1.7.7: rm -rf sometimes fails - race condition?

Matthias Andree matthias.andree@gmx.de
Fri Dec 10 21:45:00 GMT 2010

Am 10.12.2010 22:18, schrieb Warren Young:
> On 12/10/2010 12:22 PM, Matthias Andree wrote:
>>>> Has anyone seen similar things?
>>> Yes and you seem to have nailed the problem - it happens when a virus checker
>>> hooks into a syscall and allows it to return before completion.  I don't think
>>> we want to modify Cygwin to not trust success return values from system calls.
>> Well, I don't know a solution but I think this is unexpected behaviour.
> When some bit of third-party software patches the kernel and breaks its 
> API -- which includes details like "when this call returns a success 
> code, it means it succeeded" -- that is going to result in unexpected 
> behavior in any program that calls that syscall.
> If you were to take a survey of existing Windows programs and sort them 
> according to density of calls into the deepest parts of the Windows 
> kernel, I'd bet Cygwin would be way over at the high-density end.  Since 
> antimalware programs hook these same parts of the kernel to do their 
> job, bugs in those hooks will affect Cygwin more often than most other 
> Windows programs.
> Cygwin doesn't -- and shouldn't -- patch around such bugs.  Cygwin 
> probably contains code to work around bugs in Windows itself, but that's 
> as far as it should go.
> You say you've disabled your antimalware software and the problem 
> persists.  I doubt you've actually gotten yourself back to a stock 
> Windows configuration, but if so, you should be able to write a program 
> that will show the same behavior on anyone's system.  If you can do 
> that, I think a fix would shortly follow.  I'm not making promises of 
> other people's resources, just making a history-based prediction.

Certainly I don't get back to a stock Windows configuration, and that's hardly
what a typical Cygwin installation would look like anyways; however, the
software that's failing is rm.exe in certain circumstances when running "cygport
fetchmail-6.3.19-1 all", so it's not exactly rocket science I've been trying :)

Is there any software other than Helios that would be recommended to list
patched/hooked (non-Windows-/Microsoft) system calls?  Perhaps I can find out
what application or service might cause that.

Can strace-ing rm.exe be any good for debugging here?

Matthias Andree

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