tr2: log N parent process names on Linux

In 2f732bf15e (tr2: log parent process name, 2021-07-21) we started
logging parent process names, but only logged all parents on Windows.
on Linux only the name of the immediate parent process was logged.

Extend the functionality added there to also log full parent chain on

This requires us to lookup "/proc/<getppid()>/stat" instead of
"/proc/<getppid()>/comm". The "comm" file just contains the name of the
process, but the "stat" file has both that information, and the parent
PID of that process, see procfs(5). We parse out the parent PID of our
own parent, and recursively walk the chain of "/proc/*/stat" files all
the way up the chain. A parent PID of 0 indicates the end of the

It's possible given the semantics of Linux's PID files that we end up
getting an entirely nonsensical chain of processes. It could happen if
e.g. we have a chain of processes like:

    1 (init) => 321 (bash) => 123 (git)

Let's assume that "bash" was started a while ago, and that as shown
the OS has already cycled back to using a lower PID for us than our
parent process. In the time it takes us to start up and get to
trace2_collect_process_info(TRACE2_PROCESS_INFO_STARTUP) our parent
process might exit, and be replaced by an entirely different process!

We'd racily look up our own getppid(), but in the meantime our parent
would exit, and Linux would have cycled all the way back to starting
an entirely unrelated process as PID 321.

If that happens we'll just silently log incorrect data in our ancestry
chain. Luckily we don't need to worry about this except in this
specific cycling scenario, as Linux does not have PID
randomization. It appears it once did through a third-party feature,
but that it was removed around 2006[1]. For anyone worried about this
edge case raising PID_MAX via "/proc/sys/kernel/pid_max" will mitigate
it, but not eliminate it.

One thing we don't need to worry about is getting into an infinite
loop when walking "/proc/*/stat". See 353d3d77f4 (trace2: collect
Windows-specific process information, 2019-02-22) for the related
Windows code that needs to deal with that, and [2] for an explanation
of that edge case.

Aside from potential race conditions it's also a bit painful to
correctly parse the process name out of "/proc/*/stat". A simpler
approach is to use fscanf(), see [3] for an implementation of that,
but as noted in the comment being added here it would fail in the face
of some weird process names, so we need our own parse_proc_stat() to
parse it out.

With this patch the "ancestry" chain for a trace2 event might look
like this:

    $ GIT_TRACE2_EVENT=/dev/stdout ~/g/git/git version | grep ancestry | jq -r .ancestry

And in the case of naughty process names like the following. This uses
perl's ability to use prctl(PR_SET_NAME, ...). See
Perl/perl5@7636ea95c5 (Set the legacy process name with prctl() on
assignment to $0 on Linux, 2010-04-15)[4]:

    $ perl -e '$0 = "(naughty\nname)"; system "GIT_TRACE2_EVENT=/dev/stdout ~/g/git/git version"' | grep ancestry | jq -r .ancestry

4. 7636ea95c5

Signed-off-by: Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason <>
Acked-by: Taylor Blau <>
Signed-off-by: Junio C Hamano <>
Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason 1 year ago committed by Junio C Hamano
parent 326460a870
commit 2d3491b117
  1. 149

@ -4,26 +4,145 @@
#include "strvec.h"
#include "trace2.h"
static void get_ancestry_names(struct strvec *names)
* We need more complex parsing in stat_parent_pid() and
* parse_proc_stat() below than a dumb fscanf(). That's because while
* the statcomm field is surrounded by parentheses, the process itself
* is free to insert any arbitrary byte sequence its its name. That
* can include newlines, spaces, closing parentheses etc.
* See do_task_stat() in fs/proc/array.c in linux.git, this is in
* contrast with the escaped version of the name found in
* /proc/%d/status.
* So instead of using fscanf() we'll read N bytes from it, look for
* the first "(", and then the last ")", anything in-between is our
* process name.
* How much N do we need? On Linux /proc/sys/kernel/pid_max is 2^15 by
* default, but it can be raised set to values of up to 2^22. So
* that's 7 digits for a PID. We have 2 PIDs in the first four fields
* we're interested in, so 2 * 7 = 14.
* We then have 3 spaces between those four values, and we'd like to
* get to the space between the 4th and the 5th (the "pgrp" field) to
* make sure we read the entire "ppid" field. So that brings us up to
* 14 + 3 + 1 = 18. Add the two parentheses around the "comm" value
* and it's 20. The "state" value itself is then one character (now at
* 21).
* Finally the maximum length of the "comm" name itself is 15
* characters, e.g. a setting of "123456789abcdefg" will be truncated
* to "123456789abcdef". See PR_SET_NAME in prctl(2). So all in all
* we'd need to read 21 + 15 = 36 bytes.
* Let's just read 2^6 (64) instead for good measure. If PID_MAX ever
* grows past 2^22 we'll be future-proof. We'll then anchor at the
* last ")" we find to locate the parent PID.
static int parse_proc_stat(struct strbuf *sb, struct strbuf *name,
int *statppid)
const char *comm_lhs = strchr(sb->buf, '(');
const char *comm_rhs = strrchr(sb->buf, ')');
const char *ppid_lhs, *ppid_rhs;
char *p;
pid_t ppid;
if (!comm_lhs || !comm_rhs)
goto bad_kernel;
* NEEDSWORK: We could gather the entire pstree into an array to match
* functionality with compat/win32/trace2_win32_process_info.c.
* To do so, we may want to examine /proc/<pid>/stat. For now, just
* gather the immediate parent name which is readily accessible from
* /proc/$(getppid())/comm.
* We're at the ")", that's followed by " X ", where X is a
* single "state" character. So advance by 4 bytes.
ppid_lhs = comm_rhs + 4;
* Read until the space between the "ppid" and "pgrp" fields
* to make sure we're anchored after the untruncated "ppid"
* field..
ppid_rhs = strchr(ppid_lhs, ' ');
if (!ppid_rhs)
goto bad_kernel;
ppid = strtol(ppid_lhs, &p, 10);
if (ppid_rhs == p) {
const char *comm = comm_lhs + 1;
size_t commlen = comm_rhs - comm;
strbuf_add(name, comm, commlen);
*statppid = ppid;
return 0;
* We were able to read our STAT_PARENT_PID_READ_N bytes from
* /proc/%d/stat, but the content is bad. Broken kernel?
* Should not happen, but handle it gracefully.
return -1;
static int stat_parent_pid(pid_t pid, struct strbuf *name, int *statppid)
struct strbuf procfs_path = STRBUF_INIT;
struct strbuf name = STRBUF_INIT;
struct strbuf sb = STRBUF_INIT;
FILE *fp;
int ret = -1;
/* try to use procfs if it's present. */
strbuf_addf(&procfs_path, "/proc/%d/comm", getppid());
if (strbuf_read_file(&name, procfs_path.buf, 0) > 0) {
strvec_push(names, name.buf);
strbuf_addf(&procfs_path, "/proc/%d/stat", pid);
fp = fopen(procfs_path.buf, "r");
if (!fp)
goto cleanup;
* We could be more strict here and assert that we read at
* least STAT_PARENT_PID_READ_N. My reading of procfs(5) is
* that on any modern kernel (at least since 2.6.0 released in
* 2003) even if all the mandatory numeric fields were zero'd
* out we'd get at least 100 bytes, but let's just check that
* we got anything at all and trust the parse_proc_stat()
* function to handle its "Bad Kernel?" error checking.
if (!strbuf_fread(&sb, STAT_PARENT_PID_READ_N, fp))
goto cleanup;
if (parse_proc_stat(&sb, name, statppid) < 0)
goto cleanup;
ret = 0;
if (fp)
return ret;
static void push_ancestry_name(struct strvec *names, pid_t pid)
struct strbuf name = STRBUF_INIT;
int ppid;
if (stat_parent_pid(pid, &name, &ppid) < 0)
goto cleanup;
strvec_push(names, name.buf);
* Both errors and reaching the end of the process chain are
* reported as fields of 0 by proc(5)
if (ppid)
push_ancestry_name(names, ppid);
@ -45,11 +164,7 @@ void trace2_collect_process_info(enum trace2_process_info_reason reason)
* NEEDSWORK: we could do the entire ptree in an array instead,
* see compat/win32/trace2_win32_process_info.c.
push_ancestry_name(&names, getppid());
if (