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SubjectRe: [PATCH 0/1] devpts: use dynamic_dname() to generate proc name
Linus Torvalds <> writes:

> On Thu, Aug 24, 2017 at 1:43 PM, Eric W. Biederman
> <> wrote:
>> There are just enough weird one off scripts like xen image builder (I
>> think that was the nasty test case that broke in debian) that I can't
>> imagine ever being able to responsibly remove the path based lookups in
>> /dev/ptmx. I do dream of it sometimes.
> Not going to happen.

Which is what I said.

> The fact is, /dev/ptmx is the simply the standard location.
> /dev/pts/ptmx simply is *not*.

The standard is posix_openpt(). That is a syscall on the bsds.
Opening something called ptmx at this point is a Linuxism.

There are a lot of programs that are going to be calling posix_openpt()
simply because /dev/ptmx can not be counted on to exist.

> So pretty much every single user that ever uses pty's will use
> /dev/ptmx, it's just how it has always worked.
> Trying to change it to anything else is just stupid. There's no
> upside, there is only downsides - mainly the "we'll have to support
> the standard way anyway, that newfangled way doesn't add anything".

Except the new fangled way does add quite a bit. Not everyone who
mounts devpts has permission to call mknod. So /dev/ptmx frequently
winds up either being a bind mount or a symlink to /dev/pts/ptmx in

It is going to take a long time but device nodes like one of those
filesystem features thare are very slowly on their way out.

> Our "pts" lookup isn't expensive.
> So quite frankly, we should discourage people from using the
> non-standard place. It really has no real advantages, and it's simply
> not worth it.

The "pts" lookup admitted isn't runtime expensive. I could propbably
measure a cost but anyone who is creating ptys fast enough to care
likely has other issues.

The "pts" lookup does have some real maintenance costs as it takes
someone with a pretty deep understanding of things to figure out what is
going on. I hope things have finally been abstracted well enough, and
the code is used heavily enough we don't have to worry about a
regression there. I still worry.

As for non-standard locations. Anything that isn't /dev/ptmx and
/dev/pts/NNN simply won't work for anything isn't very specialized.
At which point I don't think there is any reason to skip using the ptmx
node on the devpts filesystem as you have already given up compatibility
with everything else.

But I agree it doesn't look worth it to change glibc to deal with an
alternate location for /dev/ptmx. I see a huge point in changing glibc
to use the new TIOCGPTPEER ioctl when available as that is really the
functionality the glibc internals are after.


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