lkml.org 
[lkml]   [2019]   [Oct]   [9]   [last100]   RSS Feed
Views: [wrap][no wrap]   [headers]  [forward] 
 
Messages in this thread
/
SubjectRe: For review: rewritten pivot_root(2) manual page
From
Date
Hello Eric,

On 10/9/19 6:00 PM, Eric W. Biederman wrote:
> "Michael Kerrisk (man-pages)" <mtk.manpages@gmail.com> writes:
>
>> Hello Eric,
>>
>> Thank you. I was hoping you might jump in on this thread.
>>
>> Please see below.
>>
>> On 10/9/19 10:46 AM, Eric W. Biederman wrote:
>>> "Michael Kerrisk (man-pages)" <mtk.manpages@gmail.com> writes:
>>>
>>>> Hello Philipp,
>>>>
>>>> My apologies that it has taken a while to reply. (I had been hoping
>>>> and waiting that a few more people might weigh in on this thread.)
>>>>
>>>> On 9/23/19 3:42 PM, Philipp Wendler wrote:
>>>>> Hello Michael,
>>>>>
>>>>> Am 23.09.19 um 14:04 schrieb Michael Kerrisk (man-pages):
>>>>>
>>>>>> I'm considering to rewrite these pieces to exactly
>>>>>> describe what the system call does (which I already
>>>>>> do in the third paragraph) and remove the "may or may not"
>>>>>> pieces in the second paragraph. I'd welcome comments
>>>>>> on making that change.
>>
>> What did you think about my proposal above? To put it in context,
>> this was my initial comment in the mail:
>>
>> [[
>> One area of the page that I'm still not really happy with
>> is the "vague" wording in the second paragraph and the note
>> in the third paragraph about the system call possibly
>> changing. These pieces survive (in somewhat modified form)
>> from the original page, which was written before the
>> system call was released, and it seems there was some
>> question about whether the system call might still change
>> its behavior with respect to the root directory and current
>> working directory of other processes. However, after 19
>> years, nothing has changed, and surely it will not in the
>> future, since that would constitute an ABI breakage.
>> I'm considering to rewrite these pieces to exactly
>> describe what the system call does (which I already
>> do in the third paragraph) and remove the "may or may not"
>> pieces in the second paragraph. I'd welcome comments
>> on making that change.
>> ]]
>>
>> And the second and third paragraphs of the manual page currently
>> read:
>>
>> [[
>> pivot_root() may or may not change the current root and the cur‐
>> rent working directory of any processes or threads that use the
>> old root directory and which are in the same mount namespace as
>> the caller of pivot_root(). The caller of pivot_root() should
>> ensure that processes with root or current working directory at
>> the old root operate correctly in either case. An easy way to
>> ensure this is to change their root and current working directory
>> to new_root before invoking pivot_root(). Note also that
>> pivot_root() may or may not affect the calling process's current
>> working directory. It is therefore recommended to call chdir("/")
>> immediately after pivot_root().
>>
>> The paragraph above is intentionally vague because at the time
>> when pivot_root() was first implemented, it was unclear whether
>> its affect on other process's root and current working directo‐
>> ries—and the caller's current working directory—might change in
>> the future. However, the behavior has remained consistent since
>> this system call was first implemented: pivot_root() changes the
>> root directory and the current working directory of each process
>> or thread in the same mount namespace to new_root if they point to
>> the old root directory. (See also NOTES.) On the other hand,
>> pivot_root() does not change the caller's current working direc‐
>> tory (unless it is on the old root directory), and thus it should
>> be followed by a chdir("/") call.
>> ]]
>
> Apologies I saw that concern I didn't realize it was a questio
>
> I think it is very reasonable to remove warning the behavior might
> change. We have pivot_root(8) in common use that to use it requires
> the semantic of changing processes other than the current process.
> Which means any attempt to noticably change the behavior of
> pivot_root(2) will break userspace.

Thanks for the confirmation that this change would be okay.
I will make this change soon, unless I hear a counterargument.

> Now the documented semantics in behavior above are not quite what
> pivot_root(2) does. It walks all processes on the system and if the
> working directory or the root directory refer to the root mount that is
> being replaced, then pivot_root(2) will update them.
>
> In practice the above is limited to a mount namespace. But something as
> simple as "cd /proc/<somepid>/root" can allow a process to have a
> working directory in a different mount namespace.

So, I'm not quite clear. Do you mean that something in the existing
manual page text should change? If so, could you describe the
needed change please?

> Because ``unprivileged'' users can now use pivot_root(2) we may want to
> rethink the implementation at some point to be cheaper than a global
> process walk. So far that process walk has not been a problem in
> practice.
>
> If we had to write pivot_root(2) from scratch limiting it to just
> changing the root directory of the process that calls pivot_root(2)
> would have been the superior semantic. That would have required run
> pivot_root(8) like: "exec pivot_root . . -- /bin/bash ..." but it would
> not have required walking every thread in the system.

Okay.

[...]

>>>>>> DESCRIPTION
>>>>> [...]> pivot_root() changes the
>>>>>> root directory and the current working directory of each process
>>>>>> or thread in the same mount namespace to new_root if they point to
>>>>>> the old root directory. (See also NOTES.) On the other hand,
>>>>>> pivot_root() does not change the caller's current working direc‐
>>>>>> tory (unless it is on the old root directory), and thus it should
>>>>>> be followed by a chdir("/") call.
>>>>>
>>>>> There is a contradiction here with the NOTES (cf. below).
>>>>
>>>> See below.
>>>>
>>>>>> The following restrictions apply:
>>>>>>
>>>>>> - new_root and put_old must be directories.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> - new_root and put_old must not be on the same filesystem as the
>>>>>> current root. In particular, new_root can't be "/" (but can be
>>>>>> a bind mounted directory on the current root filesystem).
>>>>>
>>>>> Wouldn't "must not be on the same mountpoint" or something similar be
>>>>> more clear, at least for new_root? The note in parentheses indicates
>>>>> that new_root can actually be on the same filesystem as the current
>>>>> note. However, ...
>>>>
>>>> For 'put_old', it really is "filesystem".
>>>
>>> If we are going to be pedantic "filesystem" is really the wrong concept
>>> here. The section about bind mount clarifies it, but I wonder if there
>>> is a better term.
>>
>> Thanks. My aim was to try to distinguish "mount point" from
>> "a mount somewhere inside the file system associated with a
>> certain mount point"--in other words, I wanted to make it clear
>> that 'put_old' (and 'new_root') could not be subdirectories
>> under the current root mount point (which is correct, right?).
>>
>> Using "mount" does seem better. (My only concern is that some
>> people may take it to mean "the mount point", but perhaps that
>> just my own confusion.)
>
> I am open to better terms. But mount or vfsmount is what we are using
> internal to the kernel and is really a distinct concept from filesystem.
> And it is starting to leak out in system calls like move_mount.

I have no better term to propose.

[...]

>> Thanks for the above comments.
>>
>> Hmm, doI need to make similar changes in the initial paragraph of
>> the manual page as well? It currently reads:
>>
>> pivot_root() changes the root filesystem in the mount namespace of
>> the calling process. More precisely, it moves the root filesystem
>> to the directory put_old and makes new_root the new root filesys‐
>> tem. The calling process must have the CAP_SYS_ADMIN capability
>> in the user namespace that owns the caller's mount namespace.
>>
>> Furthermore the one line NAME of the man page reads:
>>
>> pivot_root - change the root filesystem
>>
>> Is a change needed there also?
>
> Yes please. Both locations.

Okay. So would the following be okay:

[[
NAME
pivot_root - change the root mount
...
DESCRIPTION
pivot_root() changes the root mount in the mount namespace of the
calling process. More precisely, it moves the root mount to the
directory put_old and makes new_root the new root mount. The
calling process must have the CAP_SYS_ADMIN capability in the user
namespace that owns the caller's mount namespace.
]]

?

[...]

>>>>>> - new_root must be a mount point. (If it is not otherwise a
>>>>>> mount point, it suffices to bind mount new_root on top of
>>>>>> itself.)
>>>>>
>>>>> ... this item actually makes the above item almost redundant regarding
>>>>> new_root (except for the "/") case. So one could replace this item with
>>>>> something like this:
>>>>>
>>>>> - new_root must be a mount point different from "/". (If it is not
>>>>> otherwise a mount point, it suffices to bind mount new_root on top
>>>>> of itself.)
>>>>>
>>>>> The above item would then only mention put_old (and maybe use clarified
>>>>> wording on whether actually a different file system is necessary for
>>>>> put_old or whether a different mount point is enough).
>>>>
>>>> Thanks. That's a good suggestion. I simplified the earlier bullet
>>>> point as you suggested, and changed the text here to say:
>>>>
>>>> - new_root must be a mount point, but can't be "/". If it is not
>>>> otherwise a mount point, it suffices to bind mount new_root on
>>>> top of itself. (new_root can be a bind mounted directory on
>>>> the current root filesystem.)
>>>
>>> How about:
>>> - new_root must be the path to a mount, but can't be "/". Any
>>
>> Surely here it must be "mount point" not "mount"? (See my discussion
>> above.)
>
> Sigh. I have had my head in the code to long, where new_root is
> used to refer to the mount that is mounted on that mount point as well.

Okay -- so I made the text here:

- new_root must be a path to a mount point, but can't be "/". A
path that is not already a mount point can be converted into
one by bind mounting the path onto itself.

Okay?

[...]

Thanks, Eric. As always, your input for the man pages is so
valuable. (My only challenge is to keep up with you...)

Cheers,

Michael

--
Michael Kerrisk
Linux man-pages maintainer; http://www.kernel.org/doc/man-pages/
Linux/UNIX System Programming Training: http://man7.org/training/

\
 
 \ /
  Last update: 2019-10-09 23:03    [W:0.052 / U:11.972 seconds]
©2003-2018 Jasper Spaans|hosted at Digital Ocean and TransIP|Read the blog|Advertise on this site