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SubjectRe: [RFC] Raceless module interface
Hi,

On Fri, 13 Sep 2002, Daniel Phillips wrote:

> > The exit itself can fail as well, so it has to be done by the module code
> > anyway (until it suceeds).
>
> That's debatable. Arguably, a failed ->module_cleanup() should be
> retried on every rmmod -a, but expecting module.c to just keep
> retrying mindlessly on its own sounds too much like a busy wait.

That's not what I meant, if module_init fails the module goes directly to
the cleanup state and the module code calls module_exit. Depending on this
return value it continues to the exit state. Further exit attempts (if
necessary) are done on user request.

> > What DoS opportunities are there?
>
> Suppose the module exit relies on synchronize_kernel. The attacker
> can force repeated synchronize_kernels, knowing that module.c will
> mindlessly do a synchronize_kernel every time a module init fails,
> whether needed or not. Each synchronize_kernel takes an unbounded
> amount of time to complete, across which module.c holds a lock.

This can't happen:

if (hook) {
hook = NULL;
synchronize();
}

> > Module init failure is the exception
> > case and usally needs further attention, so we could actually disable
> > further attempts to load this module, unless the user tells us
> > specifically so.
>
> Sure, you can fix it by lathering on more complexity. What you have
> to do is explain why we should do that, when there is a simpler and
> faster approach that doesn't introduce the problem in the first
> place.

It doesn't add any complexity (at least not to the kernel). A simple
approach might be that a failed kernel module cannot be loaded with
modprobe anymore, this sort of policy can be done in userspace.

> I take it that the points you didn't reply to are points that you
> agree with? (The main point being, that we both advocate a simple,
> two-method interface for module load/unload.)

Basically yes, it's just that your initial RFC was more confusing than
helpful.

bye, Roman

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