[PATCH v2 1/3] pwm: Add pwm_cansleep() as exported API to users

Russell King - ARM Linux linux at arm.linux.org.uk
Mon Jan 28 10:01:14 EST 2013

On Mon, Jan 28, 2013 at 10:36:07AM +0100, Florian Vaussard wrote:
> Hello,
> Le 28/01/2013 09:45, Peter Ujfalusi a écrit :
>> hi Thierry,
>> On 01/26/2013 06:40 AM, Thierry Reding wrote:
>>>> +{
>>>> +	return pwm->chip->can_sleep;
>>>> +}
>>>> +EXPORT_SYMBOL_GPL(pwm_cansleep);
>>> Would it make sense to check for NULL pointers here? I guess that
>>> passing NULL into the function could be considered a programming error
>>> and an oops would be okay, but in that case there's no point in making
>>> the function return an int. Also see my next comment.
>> While it is unlikely to happen it is better to be safe, something like this
>> will do:
>> return pwm ? pwm->chip->can_sleep : 0;
> Ok. And what about:
> BUG_ON(pwm == NULL);
> return pwm->chip->can_sleep;

Let's get something straight.

1. Don't use BUG_ON() as some kind of willy nilly assert() replacement.
   Linus refused to have assert() in the kernel because assert() gets not
   only over-used, but also gets inappropriately used too.

   _Only_ _ever_ use BUG_ON() if continuing is going to cause user
   noticable data loss which is not reportable to userspace.  In other
   words, block device queue corruption or the like - where bringing the
   system down is going to _save_ the system from itself.

   Otherwise, return an error and/or use WARN_ON().

2. If you want a slow kernel, then by all means check your arguments to
   your functions.  While you're at it, why not check that strings which
   are passed contain only the characters you expect them to?  And, if
   you're bothering to check against a NULL pointer, what about NULL+1
   pointers which are also invalid?  Why not invent some function to
   ensure that the pointer is a valid kernel pointer.  Maybe you'll have
   to interate the vmalloc lists too - yay, more code to be executed!
   That must be good!

In your example, if you're going to check that pwm is non-NULL, what
if pwm->chip is non-NULL?  How far do you take this?

Or... just like most of the core kernel does, it does _not_ verify on
function entry that the pointer is "correct" unless it is explicitly
defined that the function may take a NULL pointer (like kfree()).
Everything else just goes right on and does the dereference - and if
the pointer was wrong, we hope that the MMU faults and we get a kernel

Have a read through the code in fs/ or kernel/ and see how many functions
you can spot in there which validate their pointers which aren't dealing
with data from userland.

You'll find almost no function checking that an inode pointer is not NULL.
Or a struct file pointer.  Or a struct path pointer... etc.

Yet, you come to ARM code, and it seems "popular" that pointer arguments
need to be verified on every single function call.  Why is this?

I don't know if Andrew would like to inject something here (I've added
him) on this subject...

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