[systemd-devel] Possible race condition for setting cgroup sticky bit

Anders Olofsson anders.olofsson at axis.com
Tue Mar 26 05:43:18 PDT 2013

I'm seeing a problem with a service sometimes failing to start due to a missing cgroup.
After some debugging I've made the following observations:

After exec_spawn() forks, the child will set the sticky bit for the cgroup (in cg_set_task_access) but sometimes, the cgroup is missing (lstat returns "No such file or directory").

The cgroup is always created, but the main process will call cg_trim (from cgroup_bonding_trim <- cgroup_bonding_trim_list <- cgroup_notify_empty <- private_bus_message_filter ...) which will remove the cgroup if the sticky bit isn't set.

This seems to be a race condition.
If the child sets the sticky bit first, the parent will leave the cgroup alone. But if the main process gets to cg_trim first, the cgroup is removed and the child fails.

We're using systemd 197. I've tried using 198, but there the child dies with SIGSEGV so it's harder to debug what's happening.
The problem appeared when we switched from Linux 3.4 to 3.7, but as this looks like a race in systemd so I'm not sure if our local kernel tree is to blame or if the version bump just changed the timing to trigger the race in systemd.

Since I'm not familiar with the systemd internals and cgroups I would appreciate some help to resolve this.

I can reproduce this pretty easy, usually within 5-10 boots. It's always the same service that fails and the services before it never fails.


More information about the systemd-devel mailing list