Question about stack overflows in native code

Thomas Stüfe thomas.stuefe at
Mon Apr 3 18:42:42 UTC 2017

Hi Fred,

thanks! Some more questions inline.

On Mon, Apr 3, 2017 at 8:29 PM, Frederic Parain <frederic.parain at>

> When the yellow zone is hit and the thread state is not in
> _thread_in_java (which means thread state is _thread_in_native or
> _thread_in_vm), the yellow zone is silently disabled and the thread
> is allowed to resume its execution.
Disabled by whom exactly?

Normally, this would be done in the signal handler, but that requires
enough stack space to run. AFAIK jitted or interpreted code does stack
banging in order to trigger the yellow-page-segfault at a point where there
are enough pages left on the stack to invoke the signal handler (n shadow
pages before), but that is not guaranteed to work with native C-compiled
code, no?

(not just a theory, we have a test case here where a stack overflow in
native code just silently kills the process.)

I guess it may work accidentally if the C-compiled code itself does some
form of stack banging when establishing frames, in order to detect OS stack
overflows? Very fuzzy here. But whatever the C-compiled code does, it has
no notion about how much space we need to invoke the signal handler and
handle stack overflows, no?

When the red zone is hit, what ever the current thread state is,
> the red zone is disabled and VMError::report_and_die() is called,
> which should generate a hs_err file unless the generation of the
> error file requires more memory than the red zone provides.
> Fred
Thanks, Thomas

> On 04/03/2017 02:08 PM, Thomas Stüfe wrote:
>> Hi,
>> Today we wondered what would happen when a stack overflow occurs in native
>> code running in a java thread (an attached thread or one created by the
>> VM).
>> In that case yellow and red pages are in place, but this would not help
>> much, would it not, because the native code would not do any stack
>> banging?
>> So, native code would hit the yellow page, and then there would probably
>> not be enough space left on the stack to invoke the signal handler. The
>> result would be immediate VM death - not even an hs-err file - is that
>> correct?
>> Also, we would hit the our own yellow page, not the guard page the OS may
>> or may not have established, so - on UNIX - this would show up as
>> "Segmentation Fault", not "Stack Overflow", or?
>> Thank you,
>> Thomas

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