mmap(2) segaults with certain len values and MAP_ANON|MAP_FIXED

John Baldwin jhb at
Wed Oct 21 17:51:16 UTC 2009

On Wednesday 21 October 2009 11:30:51 am Alexander Best wrote:
> Robert Watson schrieb am 2009-10-21:
> > On Wed, 21 Oct 2009, Alexander Best wrote:
> > >this code serves only one purpose: to trigger a segfault. i don't
> > >use the code for any other purpose. i was under the impression that
> > >mmap() should either succeed or fail (tertium non datur). mmap's
> > >manual doesn't say anything about mmap() causing segfaults.
> > Have you tried ktracing the application?  I think you'll find that
> > mmap(2) system call succeeded fine, and that the segfault comes from
> > attempting to execute the address in libc on return to userspace, as
> > a result of libc not being at that address anymore (since you
> > removed its mapping).  You can use procstat -v to inspect address
> > space use by processes, but as a general rule you don't want to pass
> > anything other than an address of 0x0 to mmap(2) unless you're very
> > carefully managing the address space of the process.  Many userspace
> > libraries are involved in using that address space, but especially
> > the runtime linker which begins execution in userspace when a binary
> > is started.
> > Robert N M Watson
> > Computer Laboratory
> > University of Cambridge
> you're right. this kdump shows that the segfault isn't being caused by the
> mmap() call:
>  88343 mmap_test CALL
>  mmap(0x1000,0x80047000,PROT_NONE,MAP_FIXED|MAP_ANON,0xffffffff,0,0)
>  88343 mmap_test RET   mmap 4096/0x1000
>  88343 mmap_test PSIG  SIGSEGV SIG_DFL
>  88343 mmap_test NAMI  "mmap_test.core"
> thanks for clearing things up.
> however i stil think mentioning this situation in the mmap(2) manual (maybe in
> section MAP_FIXED) would be a good idea.

I'm not sure it is useful to attempt to enumerate all the possible ways one
can shoot one's own foot using mmap(2) in the manual page.  The list would be
quite long and would require a large amount of imagination.  In effect, you
are asking for a manual page to document all the possible bugs one could have
and manual pages in general do not do that.

John Baldwin

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