBP, DWORD PTR [%ESP - 16004] # Restore EBP from stack

BAM **You get bad data, overwritten by interrupt**

> ret
> This seems like perfectly valid X86 code (though unconventional), but it
> is causing segfaults pretty consistently (on the first instruction).
> Does the linux kernel assume that page faults will be above the stack
> pointer if the stack needs to be expanded?
> Thanks,
> -Chris

Well it is perfectly bad code. You can't access data elements
below the stack-pointer because that's where the return address
form interrupts, etc., will go. If you write there, you overwrite
that information, in particular an interrupt overwrites what
you put there. You do 'own' that address space, but you
can't use it in a program.

This script shows how to allocate stack-data without running
into that problem.

# Using only assembly and not any 'C' stuff, this allocates
# 64k on the stack and writes to it.
cat <<EOF >${FNAME}.S
.section .text
.global _start
.type _start,@function
_start: pushl %ebp # Save
movl %esp, %ebp # Save SP
subl \$0x10000,%esp # 64 k on the stack
movl \$0, (%esp) # Write there
movl %ebp, %esp # Original SP
popl %ebp # Restore
movl \$0x01, %eax # Exit function
movl \$0x00, %ebx # Exit code
int \$0x80
1: jmp 1b # Hard stop
as -o ${FNAME}.o ${FNAME}.S
ld -o ${FNAME} ${FNAME}.o
rm -f core
if [ -f "core" ] ; then echo "Something's bad!" ; else echo "Okay!" ; fi

Dick Johnson
Penguin : Linux version 2.4.22 on an i686 machine (797.90 BogoMips).
Note 96.31% of all statistics are fiction.
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