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Re: [PATCH 1/2] refs/files-backend: duplicate strings added to affected_refnames

On 28 August 2017 at 10:06, Michael Haggerty <mhagger@xxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> On Sat, Aug 26, 2017 at 12:16 PM, Martin Ågren <martin.agren@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>> On 25 August 2017 at 23:00, Junio C Hamano <gitster@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>>> Martin Ågren <martin.agren@xxxxxxxxx> writes:
>>>> files_transaction_prepare() and the functions it calls add strings to a
>>>> string list without duplicating them, i.e., we keep the original raw
>>>> pointers we were given. That is "ok", since we keep them only for a
>>>> short-enough time, but we end up leaking some of them.
>>> [...]
> Good find, Martin.
> First of all, you are right that we don't want any memory leaks here.
> Nobody promises that the program will end soon if a reference update
> fails. (In fact, there are invocations of `git` that trigger multiple
> reference updates.) This is a small leak, but we should fix it.
> The problem (if I may take a stab at explaining it in my own words) is
> that `files_transaction_prepare()` uses a `string_list` called
> `affected_refnames` to ensure that the same reference name is not
> modified more than once in a single reference transaction. Currently,
> `affected_refnames` is configured *not* to duplicate the refnames that
> are fed to it, which also means that it doesn't free the refnames when
> it is cleared.
> This is correct for most refnames, which are owned by entries in the
> `ref_transaction`, and therefore have a longer lifetime than
> `affected_refnames`.
> But there is one code path that can add a refname to
> `affected_refnames` without making a provision for the refname ever to
> be freed:
> * files_transaction_prepare()
>   * lock_ref_for_update()
>     * split_symref_update()
>       * item = string_list_insert(affected_refnames, referent)
> The `referent` in the last statement comes from a `strbuf` that is
> created in `lock_ref_for_update()` then passed to `lock_raw_ref()`,
> which fills it.
> It would be a serious bug if `lock_ref_for_update()` would dispose of
> `referent`, because the pointer in `affected_refnames` would point at
> freed memory. But in fact we have the opposite problem;
> `lock_ref_for_update()` never frees the memory (it doesn't even
> `strbuf_detach()` it). So that memory is leaked.

Thanks for this very well-written description. It matches my
understanding completely, which is comforting.

> Your proposed solution is to change `affected_refnames` to duplicate
> the strings that are stored in it, in which case
> `lock_ref_for_update()` can properly dispose of `referent`, fixing the
> leak. This works, but at the price of having to allocate memory for
> *all* references in the update, even though most of them are already
> fine.


> But note that `split_symref_update()` *also* passes a copy of
> `referent` to `ref_transaction_add_update()`, which *already* makes a
> copy of the reference name and adds an entry containing the name to
> the `ref_transaction`. If we would store *that* copy to
> `affected_refnames`, then it would get freed when the
> `ref_transaction` is cleaned up, and we could fix the memory leak
> without allocating any new memory. This requires a little reorg of
> `split_symref_update()` but it's not too bad:
> * Do the initial check using `string_list_has_string()` rather than
> calling `string_list_insert()` already.
> * After `new_update` has been created, call `string_list_insert()`,
> passing it `new_update->refname` as the string.

I haven't looked at the code yet, but from what I remember, this would
a) work and b) be a straightforward rearrangement as you say. I'll give
this approach a try (unless you want to, of course; just holler).

> If this is done in place of your first commit, then your second commit
> could be left unchanged.

Thanks a lot for your comments. I appreciate it.