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SubjectRe: [RFC v2] ptrace, pidfd: add pidfd_ptrace syscall
On Mon, Apr 27, 2020 at 5:46 PM Aleksa Sarai <> wrote:
> I agree. It would be a shame to add a new ptrace syscall and not take
> the opportunity to fix the multitude of problems with the existing API.
> But that's a Pandora's box which we shouldn't open unless we want to
> wait a long time to get an API everyone is okay with -- a pretty high
> price to just get pidfds support in ptrace.

We should really be very very careful with some "smarter ptrace".
We've had _so_ many security issues with ptrace that it's not even

And that's ignoring all the practical issues we've had.

I would definitely not want to have anything that looks like ptrace AT
ALL using pidfd. If we have a file descriptor to specify the target
process, then we should probably take advantage of that file
descriptor to actually make it more of a asynchronous interface that
doesn't cause the kinds of deadlocks that we've had with ptrace.

The synchronous nature of ptrace() means that not only do we have
those nasty deadlocks, it's also very very expensive to use. It also
has some other fundamental problems, like the whole "take over parent"
and the SIGCHLD behavior.

It also is hard to ptrace a ptracer. Which is annoying when you're
debugging gdb or strace or whatever.

So I think the thing to do is ask the gdb (and strace) people if they
have any _very_ particular painpoints that we could perhaps help with.

And then very carefully think things through and not repeat all the
mistakes ptrace did.

I'm not very optimistic.


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