lists  /  announce  owl-users  owl-dev  john-users  john-dev  passwdqc-users  yescrypt  popa3d-users  /  oss-security  kernel-hardening  musl  sabotage  tlsify  passwords  /  crypt-dev  xvendor  /  Bugtraq  Full-Disclosure  linux-kernel  linux-netdev  linux-ext4  linux-hardening  PHC 
Open Source and information security mailing list archives
Hash Suite for Android: free password hash cracker in your pocket
[<prev] [next>] [<thread-prev] [thread-next>] [day] [month] [year] [list]
Date:	Thu, 17 Jul 2014 11:19:15 -0500
From:	Alex Elder <>
To:	Petr Mládek <>
Subject: Re: [PATCH 1/4] printk: LOG_CONT and LOG_NEWLINE are separate

On 07/17/2014 09:46 AM, Petr Mládek wrote:
> On Thu 2014-07-17 07:11:39, Alex Elder wrote:
>> On 07/17/2014 03:39 AM, Petr Mládek wrote:
>>> On Wed 2014-07-16 12:26:57, Alex Elder wrote:
>>>> Two log record flags--LOG_CONT and LOG_NEWLINE--are never both set
>>>> at the same time in a log record flags field.  What follows is a
>>>> great deal of explanation that aims to prove this assertion.
>> Thank you so much for reviewing these patches.
>> Your confirmation of the fact that LOG_CONT and LOG_NEWLINE
>> should not go together is very valuable to me.  I have a set
>> of follow-on patches that rely on this, and I didn't want to
>> go ahead with proposing them until I knew this was right.
> To be honest. My statement was based on a common sense. I simply
> cannot imagine situatiuon when a text ends with "\n" and is continuous
> at the same time. IMHO, it is against any logic.

Well, I thought so too, but it was hard to see that by
just looking at the code.

> IMHO, it would make sense to have only one flag, either LOG_NEWLINE or
> LOG_CONT. Well, I am not sure if we could remove it easily. AFAIK, the
> ring buffer is read also by external tools, e.g. crash.

The single flag is coming.  I have that done, but I didn't want
to send that patch (and others) until I get past this little group.

I have been concerned about the effects on other things but the
comments insist the log structure is kernel private. :)

I took a very quick look at crash-7.0.7 and see dump_log_entry(),
which seems to dump the contents of a log record but does not
interpret any of the flags.

This is a really important point, so if anybody knows of other
utilities outside the kernel that interpret the log record flags
I'd like to know about it.

> Some more experienced kernel developer should answer this.

>> I have some responses to your feedback below.
>>> It makes perfect sense. If you found a situation where both flags were
>>> set together, it would mean a bug. If a record ends with new line, it
>>> is not continuous and vice versa.
>> At an abstract level this makes sense to me too, but the code
>> is written to handle many combinations of flags that simply will
>> never happen.  It obscures what's going on, or is supposed to be
>> going on.  So to the reader, this appears much more complicated than
>> it really is.
> Yes, the code is too complicated and deserve simplification.
>>> [...]
>>>> Signed-off-by: Alex Elder <>
>>>> ---
>>>>  kernel/printk/printk.c | 12 +++++-------
>>>>  1 file changed, 5 insertions(+), 7 deletions(-)
>>>> diff --git a/kernel/printk/printk.c b/kernel/printk/printk.c
>>>> index 13e839d..301ade3 100644
>>>> --- a/kernel/printk/printk.c
>>>> +++ b/kernel/printk/printk.c
>>>> @@ -1006,11 +1006,9 @@ static size_t msg_print_text(const struct printk_log *msg, enum log_flags prev,
>>>>  		prefix = false;
>>>>  	if (msg->flags & LOG_CONT) {
>>>> -		if ((prev & LOG_CONT) && !(prev & LOG_NEWLINE))
>>>> +		if (prev & LOG_CONT)
>>>>  			prefix = false;
>>>> -
>>>> -		if (!(msg->flags & LOG_NEWLINE))
>>>> -			newline = false;
>>>> +		newline = false;
>>>>  	}
>>> Makes sense. I like it.
>>>>  	do {
>>>> @@ -1642,7 +1640,7 @@ asmlinkage int vprintk_emit(int facility, int level,
>>>>  	/* mark and strip a trailing newline */
>>>>  	if (text_len && text[text_len-1] == '\n') {
>>>>  		text_len--;
>>>> -		lflags |= LOG_NEWLINE;
>>>> +		lflags = LOG_NEWLINE;
>>>>  	}
>>>>  	/* strip kernel syslog prefix and extract log level or control flags */
>>>> @@ -1672,7 +1670,7 @@ asmlinkage int vprintk_emit(int facility, int level,
>>>>  		level = default_message_loglevel;
>>>>  	if (dict)
>>>> -		lflags |= LOG_PREFIX|LOG_NEWLINE;
>>>> +		lflags = LOG_PREFIX|LOG_NEWLINE;
>>>>  	if (!(lflags & LOG_NEWLINE)) {
>>>>  		/*
>>>> @@ -1688,7 +1686,7 @@ asmlinkage int vprintk_emit(int facility, int level,
>>>>  		else
>>>>  			printed_len += log_store(facility, level,
>>>>  						 lflags | LOG_CONT, 0,
>>>> -						 dict, dictlen, text, text_len);
>>>> +						 NULL, 0, text, text_len);
>>>>  	} else {
>>>>  		bool stored = false;
>>> I am not sure that I like the last three changes. The logic is
>>> correct. But I think that these micro-optimizations makes the code less
>>> readable and prone to errors with reordering and other changes.
>> It is not an optimization.  I don't care about that.
>> It is replacing a variable with a constant, because I
>> know by static analysis that the variable will always
>> have constant value.  This makes it completely obvious
>> that "dict" will *never* be NULL in this case, and as
>> above, makes it more obvious what's happening.
>> (You'll see in my follow-on series that I rely on the
>> assignment rather than |= in order to do some refactoring.)
> As I said, I do not have strong opinion here. It might be interesting
> to see the whole serie to get better picture.

You'll see it.  Once I feel like this initial series is
close to acceptable (or accepted) I'll be posting the
others soon afterward.  I'd love to get it out this week.

>> If someone chooses to reorder the code in a way that
>> makes |= necessary (for example) will put that back
>> again, because not doing so would introduce a bug.
>>> The original code does not harm. The new code is less obvious and will
>>> force many people to think why it is correct. Even you might be in
>>> doubts if you see it after few months :-)
>> Actually I think it's the opposite.
>>> Well, I do not have strong opinion here. Other people might see it
>>> different. Forcing people to think is not a bad idea after all :-)
>> I may be naive, but I think it's a requirement if you're going
>> to change code.
> But it is easier when the code is readable and there are as few
> surprises as possible. Also you never could have everything in your
> head. The less dependncy is there, the easier is to work with it.
> Regarding the above changes. The origial code used the typical
> pattern. It set default value and then modified different flags according
> to various tests. It did not need to take care much of other flags that
> were not related to the given test.
> If you add lated another flag and more tests, the final forced
> assignent could break things.
> Also the hardcoded NULL is not obvious. If you would want to modify the
> code, you would need to think harder why it is there. IMHO, it does
> not bring any real benefit unless you want to use it for some furher
> optimization. But this is not visible from the patchset.

OK.  I think we disagree but I don't mind putting that "dict"
pointer back.  I find it much easier to deal with constants
than variables--constants are just that, unchanging.  Variables
can take on any value, including, possibly, unexpected ones.

> Please, take this as my personal opinion. I am not maintainer of this
> code and the final decisions will not not be mine. Also I am still
> learning good code patterns.

Given that, I will plan to keep the patch as it is posted
unless someone else weighs in to request the change you

>> Thanks again for the review.  If you're willing after reading my
>> explanations, please offer an ACK or Reviewed-by (or further
>> questions and suggestions).  I'll have responses to your others
>> shortly.
> I would like to see the bigger picture before :-)

OK, the big picture for this is that I have a set of about
5 more patches, which have the end result of eliminating
LOG_CONT and LOG_PREFIX.  The only thing that matters is
LOG_NEWLINE, which indicates the log entry completes a
sequence of one or more.  Most records will have that set;
any that do not will be "continuation" records, which should
be taken along with one or more successor records to make
up a single logical log entry.  There is no need for
LOG_PREFIX, because that is implied by the presence of
LOG_NEWLINE in the previous log entry.  We're already tracking
the previous record state where that's needed.

It's all clear how to get from here to there in the patches.


> Best Regards,
> Petr

To unsubscribe from this list: send the line "unsubscribe linux-kernel" in
the body of a message to
More majordomo info at
Please read the FAQ at

Powered by blists - more mailing lists