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Date:	Sun, 26 Oct 2014 19:32:42 -0400
From:	Sasha Levin <>
To:	David Miller <>
Subject: Re: [PATCH] netlink: don't copy over empty attribute data

On 10/22/2014 02:15 AM, David Miller wrote:
> From: Sasha Levin <>
> Date: Tue, 21 Oct 2014 22:19:36 -0400
>> On 10/21/2014 09:39 PM, David Miller wrote:
>>> From: Sasha Levin <>
>>> Date: Tue, 21 Oct 2014 16:51:09 -0400
>>>>> netlink uses empty data to seperate different levels. However, we still
>>>>> try to copy that data from a NULL ptr using memcpy, which is an undefined
>>>>> behaviour.
>>>>> Signed-off-by: Sasha Levin <>
>>> This isn't a POSIX C library, this it the Linux kernel, and as such
>>> we can make sure none of our memcpy() implementations try to access
>>> any bytes if the given length is NULL.
>> We can make *our* implementations work around that undefined behaviour if we
>> want, but right now our implementations is to call GCC's builtin memcpy(),
>> which follows the standards and doesn't allow you to call it with NULL 'from'
>> ptr.
>> The fact that it doesn't die and behaves properly is just "luck".
> If GCC's internal memcpy() starts accessing past 'len', I'm going
> to report the bug rather than code around it.

How so? GCC states clearly that you should *never* pass a NULL pointer there:

"The pointers passed to memmove (and similar functions in <string.h>) must
be non-null even when nbytes==0" (

Even if it doesn't dereference it, it can break somehow in a subtle way. Leaving
the kernel code assuming that gcc (or any other compiler) would always behave
the same in a situation that shouldn't occur.

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