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[bug#30637] [WIP] shepherd: Poll every 0.5s to find dead forked services

From: Ludovic Courtès
Subject: [bug#30637] [WIP] shepherd: Poll every 0.5s to find dead forked services
Date: Fri, 02 Mar 2018 10:44:12 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/25.3 (gnu/linux)

Hi Carlo,

Carlo Zancanaro <address@hidden> skribis:

> On Wed, Feb 28 2018, Ludovic Courtès wrote:
>>> The problem is that shepherd, when run as a user process, can
>>> "lose"
>>> services which fork away. Shepherd can still kill them, but a
>>> won't be delivered if they die, so shepherd can't restart/disable
>>> them. My prime example is emacs, which I run with --daemon. If I
>>> then
>>> kill emacs, shepherd will still think that it is running.
>> There are two issues here, I think.
>>   1. shepherd cannot lose SIGCHLD: if a process dies immediately
>> once
>>      it’s been spawned, as is the case with “emacs --daemon” or
>> any
>>      other daemon-style program, it should receive SIGCHLD and
>> process
>>      it.
> Yeah, that's true, but the problem is that shepherd only processes the
> SIGCHLD if there is a service with its `running` slot set to the
> pid.

Well, it does call ‘waitpid’ every time it gets a SIGCHLD, but it’s true
that it doesn’t do anything beyond that if it doesn’t know what service
a PID corresponds to.

> When emacs forks, the original process may have its SIGCHLD handled,
> but that doesn't affect shepherd's service state (as it shouldn't,
> because it's using #:pid-file to track the forked process).
>>   2. shepherd currently can’t do much with real daemons.  So   what
>> we do
>>      in GuixSD is to either start programs in non-daemon mode,
>> when
>>      that’s an option, or pass #:pid-file to retrieve the forked
>> process
>>      PID.  I think you should do one of these as well.
> I am doing that. The problem is that when a service dies (crashes,
> quits, etc.) the `respawn?` option cannot be honoured because shepherd
> is not notified that the process has terminated (because it never
> receives a SIGCHLD for the forked pid). My patch polls for the
> processes we expect, to make up for the lack of notification.

I see.

Actually, thinking more about it, we should be using
PR_SET_CHILD_SUBREAPER from prctl(2), which is designed exactly for

So what about this plan:

  1. Add FFI bindings in (shepherd system) for prctl(2).  We should
     arrange for it to throw to 'system-error when the ‘prctl’ symbol is
     missing, as is the case on GNU/Hurd.

  2. Use prctl/PR_SET_CHILD_SUBREAPER in ‘exec-command’.  Here we must
     ‘catch-system-error’ around that call to cater to GNU/Hurd.

That would address the main issue without having to resort to polling.
Respawning will work only when #:pid-file is used though, but that’s
already an improvement.



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