Commit 65191087 authored by John Reiser's avatar John Reiser Committed by Linus Torvalds
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execve filename: document and export via auxiliary vector

The Linux kernel puts the filename argument of execve() into the new
address space.  Many developers are surprised to learn this.  Those who
know and could use it, object "But it's not documented."

Those who want to use it dislike the expression
  (char *)(1+ strlen(env[-1+ n_env]) + env[-1+ n_env])
because it requires locating the last original environment variable,
and assumes that the filename follows the characters.

This patch documents the insertion of the filename, and makes it easier
to find by adding a new tag AT_EXECFN in the ElfXX_auxv_t; see <elf.h>.

In many cases readlink("/proc/self/exe",) gives the same answer.  But if
all the original pages get unmapped, then the kernel erases the symlink
for /proc/self/exe.  This can happen when a program decompressor does a
good job of cleaning up after uncompressing directly to memory, so that
the address space of the target program looks the same as if compression
had never happened.  One example is


One notable use of the underlying concept (what path containED the
executable) is glibc expanding $ORIGIN in DT_RUNPATH.  In practice for
the near term, it may be a good idea for user-mode code to use both
/proc/self/exe and AT_EXECFN as fall-back methods for each other.
/proc/self/exe can fail due to unmapping, AT_EXECFN can fail because it
won't be present on non-new systems.  The auxvec or {AT_EXECFN}.d_val
also can get overwritten, although in nearly all cases this would be the
result of a bug.

The runtime cost is one NEW_AUX_ENT using two words of stack space.  The
underlying value is maintained already as bprm->exec; setup_arg_pages()
in fs/exec.c slides it for stack_shift, etc.
Signed-off-by: default avatarJohn Reiser <>
Cc: Roland McGrath <>
Cc: Jakub Jelinek <>
Cc: Ulrich Drepper <>
Cc: Benjamin Herrenschmidt <>
Signed-off-by: default avatarAndrew Morton <>
Signed-off-by: default avatarLinus Torvalds <>
parent 93ded9b8
......@@ -204,6 +204,7 @@ create_elf_tables(struct linux_binprm *bprm, struct elfhdr *exec,
NEW_AUX_ENT(AT_GID, tsk->gid);
NEW_AUX_ENT(AT_EGID, tsk->egid);
NEW_AUX_ENT(AT_SECURE, security_bprm_secureexec(bprm));
NEW_AUX_ENT(AT_EXECFN, bprm->exec);
if (k_platform) {
(elf_addr_t)(unsigned long)u_platform);
......@@ -26,8 +26,10 @@
#define AT_SECURE 23 /* secure mode boolean */
#define AT_EXECFN 31 /* filename of program */
#ifdef __KERNEL__
#define AT_VECTOR_SIZE_BASE (14 + 2) /* NEW_AUX_ENT entries in auxiliary table */
#define AT_VECTOR_SIZE_BASE 17 /* NEW_AUX_ENT entries in auxiliary table */
/* number of "#define AT_.*" above, minus {AT_NULL, AT_IGNORE, AT_NOTELF} */
#endif /* _LINUX_AUXVEC_H */
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