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Subject[PATCH] vfs: fix race in rcu lookup of pruned dentry
Since the RCU dcache lookup came in, on five occasions a "cp -a" in my dual
kbuild swapping tests has failed because a source file vanished momentarily
e.g. cp: cannot open `/usr/src/linux/include/linux/cramfs_fs.h' for reading:
No such file or directory

That -ENOENT in walk_component: isn't it assuming we found a negative
dentry, before reaching the read_seqcount_retry which complete_walk
(or nameidata_drop_rcu_last before 3.0) would use to confirm a successful
lookup? And can't memory pressure prune a dentry, coming to dentry_kill
which __d_drops to unhash before dentry_iput resets d_inode to NULL, but
the dentry_rcuwalk_barrier between those is ineffective if the other end
ignores the seqcount?

Move !inode -ENOENT checks from walk_component down into do_lookup,
adding read_seqcount_retry confirmation in the RCU case. And use
path_put_conditional instead of path_to_nameidata (a reverse way of
doing the same) in the non-RCU case, to match the error case just above.

Signed-off-by: Hugh Dickins <>
I think I now have a faster script (four slightly staggered "cp -a"s of
kernel source, run in limited memory) to reproduce this in hours rather
than weeks; but I'm still calibrating that, cannot yet say whether this
patch fixes it. Sending patch on ahead in case it's obvious to you.

fs/namei.c | 16 +++++++++-------
1 file changed, 9 insertions(+), 7 deletions(-)

--- 3.0-git/fs/namei.c 2011-07-15 19:40:03.269867213 -0700
+++ linux/fs/namei.c 2011-07-17 10:08:17.586475293 -0700
@@ -1173,7 +1173,10 @@ static int do_lookup(struct nameidata *n
goto unlazy;
if (unlikely(path->dentry->d_flags & DCACHE_NEED_AUTOMOUNT))
goto unlazy;
- return 0;
+ if (*inode)
+ return 0;
+ if (!read_seqcount_retry(&dentry->d_seq, nd->seq))
+ return -ENOENT;
if (unlazy_walk(nd, dentry))
return -ECHILD;
@@ -1223,6 +1226,10 @@ retry:
return err;
*inode = path->dentry->d_inode;
+ if (!*inode) {
+ path_put_conditional(path, nd);
+ return -ENOENT;
+ }
return 0;

@@ -1276,15 +1283,10 @@ static inline int walk_component(struct
if (unlikely(type != LAST_NORM))
return handle_dots(nd, type);
err = do_lookup(nd, name, path, &inode);
- if (unlikely(err)) {
+ if (err) {
return err;
- if (!inode) {
- path_to_nameidata(path, nd);
- terminate_walk(nd);
- return -ENOENT;
- }
if (unlikely(inode->i_op->follow_link) && follow) {
if (nd->flags & LOOKUP_RCU) {
if (unlikely(unlazy_walk(nd, path->dentry))) {

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