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Subject[PATCH] NFS: Replace null dentries that appear in readdir's list

Trond Myklebust <> wrote:

> Better still, in the case of a negative dentry: just call d_drop().

How about this then?

NFS: Replace null dentries that appear in readdir's list

From: David Howells <>

Have nfs_readdir_lookup() drop and replace any null dentry when it
that gets listed by a READDIR RPC call.

This can be caused by an optimisation in nfs_lookup() that causes a dentry to
be incorrectly left as negative when mkdir() or similar is aborted by SELinux

This can be triggered by mounting through autofs4 a server:/ NFS share for
which there are other exports available on that server. SELinux also has to
be turned on in enforcing mode to abort mid-flow the mkdir operation performed
by autofs4.

The problematic sequence of events is this:

(1) nfs_lookup() is called by sys_mkdirat() -> lookup_create() ->
__lookup_hash() with intent to create exclusively set in the nameidata:

nd->flags == LOOKUP_CREATE
nd-> == O_EXCL

(2) nfs_lookup() has an optimisation to avoid going to the server in this
case, presumably since the nfs_mkdir() op or whatever will deal with the

(3) nfs_lookup() returns successfully, leaving the dentry in a negative state,
but attached to the parent directory.

(4) sys_mkdirat() calls vfs_mkdir() which calls may_create(). may_create()
checks that the directory has MAY_WRITE and MAY_EXEC permissions.

(5) may_create() calls nfs_permission(), which grants permission.

(6) may_create() calls security_inode_permission(), which calls SELinux, which
then _DENIES_ permission.

(7) may_create() fails, and vfs_mkdir() then fails and sys_mkdirat() then
fails (as does sys_mkdir).

_However_, the new dentry is left in the negative state, with no
consultation of the server.

(8) The parent directory is listed, and the name of the new dentry is

(9) stat on the new dentry fails (because it's negative), and "ls -l" returns
"?---------" as the file type and mode.

This fix makes step (8) replace the dentry looked up in steps (1) - (3).

Signed-Off-By: David Howells <>

fs/nfs/dir.c | 9 +++++++--
1 files changed, 7 insertions(+), 2 deletions(-)

diff --git a/fs/nfs/dir.c b/fs/nfs/dir.c
index e746ed1..bb8b5f0 100644
--- a/fs/nfs/dir.c
+++ b/fs/nfs/dir.c
@@ -1105,8 +1105,13 @@ static struct dentry *nfs_readdir_lookup
name.hash = full_name_hash(, name.len);
dentry = d_lookup(parent, &name);
- if (dentry != NULL)
- return dentry;
+ if (dentry != NULL) {
+ /* negative dentries must be reconsidered */
+ if (!IS_ERR(dentry) && !dentry->d_inode)
+ d_drop(dentry);
+ else
+ return dentry;
+ }
if (!desc->plus || !(entry->fattr->valid & NFS_ATTR_FATTR))
return NULL;
/* Note: caller is already holding the dir->i_mutex! */
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