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Subject[PATCH] Fix kallsyms/insmod/rmmod race

The attached patch fixes a race between kallsyms and insmod/rmmod.

The problem is this:

(1) The various kallsyms functions poke around in the module list without any
locking so that they can be called from the oops handler.

(2) Although insmod and rmmod use locks to exclude each other, these have no
effect on the kallsyms function.

(3) Although rmmod modifies the module state with the machine "stopped", it
hasn't removed the metadata from the module metadata list, meaning that
as soon as the machine is "restarted", the metadata can be observed by

It's not possible to say that an item in that list should be ignored if
it's state is marked as inactive - you can't get at the state information
because you can't trust the metadata in which it is embedded.

Furthermore, list linkage information is embedded in the metadata too, so
you can't trust that either...

(4) kallsyms may be walking the module list without a lock whilst either
insmod or rmmod are busy changing it. insmod probably isn't a problem
since nothing is going a way, but rmmod is as it's deleting an entry.

(5) Therefore nothing that uses these functions can in any way trust any
pointers to "static" data (such as module symbol names or module names)
that are returned.

(6) On ppc64 the problems are exacerbated since the hypervisor may reschedule
bits of the kernel, making operations that appear adjacent occur a long
time apart.

This patch fixes the race by only linking/unlinking modules into/from the
master module list with the machine in the "stopped" state. This means that
any "static" information can be trusted as far as the next kernel reschedule
on any given CPU without the need to hold any locks.

However, I'm not sure how this is affected by preemption. I suspect more work
may need to be done in that case, but I'm not entirely sure.

This also means that rmmod has to bump the machine into the stopped state
twice... but since that shouldn't be a common operation, I don't think that's
a problem.

Signed-Off-By: David Howells <>
warthog>diffstat kallsyms-race-2611rc1.diff
kallsyms.c | 16 ++++++++++++++--
module.c | 35 ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++-------
2 files changed, 42 insertions(+), 9 deletions(-)

diff -uNrp linux-2.6.11-rc1/kernel/kallsyms.c linux-2.6.11-rc1-kallsyms/kernel/kallsyms.c
--- linux-2.6.11-rc1/kernel/kallsyms.c 2005-01-12 19:09:18.000000000 +0000
+++ linux-2.6.11-rc1-kallsyms/kernel/kallsyms.c 2005-01-17 15:33:55.000000000 +0000
@@ -139,13 +139,20 @@ unsigned long kallsyms_lookup_name(const
return module_kallsyms_lookup_name(name);

-/* Lookup an address. modname is set to NULL if it's in the kernel. */
+ * Lookup an address
+ * - modname is set to NULL if it's in the kernel
+ * - we guarantee that the returned name is valid until we reschedule even if
+ * it resides in a module
+ * - we also guarantee that modname will be valid until rescheduled
+ */
const char *kallsyms_lookup(unsigned long addr,
unsigned long *symbolsize,
unsigned long *offset,
char **modname, char *namebuf)
unsigned long i, low, high, mid;
+ const char *msym;

/* This kernel should never had been booted. */
@@ -196,7 +203,12 @@ const char *kallsyms_lookup(unsigned lon
return namebuf;

- return module_address_lookup(addr, symbolsize, offset, modname);
+ /* see if it's in a module */
+ msym = module_address_lookup(addr, symbolsize, offset, modname);
+ if (msym)
+ return strncpy(namebuf, msym, KSYM_NAME_LEN);
+ return NULL;

/* Replace "%s" in format with address, or returns -errno. */
diff -uNrp linux-2.6.11-rc1/kernel/module.c linux-2.6.11-rc1-kallsyms/kernel/module.c
--- linux-2.6.11-rc1/kernel/module.c 2005-01-12 19:09:18.000000000 +0000
+++ linux-2.6.11-rc1-kallsyms/kernel/module.c 2005-01-17 15:31:42.000000000 +0000
@@ -1072,14 +1072,24 @@ static void mod_kobject_remove(struct mo

+ * unlink the module with the whole machine is stopped with interrupts off
+ * - this defends against kallsyms not taking locks
+ */
+static inline int __unlink_module(void *_mod)
+ struct module *mod = _mod;
+ spin_lock(&modlist_lock);
+ list_del(&mod->list);
+ spin_unlock(&modlist_lock);
+ return 0;
/* Free a module, remove from lists, etc (must hold module mutex). */
static void free_module(struct module *mod)
/* Delete from various lists */
- spin_lock_irq(&modlist_lock);
- list_del(&mod->list);
- spin_unlock_irq(&modlist_lock);
+ stop_machine_run(__unlink_module, mod, NR_CPUS);

@@ -1732,6 +1742,19 @@ static struct module *load_module(void _
goto free_hdr;

+ * link the module with the whole machine is stopped with interrupts off
+ * - this defends against kallsyms not taking locks
+ */
+static inline int __link_module(void *_mod)
+ struct module *mod = _mod;
+ spin_lock(&modlist_lock);
+ list_add(&mod->list, &modules);
+ spin_unlock(&modlist_lock);
+ return 0;
/* This is where the real work happens */
asmlinkage long
sys_init_module(void __user *umod,
@@ -1766,9 +1789,7 @@ sys_init_module(void __user *umod,

/* Now sew it into the lists. They won't access us, since
strong_try_module_get() will fail. */
- spin_lock_irq(&modlist_lock);
- list_add(&mod->list, &modules);
- spin_unlock_irq(&modlist_lock);
+ stop_machine_run(__link_module, mod, NR_CPUS);

/* Drop lock so they can recurse */
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