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Re: c-stack: use libsigsegv when possible

From: Bruno Haible
Subject: Re: c-stack: use libsigsegv when possible
Date: Thu, 17 Jul 2008 03:29:22 +0200
User-agent: KMail/1.5.4

Hi Eric,

Thanks for this patch.

> When compiling for platforms like Solaris where c-stack has determined
> HAVE_XSI_STACK_OVERFLOW_HEURISTIC, the use of libsigsegv just bloats the
> application, since c-stack was already sufficient.


> Should I also add lib-ignore to the
> dependencies of c-stack, so that Solaris need not waste space if
> libsigsegv is not used independently of c-stack?

Please not. lib-ignore causes a whole lot of warnings to be output each time
a program is linked, on many platforms.

If you want to save linking with libsigsegv, just do the test
time rather than at compile-time, create two new variables LIBCSTACK and
LTLIBCSTACK, AC_SUBST them, and document in modudes/c-stack that the
appropriate of these two variables needs to be used while linking.

> In writing the patch, I noticed that it is probably not portable to
> longjmp out of a stack overflow handler

This is not an issue with the current uses of c-stack, which just print
a message and call _exit in the handler.

In general, longjmping out of a stack overflow handler can be done
provided that you call sigsegv_leave_handler() before. This is a function
from libsigsegv that does the necessary magic. It has been tested in GNU clisp:
when the user types Ctrl-C and then 'abort' to get to the top-level interactive
prompt, this code is exercised.

> the stack overflow might have occurred
> in the middle of a library function like malloc; even though you can
> manage to get back to the original stack, you no longer have guarantees
> that malloc will work.  So, we either need to document this in the
> contract of c_stack_action

Yes, this must be documented. There's nothing you can do about it.

> or we need to add a function in c-stack.h that
> the user must call before attempting longjmp anyway; this wrapper would be
> responsible for calling libsigsegv's sigsegv_leave_handler as needed.

There's a misunderstanding here: sigsegv_leave_handler() does only ensure
that the thread - viewed from the kernel's point of view - is in a reasonable
state; it does *not* repair any interrupted stateful library function like
malloc. (In GNU clisp this is not a problem in practice, because malloc
is rarely called.)

Another thing: Could you please add a comment summarizing our discussions from
2008-06-06, namely explaining why - although Linux and Solaris both have
a working sigaltstack(), SIGINFO, and si_addr -
HAVE_XSI_STACK_OVERFLOW_HEURISTIC is only defined on Solaris and not on


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