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Subject[patch 05/53] revert "rlimit: permit setting RLIMIT_NOFILE to RLIM_INFINITY"
2.6.28-stable review patch.  If anyone has any objections, please let us know.

From: Andrew Morton <>

commit 60fd760fb9ff7034360bab7137c917c0330628c2 upstream.

Revert commit 0c2d64fb6cae9aae480f6a46cfe79f8d7d48b59f because it causes
(arguably poorly designed) existing userspace to spend interminable
periods closing billions of not-open file descriptors.

We could bring this back, with some sort of opt-in tunable in /proc, which
defaults to "off".

Peter's alanysis follows:

: I spent several hours trying to get to the bottom of a serious
: performance issue that appeared on one of our servers after upgrading to
: 2.6.28. In the end it's what could be considered a userspace bug that
: was triggered by a change in 2.6.28. Since this might also affect other
: people I figured I'd at least document what I found here, and maybe we
: can even do something about it:
: So, I upgraded some of's machines to and immediately
: the team maintaining our ftp archive complained that one of their
: scripts that previously ran in a few minutes still hadn't even come
: close to being done after an hour or so. Downgrading to 2.6.27 fixed
: that.
: Turns out that script is forking a lot and something in it or python or
: whereever closes all the file descriptors it doesn't want to pass on.
: That is, it starts at zero and goes up to ulimit -n/RLIMIT_NOFILE and
: closes them all with a few exceptions.
: Turns out that takes a long time when your limit -n is now 2^20 (1048576).
: With 2.6.27.* the ulimit -n was the standard 1024, but with 2.6.28 it is
: now a thousand times that.
: 2.6.28 included a patch titled "rlimit: permit setting RLIMIT_NOFILE to
: RLIM_INFINITY" (0c2d64fb6cae9aae480f6a46cfe79f8d7d48b59f)[1] that
: allows, as the title implies, to set the limit for number of files to
: infinity.
: Closer investigation showed that the broken default ulimit did not apply
: to "system" processes (like stuff started from init). In the end I
: could establish that all processes that passed through pam_limit at one
: point had the bad resource limit.
: Apparently the pam library in Debian etch (4.0) initializes the limits
: to some default values when it doesn't have any settings in limit.conf
: to override them. Turns out that for nofiles this is RLIM_INFINITY.
: Commenting out "case RLIMIT_NOFILE" in pam_limit.c:267 of our pam
: package version 0.79-5 fixes that - tho I'm not sure what side effects
: that has.
: Debian lenny (the upcoming 5.0 version) doesn't have this issue as it
: uses a different pam (version).

Reported-by: Peter Palfrader <>
Cc: Adam Tkac <>
Cc: Michael Kerrisk <>
Signed-off-by: Andrew Morton <>
Signed-off-by: Linus Torvalds <>
Signed-off-by: Greg Kroah-Hartman <>

kernel/sys.c | 16 ++++------------
1 file changed, 4 insertions(+), 12 deletions(-)

--- a/kernel/sys.c
+++ b/kernel/sys.c
@@ -1447,22 +1447,14 @@ SYSCALL_DEFINE2(setrlimit, unsigned int,
return -EINVAL;
if (copy_from_user(&new_rlim, rlim, sizeof(*rlim)))
return -EFAULT;
+ if (new_rlim.rlim_cur > new_rlim.rlim_max)
+ return -EINVAL;
old_rlim = current->signal->rlim + resource;
if ((new_rlim.rlim_max > old_rlim->rlim_max) &&
return -EPERM;
- if (resource == RLIMIT_NOFILE) {
- if (new_rlim.rlim_max == RLIM_INFINITY)
- new_rlim.rlim_max = sysctl_nr_open;
- if (new_rlim.rlim_cur == RLIM_INFINITY)
- new_rlim.rlim_cur = sysctl_nr_open;
- if (new_rlim.rlim_max > sysctl_nr_open)
- return -EPERM;
- }
- if (new_rlim.rlim_cur > new_rlim.rlim_max)
- return -EINVAL;
+ if (resource == RLIMIT_NOFILE && new_rlim.rlim_max > sysctl_nr_open)
+ return -EPERM;

retval = security_task_setrlimit(resource, &new_rlim);
if (retval)

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