path: root/util-linux/switch_root.c
diff options
authorGravatar Denys Vlasenko <vda.linux@googlemail.com>2009-06-17 14:03:24 +0200
committerGravatar Denys Vlasenko <vda.linux@googlemail.com>2009-06-17 14:03:24 +0200
commita5bdbe10877e2e53aaba051eddfd5d47520657f5 (patch)
treece640a507e7afacb7c87adf103023a9cc1c696c4 /util-linux/switch_root.c
parentdc36a72ac0c1af3d973cd36849e6cac5cb7aa514 (diff)
switch_root: allow /init to be a symlink; add doc (thanks Rob!)
Signed-off-by: Denys Vlasenko <vda.linux@googlemail.com>
Diffstat (limited to 'util-linux/switch_root.c')
1 files changed, 93 insertions, 4 deletions
diff --git a/util-linux/switch_root.c b/util-linux/switch_root.c
index b3b3bf7e6..0f00b605a 100644
--- a/util-linux/switch_root.c
+++ b/util-linux/switch_root.c
@@ -10,15 +10,15 @@
// Make up for header deficiencies
-#define RAMFS_MAGIC ((unsigned)0x858458f6)
+# define RAMFS_MAGIC ((unsigned)0x858458f6)
-#define TMPFS_MAGIC ((unsigned)0x01021994)
+# define TMPFS_MAGIC ((unsigned)0x01021994)
#ifndef MS_MOVE
-#define MS_MOVE 8192
+# define MS_MOVE 8192
// Recursively delete contents of rootfs
@@ -88,7 +88,7 @@ int switch_root_main(int argc UNUSED_PARAM, char **argv)
// we mean it. I could make this a CONFIG option, but I would get email
// from all the people who WILL destroy their filesystems.
statfs("/", &stfs); // this never fails
- if (lstat("/init", &st) != 0 || !S_ISREG(st.st_mode)
+ if (stat("/init", &st) != 0 || !S_ISREG(st.st_mode)
|| ((unsigned)stfs.f_type != RAMFS_MAGIC
&& (unsigned)stfs.f_type != TMPFS_MAGIC)
) {
@@ -119,3 +119,92 @@ int switch_root_main(int argc UNUSED_PARAM, char **argv)
execv(argv[0], argv);
bb_perror_msg_and_die("can't execute '%s'", argv[0]);
+From: Rob Landley <rob@landley.net>
+Date: Tue, Jun 16, 2009 at 7:47 PM
+Subject: Re: switch_root...
+If you're _not_ running out of init_ramfs (if for example you're using initrd
+instead), you probably shouldn't use switch_root because it's the wrong tool.
+Basically what the sucker does is something like the following shell script:
+ find / -xdev | xargs rm -rf
+ cd "$1"
+ shift
+ mount --move . /
+ exec chroot . "$@"
+There are a couple reasons that won't work as a shell script:
+1) If you delete the commands out of your $PATH, your shell scripts can't run
+more commands, but you can't start using dynamically linked _new_ commands
+until after you do the chroot because the path to the dynamic linker is wrong.
+So there's a step that needs to be sort of atomic but can't be as a shell
+script. (You can work around this with static linking or very carefully laid
+out paths and sequencing, but it's brittle, ugly, and non-obvious.)
+2) The "find | rm" bit will acually delete everything because the mount points
+still show up (even if their contents don't), and rm -rf will then happily zap
+that. So the first line is an oversimplification of what you need to do _not_
+to descend into other filesystems and delete their contents.
+The reason we do this is to free up memory, by the way. Since initramfs is a
+ramfs, deleting its contents frees up the memory it uses. (We leave it with
+one remaining dentry for the new mount point, but that's ok.)
+Note that you cannot ever umount rootfs, for approximately the same reason you
+can't kill PID 1. The kernel tracks mount points as a doubly linked list, and
+the pointer to the start/end of that list always points to an entry that's
+known to be there (rootfs), so it never has to worry about moving that pointer
+and it never has to worry about the list being empty. (Back around 2.6.13
+there _was_ a bug that let you umount rootfs, and the system locked hard the
+instant you did so endlessly looping to find the end of the mount list and
+never stopping. They fixed it.)
+Oh, and the reason we mount --move _and_ do the chroot is due to the way "/"
+works. Each process has two special symlinks, ".", and "/". Each of them
+points to the dentry of a directory, and give you a location paths can start
+from. (Historically ".." was also special, because you could enter a
+directory via a symlink so backing out to the directory you came from doesn't
+necessarily mean the one physically above where "." points to. These days I
+think it's just handed off to the filesystem.)
+Anyway, path resolution starts with "." or "/" (although the "./" at the start
+of the path may be implicit), meaning it's relative to one of those two
+directories. Your current directory, and your current root directory. The
+chdir() syscall changes where "." points to, and the chroot() syscall changes
+where "/" points to. (Again, both are per-process which is why chroot only
+affects your current process and its child processes.)
+Note that chroot() does _not_ change where "." points to, and back before they
+put crazy security checks into the kernel your current directory could be
+somewhere you could no longer access after the chroot. (The command line
+chroot does a cd as well, the chroot _syscall_ is what I'm talking about.)
+The reason mounting something new over / has no obvious effect is the same
+reason mounting something over your current directory has no obvious effect:
+the . and / links aren't recalculated after a mount, so they still point to
+the same dentry they did before, even if that dentry is no longer accessible
+by other means. Note that "cd ." is a NOP, and "chroot /" is a nop; both look
+up the cached dentry and set it right back. They don't re-parse any paths,
+because they're what all paths your process uses would be relative to.
+That's why the careful sequencing above: we cd into the new mount point before
+we do the mount --move. Moving the mount point would otherwise make it
+totally inaccessible to is because cd-ing to the old path wouldn't give it to
+us anymore, and cd "/" just gives us the cached dentry from when the process
+was created (in this case the old initramfs one). But the "." symlink gives
+us the dentry of the filesystem we just moved, so we can then "chroot ." to
+copy that dentry to "/" and get the new filesystem. If we _didn't_ save that
+dentry in "." we couldn't get it back after the mount --move.
+(Yes, this is all screwy and I had to email questions to Linus Torvalds to get
+it straight myself. I keep meaning to write up a "how mount actually works"
+document someday...)