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Subject[RFC PATCH] fs: Make splice() and tee() take into account O_NONBLOCK flag on pipes
The current implementation of splice() and tee() ignores O_NONBLOCK set on pipe
file descriptors and checks only the SPLICE_F_NONBLOCK flag for blocking on pipe
arguments. This is inconsistent since splice()-ing from/to non-pipe file
descriptors does take O_NONBLOCK into consideration.

Fix this by promoting O_NONBLOCK, when set on a pipe, to SPLICE_F_NONBLOCK.

Some context for how the current implementation of splice() leads to
inconsistent behavior. In the ongoing work[1] to add VM tracing capability to
trace-cmd we stream tracing data over named FIFOs or vsockets from guests back
to the host.

When we receive SIGINT from user to stop tracing, we set O_NONBLOCK on the input
file descriptor and set SPLICE_F_NONBLOCK for the next call to splice(). If
splice() was blocked waiting on data from the input FIFO, after SIGINT splice()
restarts with the same arguments (no SPLICE_F_NONBLOCK) and blocks again instead
of returning -EAGAIN when no data is available.

This differs from the splice() behavior when reading from a vsocket or when
we're doing a traditional read()/write() loop (trace-cmd's --nosplice argument).

With this patch applied we get the same behavior in all situations after setting
O_NONBLOCK which also matches the behavior of doing a read()/write() loop
instead of splice().

This change does have potential of breaking users who don't expect EAGAIN from
splice() when SPLICE_F_NONBLOCK is not set. OTOH programs that set O_NONBLOCK
and don't anticipate EAGAIN are arguably buggy[2].


Signed-off-by: Slavomir Kaslev <>
fs/splice.c | 12 ++++++++++++
1 file changed, 12 insertions(+)

diff --git a/fs/splice.c b/fs/splice.c
index de2ede048473..6a1761b74f8d 100644
--- a/fs/splice.c
+++ b/fs/splice.c
@@ -1123,6 +1123,9 @@ static long do_splice(struct file *in, loff_t __user *off_in,
if (ipipe == opipe)
return -EINVAL;

+ if ((in->f_flags | out->f_flags) & O_NONBLOCK)
return splice_pipe_to_pipe(ipipe, opipe, len, flags);

@@ -1148,6 +1151,9 @@ static long do_splice(struct file *in, loff_t __user *off_in,
if (unlikely(ret < 0))
return ret;

+ if (in->f_flags & O_NONBLOCK)
ret = do_splice_from(ipipe, out, &offset, len, flags);
@@ -1172,6 +1178,9 @@ static long do_splice(struct file *in, loff_t __user *off_in,
offset = in->f_pos;

+ if (out->f_flags & O_NONBLOCK)
ret = wait_for_space(opipe, flags);
if (!ret)
@@ -1717,6 +1726,9 @@ static long do_tee(struct file *in, struct file *out, size_t len,
* copying the data.
if (ipipe && opipe && ipipe != opipe) {
+ if ((in->f_flags | out->f_flags) & O_NONBLOCK)
* Keep going, unless we encounter an error. The ipipe/opipe
* ordering doesn't really matter.
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