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Subjectcore_pattern pipe documentation

I wrote the following description of the core_pattern pipe feature. Does this
seem okay?

Piping core dumps to a program
Since kernel 2.6.19, Linux supports an alternate syntax
for the /proc/sys/kernel/core_pattern file. If the first
character of this file is a pipe symbol (|), then the
remainder of the line is interpreted as a program to be
executed. Instead of being written to a disk file, the
core dump is given as standard input to the program.
Note the following points:

* The program must be specified using an absolute path-
name (or a pathname relative to the root directory,
/), and must immediately follow the '|' character.

* The process created to run the program runs as user
and group root.

* Arguments can be supplied to the program, delimited by
white space (up to a total line length of 128 bytes).



Andi Kleen wrote:
> Michael Kerrisk wrote:
>> On Tue, Apr 15, 2008 at 11:09 PM, Michael Kerrisk
>> <> wrote:
>>> Hi Andi,
>>> In 2.6.19 you added the pipiing syntax
>>> ( to core_pattern. Petr pointed out
>>> that this is not yet documented in core(5), so I set to testing it.
>>> The change log has the text:
>>> The core dump proces will run with the privileges and in the name space
>>> of the process that caused the core dump.
> My memory is fuzzy but something might have changed this afterwards
> (there were some semantics changes afterwards by other people) I think
> my original version ran as non root.
> Anyways the reference as usual is the code, not the change log.
>>> This appears not to be true (as tested on 2.6.25-rc8). Instead the
>>> pipe program is run as root. I'm not sure what "in the name space of
>>> the process that caused the core dump" means
> namespace is a concept from plan9. It basically means the tree
> of mounts the current process has access to. On 99+% of the systems
> that is only a single global tree, but there is support for processes
> creating their own name space using clone CLONE_NEWNS and then
> mount/umount/mount --bind etc. Linux VFS had this support for
> some time.
> The whole thing is very obscure but perhaps some more
> coverage in the man pages would be not bad. It seems to move
> slowly out of obscurity now with all the new container work.
> There is some scattered information in Documentation/*. You'll need
> someone else to explain you all the finer details though.
> Also there are lots of different mounts now since a few 2.6 kernels --
> to be honest I don't understand what they are all good for.
> -- I wondered if it might
>>> mean that the current working directory of the program would be the
>>> same as that of the process that caused the core dump. However that
>>> is not so: the current directory for the pipe program is the root
>>> directory.
> Basically with a different namespace the paths can change completely,
> which can in theory have some unpleasant effects on the core dumper
> script. I skimped this by just always using the same as the process.
> -Andi

Michael Kerrisk
Linux man-pages maintainer;
Want to report a man-pages bug? Look here:

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