Re: sigaltstack() + siglongjmp() breakage

From: David Mosberger <>
Date: 2004-09-16 04:56:16
Just to close on this issue: the glibc maintainers are of the opinion
that programs must not use sig/longjmp() to cross stacks, not even
from the alternate signal stack to the normal stack.  Thus, the
current sig/longjmp() implementation remains unchanged.

Of course, despite this "mandate" of not using longjmp() to cross
stacks, the NPTL thread-library did precisely that.  To fix NPTL, it
now implements its own version of longjmp() which knows how to safely
cross from the alternate signal stack to the normal signal stack.

What does it all mean:

 - No change to current longjmp()/siglongjmp().  In particular, there
   is no performance impact.

 - The glibc in the CVS tree has been fixed so pthread_cancel() is
   safe to use with NPTL.

I didn't get any feedback on the original bug-report from this list,
so I take it that nobody is likely to be affected by this issue anyhow
and the current solution is hopefully sufficient for everybody.



>>>>> On Mon, 23 Aug 2004 10:31:56 -0700, David Mosberger <> said:

  >> Back in Feb 2002, we changed the kernel to spill the dirty
  >> partition of the register stack onto the alternate signal stack
  >> rather than spilling it onto the old stack.  This inadvertently
  >> broke siglongjmp().  As a result, if you do a siglongjmp() out of
  >> a signal handler which uses the alternate signal stack, it's
  >> possible (and often likely) that the contents of register-backing
  >> store will be trashed.

  >> Apparently, this isn't something that tons of programs do as
  >> nobody seems to have complained so far.  I only discovered it
  >> when tracking down a test-case failure in libc which only showed
  >> with libunwind; GCC's built-in unwinder masks the bug for
  >> unrelated reasons.

  >> Fixing this problem is of course very important but since it's
  >> rather fundamental stuff, I'll need to test it carefully before
  >> posting a patch.  For now, I just wanted to give a heads up in
  >> case somebody is seeing failures in programs that use alternate
  >> signal stacks and siglongjmp().

  >> If you need a quick workaround, you could consider using the
  >> setjmp/longjmp implementation that comes with libunwind [1] (it's
  >> in library libunwind-setjmp).  This implementation doesn't suffer
  >> from the problem described above, but, on the flip-side, you need
  >> fairly current libraries and compilers to be sure that the
  >> unwind-info is correct.  Without correct unwind-info, the
  >> libunwind implementation of setjmp/longjmp would fail, of course.
  >> Also, another thing to consider is that with the libunwind-based
  >> implementation, setjmp() will be extremely fast (just needs to
  >> store 3 words), but longjmp() will be much slower (since the
  >> stack needs to be unwound).

  >> 	--david

  >> [1]
  >> _______________________________________________ ia64_rd mailing
  >> list
To unsubscribe from this list: send the line "unsubscribe linux-ia64" in
the body of a message to
More majordomo info at
Received on Wed Sep 15 14:58:01 2004

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : 2005-08-02 09:20:30 EST