RFR(s): 8148425: strerror() function is not thread-safe

Thomas Stüfe thomas.stuefe at gmail.com
Mon Feb 29 17:23:56 UTC 2016

Hi David,

On Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 4:44 AM, David Holmes <david.holmes at oracle.com>

> Hi Thomas,
> On 27/02/2016 2:05 AM, Thomas Stüfe wrote:
>> Hi,
>> please take a look at this proposed fix:
>> Bug: https://bugs.openjdk.java.net/browse/JDK-8148425
>> Webrev:
>> http://cr.openjdk.java.net/~stuefe/webrevs/8141425-strerror-replacement/webrev.00/webrev/
>> This adds a replacement function os::strerror() as a drop-in for
>> strerror(), which has a number of issues.
>> strerror() is unsafe to use and may cause (and has caused) crashes in
>> multithreaded scenarios. It is also not ideal for log files because of the
>> implicit localization of the error messages.
>> For details please see the discussion under the bug report.
> I just came across strerror_l, which is required to be thread-safe. Is
> that a possible alternative? (I'm not sure how locale's are obtained).
Sorry, I think this API is glibc only. At least I cannot find this in our
AIX headers, nor on Solaris.

> Otherwise what you have seems okay - though I do dislike having to
> duplicate all that details already buried in the system headers/library.
> Not sure we need to the long text at the VM level - which would simplify
> things a bit.
I agree, I dislike this too. Like everyone else in this thread. But I think
this is a pragmatic solution.

I am a bit stuck here - should we really get rid of the long text feature?
There are some callsites of strerror() in the hotspot where arguably the
long text is better suited:
- in assert_status() (see debug.hpp) - this ends up in the header of error
files, if this suddenly changes to a literalized errno, people may be upset
- when failing to write a heap dump file - see services/heapDumper.cpp.
Which ends as printout on the command line, I think.

The safe option would be to provide both variants (short and long text).
Or, provide the safe, short variant for all logging calls - when "EINVAL"
is enough, and let users continue to use strerror() for those few cases
where the long text is needed.

What do you think?

Thanks, Thomas

> Thanks,
> David
> Please note that I did not yet change any call sites, although all call
>> sites in the os namespace should already use the new function. I wanted to
>> see whether there would be any general objections.
>> Kind Regards, Thomas

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