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Kernel News

Article from Issue 276/2023

In Kernel News: Removing the Thorn and What Do You Do When There's Nothing to Do?

Removing the Thorn

Sometimes in Linux kernel development, the best thing to come out of a discussion thread is an update to the documentation.

David Howells recently reported a problem that had been found by Matt Whitlock. Kernel code using the splice() system call to pipe data from a file into a running process could potentially see some data corruption. The splice() call could return successfully while the data it sent into the pipe could potentially be modified by another system call before the target process could finish reading from that pipe.

To fix this problem, David posted a patch that changed the data's owner before sending it into the pipe. That way, nothing would be able to modify that data. In the kernel, changing owners of RAM pages to protect them this way is called "stealing."


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