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bug#17168: 24.3.50; Segfault at mark_object

From: Daniel Colascione
Subject: bug#17168: 24.3.50; Segfault at mark_object
Date: Sun, 06 Apr 2014 10:11:28 -0700
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:24.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/24.4.0

On 04/06/2014 09:59 AM, Eli Zaretskii wrote:
>> Date: Sun, 06 Apr 2014 09:37:23 -0700
>> From: Daniel Colascione <address@hidden>
>> CC: address@hidden, address@hidden, address@hidden
>>> Because Richard has been using that machine for years, and I very much
>>> doubt that he changed his usage patterns lately.
>> Richard's not the only one who has seen this crash. Drew's also reported
>> GC crashes in odd, and different, places.
> Which seem unrelated, and started much later than Richard reported
> his.

With a bug like this, unpredictable, usage-pattern-dependent behavior is

>>>>>>> In http://debbugs.gnu.org/cgi/bugreport.cgi?bug=15583#23, Richard
>>>>>>> provided the last good revno (113938) and the first bad one (114268);
>>>>>>> I looked at that range of revisions, and 114156 looks relevant.  How
>>>>>>> about if we revert it and see if the problems go away?
>>>>>> The bug would still be there, and we'd have no way to tell whether your
>>>>>> proposed change actually reduced its occurrence to a tolerable level.
>>>>>> Why would you want to do that instead of just fixing the bug?
>>>>> Because it's simpler,
>>>> It's easy to make code that's simple and wrong.
>>> I didn't suggest any new code.
>> No: you're just suggesting leaving incorrect code in Emacs.
> It's not incorrect, AFAIU.  It might be less optimal.

The current code isn't just sub-optimal. It's wrong. If you get unlucky
and try to mark a dead symbol, you will crash.

>>>>> and because it just might be that the bug was
>>>>> caused by that other changeset.
>>>> How might that changeset in particular have caused the problem reports?
>>> It is related to calling a function, and is in the same function from
>>> which all the recent crashes started.
>> You haven't identified a causal mechanism. Any recent change could have
>> caused enough of a shift in code generation or stack layout to cause
>> this problem, and because it manifests so seldom, it'd be hard to verify
>> that reverting any particular change "fixed" the problem.
> I thought you had a test case.  If not, how did you verify that your
> suggested changes do fix the problem?

There is a test. Your proposed change does not cause the test to pass.
Even if it did, I would argue against substituting a real fix with your

>> Also, eval_sub does *everything*. It's no surprise that we saw the
>> crashes there. That's like saying "all crashes are associated with main,
>> this change affects main, and therefore this change is responsible."
> The change is related to calling a function whose symbol has certain
> properties.  That sounds related to me, not just a random change
> somewhere in eval_sub.

It's a dangling pointer. Changing slightly the way we chase that
dangling pointer won't change the overall result.

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