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SubjectRe: [PATCH 2/3] core_pattern: allow passing of arguments to user mode helper when core_pattern is a pipe
Hi Neil,

Neil Horman [2007-07-28 9:46 -0400]:
> > I just want to mention a potential problem with this: If you first
> > expand the macros (from pattern to corename) and then split
> > corename into an argv, then this breaks macro expansions
> > containing spaces. This mostly affects the executable name, of
> > course.
> >
> I never intended for this core_pattern argument passing to be able
> to expand macros, other than the macros specified by the
> core_pattern code. If you want it to do that, we can address that
> with a later patch.

No, I specifically mean the standard ones provided by
format_corename(), such as %p (pid), %s (signal), or %e (executable
name). I don't see a reason to provide additional functionality.

> > In fact we considered this macro approach when doing the original
> > patches in the Ubuntu kernel, but we eventually used environment
> > variables because they are much easier and more robust to
> > implement than doing a robust macro expansion (i. e. first split
> > core_pattern into an argv and then call the macro expansion for
> > each element).
> >
> I disagree. While it might be nice to be able to specify environment
> variables as command line arguments, it would be much easier to just
> let the core_pattern executable inherit the crashing processes
> environment. we don't do that currently, but we easily could. That
> way any information that the crashing process wants the dying
> process to know can be inherited and vetted easily by apport (or
> whatever the core_pattern points to). I'll do a patch later for
> that if you don't like it.

I don't think that this will be necessary. After all, the crash
handler can read all the environment from /proc/<pid>/ (and that's
indeed what apport does to figure out relevant parts from the
environment like the locale).

It seems we misunderstood each other, I don't expect or want any new
functionality in core_pattern. AN example might make it more clear:

The original problem that we are trying to solve is the current
behaviour of core_pattern expansion with pipes:

|/bin/crash --pid %p

would try to execute the program '/bin/crash --pid 1234' instead of
calling /bin/crash with ['--pid', '1234'] as argv, right? Your patch
achieves the latter by splitting the formatted core dump string into
an array (at spaces).

I pointed out that this leads to problems when macro values contain
spaces. This currently affects hostname (%h) (although this really
should not happen in practice) and executable name (%e) (rare, but at
least valid). I. e. for an executable name "foo bar" your patch would

|/bin/crash %e

to ['/bin/crash', 'foo', 'bar'] instead of ['/bin/crash', 'foo bar'].

Of course this is a corner case, and personally I don't really care.
I strive to keep the assumptions about the interface at a minimum, so
right now Apport's only required input is the core dump itself (over
stdin); signal and pid can be read from the environment, and if not
present, they are read from the core dump.

I did not defend Ubuntu's usage of environment variables, on the
contrary. Using the standard macros is more explicit and elegant, and
I welcome that change. I just pointed out the reason why we chose the
environment variable approach initially.

I just wanted to mention this little problem for the sake of

Thank you, and have a nice weekend!


Martin Pitt
Ubuntu Developer
Debian Developer
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