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SubjectFrequent/consistent panics in 2.4.17/.18 at ip_route_input_slow, in_dev_get(dev)
Hello all,

I've been getting frequent and consistent panics on three different
boxes running 2.4.17 and 2.4.18 kernels, always at the same exact
instruction, a "incl 0x4(%edx)" at the beginning of

The boxes are very busy PPTP (PoPToP) servers on brand single-CPU (P3,
P4) SCSI-based hardware (2 x IBM, 1 x Asus MB).

Example for a 2.4.17 kernel:

Unable to handle kernel paging request at virtual address f73cdc48
Oops = 0002
EIP = 0010:c0223ff9 not tainted

(gdb) x/10i 0xc0223ff9
0xc0223ff9 <ip_route_input_slow+33>: incl 0x4(%edx)

EAX = 0 EBX = 410c0100 ECX = f69a30ac EDX = f73cdc44

The indexed access through EDX is causing the fault

ESI = ccb23fc6 EDI = d71a10ac EBP = c583b0a0
ESP = d01d1e6c

DS = 0010 ES = 0018 SS = 0018

Process varies, in this case pptpctrl.

Stack: 410c0100 ccb23fcb d71a10ac c583b0ad 0000003d

Call trace:

c023f91b <raw_recvmsg+111>
c022491a <ip_route_input+338>
c0226834 <ip_rcv_finish+40>
d88251ae ?
d8825180 ?
c0117867 <update_wall_time+11>
c0117c42 <timer_bh+546>

Sorry, this partial data was hand-written in haste, I *really* had to
reboot this production box immediately.

Looking at the code in net/ipv4/route.c, I strongly suspect that the
offending line is:

int ip_route_input_slow(struct sk_buff *skb, u32 daddr, u32 saddr,
u8 tos, struct net_device *dev)
struct rt_key key;
struct fib_result res;
------> struct in_device *in_dev = in_dev_get(dev); <-------

Because that's quite close to the beginning of the function:

0xc0223fd8 <ip_route_input_slow>: sub $0x50,%esp
0xc0223fdb <ip_route_input_slow+3>: push %ebp
0xc0223fdc <ip_route_input_slow+4>: push %edi
0xc0223fdd <ip_route_input_slow+5>: push %esi
0xc0223fde <ip_route_input_slow+6>: push %ebx
0xc0223fdf <ip_route_input_slow+7>: mov 0x74(%esp,1),%edx
0xc0223fe3 <ip_route_input_slow+11>: mov 0x70(%esp,1),%eax
0xc0223fe7 <ip_route_input_slow+15>: mov %al,0x2f(%esp,1)
0xc0223feb <ip_route_input_slow+19>: mov 0xac(%edx),%edx
0xc0223ff1 <ip_route_input_slow+25>: mov %edx,0x24(%esp,1)
0xc0223ff5 <ip_route_input_slow+29>: test %edx,%edx
0xc0223ff7 <ip_route_input_slow+31>: je 0xc0223ffc <ip_route_input_slow+36>
0xc0223ff9 <ip_route_input_slow+33>: incl 0x4(%edx) <----- offending instruction

and in_dev_get() inlines to:

in_dev_get(const struct net_device *dev)
struct in_device *in_dev;

in_dev = dev->ip_ptr;
if (in_dev)
atomic_inc(&in_dev->refcnt); <---- inlines to "lock incl %0"
return in_dev;

So unless I am seriously misled, we fault when trying to bump the
in_dev reference count up. What could that mean? This box is a busy
PPTP (PoPToP) server usually serving 200-350 sessions at once, with a
lot of connections/disconnections per minute. Could it be a race
condition that causes the in_dev structure to go away before we
reference it? I'm not familiar with the Linux kernel enough to
investigate further.

I've got up to 4 crashes on these 3 boxes in a single day, all at that
precise instruction. Nothing has changed lately on the servers, except
a steadily increasing load. They had been rock solid for several
months before this started happening about a week ago.

They run a quite simple configuration, almost vanilla hardened
Slackware with ppptp compiled from source (no encryption). Only
modification to kernel is in ./net/core/dev.c where I have upped the
max number of instances for a device from 100 to 500 in
dev_alloc_name(). Algorithm is unchanged yet (yes, I have read the

One of the boxes has been upgraded to 2.4.19 (it broke everything, I
had to get pppd 2.4.2b1 to fix - don't know if that's to be expected)
and has been running stable since then (only 1 day, doesn't prove
much yet). My next plan is to implement LKCD on the 2.4.17 box
(not available for 2.4.19 yet as it seems) and capture a complete
crash dump. Would that help tracking down?

Thanks in advance for any help,


"I've RTFM. It says: `see your system administrator'. But... *I* am
the system administrator"
(DECUS US symposium session title, author unknown, ca. 1990)

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