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    SubjectRe: 1352 NUL bytes at the end of a page? (was Re: Assertion `s && s->tree' failed: The saga continues.)


    On Mon, 17 May 2004, Larry McVoy wrote:
    >
    > > And at some point earlier in the process you did an fflush(), or somebody
    > > else had written a header of n*PAGE_SIZE + 0x4ff bytes, or something like
    > > that. Since this was the ChangeSet file, I suspect that the "header" is
    > > the checkin-comment section at the beginning, and the "second phase" is
    > > the actual key list thing. You know how you write the ChangeSet file
    > > better than I do.
    >
    > I don't think we flush along the way but let me look. Whoops, you're right,
    > we do. Right where you thought too. But that doesn't explain there being
    > 3 blocks of nulls (there should NEVER be a null in the s.ChangeSet file, we
    > don't compress that, it's always ascii).

    No, no, I'm not claiming that _you_ are writing the NUL bytes. I'm
    claiming the kernel has a bug that triggers with non-page-aligned starting
    offsets of writes (because we clear the bytes after "i_size", and we don't
    synchronize those clears sufficiently), and concurrent flushes. There's
    probably some other trigger needed too (CONFIG_PREEMPT being just the
    thing that uncovers the race).

    > But the bigger problem is that you are missing the point that I mentioned
    > elsewhere, we are writing to a tmp file, the tmp file is NOT mmapped.

    No, the mmap thing was Andrew's theory. My theory is that regular
    "write()" calls can trigger it through the "commit_write()" function.

    Of course, my theory also depended on a page unlock happening in a place
    where it didn't actually happen, so the exact details of my theory are
    crap. I'll need to re-think that part.

    Linus
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