RFR: 8170307: Stack size option -Xss is ignored

Thomas Stüfe thomas.stuefe at gmail.com
Tue Nov 29 13:43:53 UTC 2016

Hi David,

On Tue, Nov 29, 2016 at 12:59 PM, David Holmes <david.holmes at oracle.com>

> Hi Thomas,
> On 29/11/2016 8:39 PM, Thomas Stüfe wrote:
>> Hi David,
>> thanks for the good explanation. Change looks good, I really like the
>> comment in capture_initial_stack().
>> Question, with -Xss given and being smaller than current thread stack
>> size, guard pages may appear in the middle of the invoking thread stack?
>> I always thought this is a bit dangerous. If your model is to have the
>> VM created from the main thread, which then goes off to do different
>> things, and have other threads then attach and run java code, main
>> thread later may crash in unrelated native code just because it reached
>> the stack depth of the hava threads? Or am I misunderstanding something?
> There is no change to the general behaviour other than allowing a
> primordial process thread that launches the VM, to now not have an
> effective stack limited at 2MB. The current logic will insert guard pages
> where ever -Xss states (as long as less than 2MB else 2MB), while with the
> fix the guard pages will be inserted above 2MB - as dictated by -Xss.
Thank you for this answer. I know my question was outside the scope of your


> David
> -----
> Thanks, Thomas
>> On Fri, Nov 25, 2016 at 11:38 AM, David Holmes <david.holmes at oracle.com
>> <mailto:david.holmes at oracle.com>> wrote:
>>     Bug: https://bugs.openjdk.java.net/browse/JDK-8170307
>>     <https://bugs.openjdk.java.net/browse/JDK-8170307>
>>     The bug is not public unfortunately for non-technical reasons - but
>>     see my eval below.
>>     Background: if you load the JVM from the primordial thread of a
>>     process (not done by the java launcher since JDK 6), there is an
>>     artificial stack limit imposed on the initial thread (by sticking
>>     the guard page at the limit position of the actual stack) of the
>>     minimum of the -Xss setting and 2M. So if you set -Xss to > 2M it is
>>     ignored for the main thread even if the true stack is, say, 8M. This
>>     limitation dates back 10-15 years and is no longer relevant today
>>     and should be removed (see below). I've also added additional
>>     explanatory notes.
>>     webrev: http://cr.openjdk.java.net/~dholmes/8170307/webrev/
>>     <http://cr.openjdk.java.net/~dholmes/8170307/webrev/>
>>     Testing was manually done by modifying the launcher to not run the
>>     VM in a new thread, and checking the resulting stack size used.
>>     This change will only affect hosted JVMs launched with a -Xss value
>>     > 2M.
>>     Thanks,
>>     David
>>     -----
>>     Bug eval:
>>     JDK-4441425 limits the stack to 8M as a safeguard against an
>>     unlimited value from getrlimit in 1.3.1, but further constrained
>>     that to 2M in 1.4.0 due to JDK-4466587.
>>     By 1.4.2 we have the basic form of the current problematic code:
>>     #ifndef IA64
>>       if (rlim.rlim_cur > 2 * K * K) rlim.rlim_cur = 2 * K * K;
>>     #else
>>       // Problem still exists RH7.2 (IA64 anyway) but 2MB is a little
>> small
>>       if (rlim.rlim_cur > 4 * K * K) rlim.rlim_cur = 4 * K * K;
>>     #endif
>>       _initial_thread_stack_size = rlim.rlim_cur & ~(page_size() - 1);
>>       if (max_size && _initial_thread_stack_size > max_size) {
>>          _initial_thread_stack_size = max_size;
>>       }
>>     This was added by JDK-4678676 to allow the stack of the main thread
>>     to be _reduced_ below the default 2M/4M if the -Xss value was
>>     smaller than that.** There was no intent to allow the stack size to
>>     follow -Xss arbitrarily due to the operational constraints imposed
>>     by the OS/glibc at the time when dealing with the primordial process
>>     thread.
>>     ** It could not actually change the actual stack size of course, but
>>     set the guard pages to limit use to the expected stack size.
>>     In JDK 6, under JDK-6316197, the launcher was changed to create the
>>     JVM in a new thread, so that it was not limited by the
>>     idiosyncracies of the OS or thread library primordial thread
>>     handling. However, the stack size limitations remained in place in
>>     case the VM was launched from the primordial thread of a user
>>     application via the JNI invocation API.
>>     I believe it should be safe to remove the 2M limitation now.

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