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SubjectRe: easy-to-fix bug in /dev/null driver
Okay, okay, I didn't really make my point persuasively enough.
The file linux/drivers/char/mem.c contains this:

===================================================
static ssize_t write_null(struct file * file, const char * buf,
size_t count, loff_t *ppos)
{
return count;
}
===================================================

Now try this little program:

---------------------------------------------------
#include <stdio.h>
#include <errno.h>
#include <sys/fcntl.h>

main() {
char buf[1];
int fd = open("/dev/null", O_RDWR);
int i;
for (i = 1; i <= 10; ++i) {
int ret = write(fd, buf, 429496729 * i);
if (ret < 0) {
fprintf(stderr, "i = %d, errno = %d\n", i, errno);
perror("write");
}
}
}
---------------------------------------------------

Result is this:

---------------------------------------------------
i = 6, errno = 0
write: Success
i = 7, errno = 0
write: Success
i = 8, errno = 0
write: Success
i = 9, errno = 0
write: Success
i = 10, errno = 6
write: Device not configured
---------------------------------------------------

To me, it's pretty clear that an error has occurred here.
The error "Device not configured" has _not_ occurred.
So it is an error for the kernel to say that it has!

The cause is obviously that fact that the people who worked out
the input/output types for write(2) didn't allow for the
possibility that someone might really be able to
write 2 GBytes or more at a time.
But this is now becoming credible in some people's computers (not mine).

I.e. whenever anyone tries to write 2 GBytes or more to a device,
they're going to get a negative return value and possibly a positive
errno value - _if_ the device permits such a big chunk to
be written at once, which /dev/null does.
The device might be a 622 Mbit/sec ATM card or something.
That's only about 25 seconds of transmission time.
So it's not unrealistic.

Questions:
Should device drivers in general be written to truncate the
user-space request down to 2 GByte - 1 (2^31 - 1) or less?

Or should the device driver flag such excessive write-calls as erroneous?

I still think that write_null() should be rewritten as:

===================================================
static ssize_t write_null(struct file * file, const char * buf,
size_t count, loff_t *ppos)
{
return (count <= 2147483647) ? count : 2147483647;
}
===================================================

This would fix the problem without introducing any new errors.
(Unless someone change the definitions of ssize_t and size_t!!)

Cheers,
Alan Kennington.

--------------------------------------------------------------------
name: Dr. Alan Kennington
e-mail: akenning@dog.topology.org
website: http://topology.org/
city: Adelaide, South Australia
coords: 34.88051 S, 138.59334 E
timezone: UTC+1030 http://topology.org/timezone.html
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