1.. SPDX-License-Identifier: GPL-2.0
   4Miscellaneous Device control operations for the autofs kernel module
   7The problem
  10There is a problem with active restarts in autofs (that is to say
  11restarting autofs when there are busy mounts).
  13During normal operation autofs uses a file descriptor opened on the
  14directory that is being managed in order to be able to issue control
  15operations. Using a file descriptor gives ioctl operations access to
  16autofs specific information stored in the super block. The operations
  17are things such as setting an autofs mount catatonic, setting the
  18expire timeout and requesting expire checks. As is explained below,
  19certain types of autofs triggered mounts can end up covering an autofs
  20mount itself which prevents us being able to use open(2) to obtain a
  21file descriptor for these operations if we don't already have one open.
  23Currently autofs uses "umount -l" (lazy umount) to clear active mounts
  24at restart. While using lazy umount works for most cases, anything that
  25needs to walk back up the mount tree to construct a path, such as
  26getcwd(2) and the proc file system /proc/<pid>/cwd, no longer works
  27because the point from which the path is constructed has been detached
  28from the mount tree.
  30The actual problem with autofs is that it can't reconnect to existing
  31mounts. Immediately one thinks of just adding the ability to remount
  32autofs file systems would solve it, but alas, that can't work. This is
  33because autofs direct mounts and the implementation of "on demand mount
  34and expire" of nested mount trees have the file system mounted directly
  35on top of the mount trigger directory dentry.
  37For example, there are two types of automount maps, direct (in the kernel
  38module source you will see a third type called an offset, which is just
  39a direct mount in disguise) and indirect.
  41Here is a master map with direct and indirect map entries::
  43    /-      /etc/
  44    /test   /etc/auto.indirect
  46and the corresponding map files::
  48    /etc/
  50    /automount/dparse/g6  budgie:/autofs/export1
  51    /automount/dparse/g1  shark:/autofs/export1
  52    and so on.
  56    g1    shark:/autofs/export1
  57    g6    budgie:/autofs/export1
  58    and so on.
  60For the above indirect map an autofs file system is mounted on /test and
  61mounts are triggered for each sub-directory key by the inode lookup
  62operation. So we see a mount of shark:/autofs/export1 on /test/g1, for
  65The way that direct mounts are handled is by making an autofs mount on
  66each full path, such as /automount/dparse/g1, and using it as a mount
  67trigger. So when we walk on the path we mount shark:/autofs/export1 "on
  68top of this mount point". Since these are always directories we can
  69use the follow_link inode operation to trigger the mount.
  71But, each entry in direct and indirect maps can have offsets (making
  72them multi-mount map entries).
  74For example, an indirect mount map entry could also be::
  76    g1  \
  77    /        shark:/autofs/export5/testing/test \
  78    /s1      shark:/autofs/export/testing/test/s1 \
  79    /s2      shark:/autofs/export5/testing/test/s2 \
  80    /s1/ss1  shark:/autofs/export1 \
  81    /s2/ss2  shark:/autofs/export2
  83and a similarly a direct mount map entry could also be::
  85    /automount/dparse/g1 \
  86        /       shark:/autofs/export5/testing/test \
  87        /s1     shark:/autofs/export/testing/test/s1 \
  88        /s2     shark:/autofs/export5/testing/test/s2 \
  89        /s1/ss1 shark:/autofs/export2 \
  90        /s2/ss2 shark:/autofs/export2
  92One of the issues with version 4 of autofs was that, when mounting an
  93entry with a large number of offsets, possibly with nesting, we needed
  94to mount and umount all of the offsets as a single unit. Not really a
  95problem, except for people with a large number of offsets in map entries.
  96This mechanism is used for the well known "hosts" map and we have seen
  97cases (in 2.4) where the available number of mounts are exhausted or
  98where the number of privileged ports available is exhausted.
 100In version 5 we mount only as we go down the tree of offsets and
 101similarly for expiring them which resolves the above problem. There is
 102somewhat more detail to the implementation but it isn't needed for the
 103sake of the problem explanation. The one important detail is that these
 104offsets are implemented using the same mechanism as the direct mounts
 105above and so the mount points can be covered by a mount.
 107The current autofs implementation uses an ioctl file descriptor opened
 108on the mount point for control operations. The references held by the
 109descriptor are accounted for in checks made to determine if a mount is
 110in use and is also used to access autofs file system information held
 111in the mount super block. So the use of a file handle needs to be
 115The Solution
 118To be able to restart autofs leaving existing direct, indirect and
 119offset mounts in place we need to be able to obtain a file handle
 120for these potentially covered autofs mount points. Rather than just
 121implement an isolated operation it was decided to re-implement the
 122existing ioctl interface and add new operations to provide this
 125In addition, to be able to reconstruct a mount tree that has busy mounts,
 126the uid and gid of the last user that triggered the mount needs to be
 127available because these can be used as macro substitution variables in
 128autofs maps. They are recorded at mount request time and an operation
 129has been added to retrieve them.
 131Since we're re-implementing the control interface, a couple of other
 132problems with the existing interface have been addressed. First, when
 133a mount or expire operation completes a status is returned to the
 134kernel by either a "send ready" or a "send fail" operation. The
 135"send fail" operation of the ioctl interface could only ever send
 136ENOENT so the re-implementation allows user space to send an actual
 137status. Another expensive operation in user space, for those using
 138very large maps, is discovering if a mount is present. Usually this
 139involves scanning /proc/mounts and since it needs to be done quite
 140often it can introduce significant overhead when there are many entries
 141in the mount table. An operation to lookup the mount status of a mount
 142point dentry (covered or not) has also been added.
 144Current kernel development policy recommends avoiding the use of the
 145ioctl mechanism in favor of systems such as Netlink. An implementation
 146using this system was attempted to evaluate its suitability and it was
 147found to be inadequate, in this case. The Generic Netlink system was
 148used for this as raw Netlink would lead to a significant increase in
 149complexity. There's no question that the Generic Netlink system is an
 150elegant solution for common case ioctl functions but it's not a complete
 151replacement probably because its primary purpose in life is to be a
 152message bus implementation rather than specifically an ioctl replacement.
 153While it would be possible to work around this there is one concern
 154that lead to the decision to not use it. This is that the autofs
 155expire in the daemon has become far to complex because umount
 156candidates are enumerated, almost for no other reason than to "count"
 157the number of times to call the expire ioctl. This involves scanning
 158the mount table which has proved to be a big overhead for users with
 159large maps. The best way to improve this is try and get back to the
 160way the expire was done long ago. That is, when an expire request is
 161issued for a mount (file handle) we should continually call back to
 162the daemon until we can't umount any more mounts, then return the
 163appropriate status to the daemon. At the moment we just expire one
 164mount at a time. A Generic Netlink implementation would exclude this
 165possibility for future development due to the requirements of the
 166message bus architecture.
 169autofs Miscellaneous Device mount control interface
 172The control interface is opening a device node, typically /dev/autofs.
 174All the ioctls use a common structure to pass the needed parameter
 175information and return operation results::
 177    struct autofs_dev_ioctl {
 178            __u32 ver_major;
 179            __u32 ver_minor;
 180            __u32 size;             /* total size of data passed in
 181                                    * including this struct */
 182            __s32 ioctlfd;          /* automount command fd */
 184            /* Command parameters */
 185            union {
 186                    struct args_protover                protover;
 187                    struct args_protosubver             protosubver;
 188                    struct args_openmount               openmount;
 189                    struct args_ready           ready;
 190                    struct args_fail            fail;
 191                    struct args_setpipefd               setpipefd;
 192                    struct args_timeout         timeout;
 193                    struct args_requester               requester;
 194                    struct args_expire          expire;
 195                    struct args_askumount               askumount;
 196                    struct args_ismountpoint    ismountpoint;
 197            };
 199            char path[0];
 200    };
 202The ioctlfd field is a mount point file descriptor of an autofs mount
 203point. It is returned by the open call and is used by all calls except
 204the check for whether a given path is a mount point, where it may
 205optionally be used to check a specific mount corresponding to a given
 206mount point file descriptor, and when requesting the uid and gid of the
 207last successful mount on a directory within the autofs file system.
 209The union is used to communicate parameters and results of calls made
 210as described below.
 212The path field is used to pass a path where it is needed and the size field
 213is used account for the increased structure length when translating the
 214structure sent from user space.
 216This structure can be initialized before setting specific fields by using
 217the void function call init_autofs_dev_ioctl(``struct autofs_dev_ioctl *``).
 219All of the ioctls perform a copy of this structure from user space to
 220kernel space and return -EINVAL if the size parameter is smaller than
 221the structure size itself, -ENOMEM if the kernel memory allocation fails
 222or -EFAULT if the copy itself fails. Other checks include a version check
 223of the compiled in user space version against the module version and a
 224mismatch results in a -EINVAL return. If the size field is greater than
 225the structure size then a path is assumed to be present and is checked to
 226ensure it begins with a "/" and is NULL terminated, otherwise -EINVAL is
 227returned. Following these checks, for all ioctl commands except
 229AUTOFS_DEV_IOCTL_CLOSEMOUNT_CMD the ioctlfd is validated and if it is
 230not a valid descriptor or doesn't correspond to an autofs mount point
 231an error of -EBADF, -ENOTTY or -EINVAL (not an autofs descriptor) is
 235The ioctls
 238An example of an implementation which uses this interface can be seen
 239in autofs version 5.0.4 and later in file lib/dev-ioctl-lib.c of the
 240distribution tar available for download from in directory
 243The device node ioctl operations implemented by this interface are:
 249Get the major and minor version of the autofs device ioctl kernel module
 250implementation. It requires an initialized struct autofs_dev_ioctl as an
 251input parameter and sets the version information in the passed in structure.
 252It returns 0 on success or the error -EINVAL if a version mismatch is
 259Get the major and minor version of the autofs protocol version understood
 260by loaded module. This call requires an initialized struct autofs_dev_ioctl
 261with the ioctlfd field set to a valid autofs mount point descriptor
 262and sets the requested version number in version field of struct args_protover
 263or sub_version field of struct args_protosubver. These commands return
 2640 on success or one of the negative error codes if validation fails.
 270Obtain and release a file descriptor for an autofs managed mount point
 271path. The open call requires an initialized struct autofs_dev_ioctl with
 272the path field set and the size field adjusted appropriately as well
 273as the devid field of struct args_openmount set to the device number of
 274the autofs mount. The device number can be obtained from the mount options
 275shown in /proc/mounts. The close call requires an initialized struct
 276autofs_dev_ioct with the ioctlfd field set to the descriptor obtained
 277from the open call. The release of the file descriptor can also be done
 278with close(2) so any open descriptors will also be closed at process exit.
 279The close call is included in the implemented operations largely for
 280completeness and to provide for a consistent user space implementation.
 286Return mount and expire result status from user space to the kernel.
 287Both of these calls require an initialized struct autofs_dev_ioctl
 288with the ioctlfd field set to the descriptor obtained from the open
 289call and the token field of struct args_ready or struct args_fail set
 290to the wait queue token number, received by user space in the foregoing
 291mount or expire request. The status field of struct args_fail is set to
 292the errno of the operation. It is set to 0 on success.
 298Set the pipe file descriptor used for kernel communication to the daemon.
 299Normally this is set at mount time using an option but when reconnecting
 300to a existing mount we need to use this to tell the autofs mount about
 301the new kernel pipe descriptor. In order to protect mounts against
 302incorrectly setting the pipe descriptor we also require that the autofs
 303mount be catatonic (see next call).
 305The call requires an initialized struct autofs_dev_ioctl with the
 306ioctlfd field set to the descriptor obtained from the open call and
 307the pipefd field of struct args_setpipefd set to descriptor of the pipe.
 308On success the call also sets the process group id used to identify the
 309controlling process (eg. the owning automount(8) daemon) to the process
 310group of the caller.
 316Make the autofs mount point catatonic. The autofs mount will no longer
 317issue mount requests, the kernel communication pipe descriptor is released
 318and any remaining waits in the queue released.
 320The call requires an initialized struct autofs_dev_ioctl with the
 321ioctlfd field set to the descriptor obtained from the open call.
 327Set the expire timeout for mounts within an autofs mount point.
 329The call requires an initialized struct autofs_dev_ioctl with the
 330ioctlfd field set to the descriptor obtained from the open call.
 336Return the uid and gid of the last process to successfully trigger a the
 337mount on the given path dentry.
 339The call requires an initialized struct autofs_dev_ioctl with the path
 340field set to the mount point in question and the size field adjusted
 341appropriately. Upon return the uid field of struct args_requester contains
 342the uid and gid field the gid.
 344When reconstructing an autofs mount tree with active mounts we need to
 345re-connect to mounts that may have used the original process uid and
 346gid (or string variations of them) for mount lookups within the map entry.
 347This call provides the ability to obtain this uid and gid so they may be
 348used by user space for the mount map lookups.
 354Issue an expire request to the kernel for an autofs mount. Typically
 355this ioctl is called until no further expire candidates are found.
 357The call requires an initialized struct autofs_dev_ioctl with the
 358ioctlfd field set to the descriptor obtained from the open call. In
 359addition an immediate expire that's independent of the mount timeout,
 360and a forced expire that's independent of whether the mount is busy,
 361can be requested by setting the how field of struct args_expire to
 363expire candidates can be found the ioctl returns -1 with errno set to
 366This call causes the kernel module to check the mount corresponding
 367to the given ioctlfd for mounts that can be expired, issues an expire
 368request back to the daemon and waits for completion.
 373Checks if an autofs mount point is in use.
 375The call requires an initialized struct autofs_dev_ioctl with the
 376ioctlfd field set to the descriptor obtained from the open call and
 377it returns the result in the may_umount field of struct args_askumount,
 3781 for busy and 0 otherwise.
 384Check if the given path is a mountpoint.
 386The call requires an initialized struct autofs_dev_ioctl. There are two
 387possible variations. Both use the path field set to the path of the mount
 388point to check and the size field adjusted appropriately. One uses the
 389ioctlfd field to identify a specific mount point to check while the other
 390variation uses the path and optionally in.type field of struct args_ismountpoint
 391set to an autofs mount type. The call returns 1 if this is a mount point
 392and sets out.devid field to the device number of the mount and out.magic
 393field to the relevant super block magic number (described below) or 0 if
 394it isn't a mountpoint. In both cases the device number (as returned
 395by new_encode_dev()) is returned in out.devid field.
 397If supplied with a file descriptor we're looking for a specific mount,
 398not necessarily at the top of the mounted stack. In this case the path
 399the descriptor corresponds to is considered a mountpoint if it is itself
 400a mountpoint or contains a mount, such as a multi-mount without a root
 401mount. In this case we return 1 if the descriptor corresponds to a mount
 402point and also returns the super magic of the covering mount if there
 403is one or 0 if it isn't a mountpoint.
 405If a path is supplied (and the ioctlfd field is set to -1) then the path
 406is looked up and is checked to see if it is the root of a mount. If a
 407type is also given we are looking for a particular autofs mount and if
 408a match isn't found a fail is returned. If the located path is the
 409root of a mount 1 is returned along with the super magic of the mount
 410or 0 otherwise.