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Implement clone3() system call

From:  Sukadev Bhattiprolu <>
Subject:  [RFC][v8][PATCH 0/10] Implement clone3() system call
Date:  Mon, 12 Oct 2009 21:49:25 -0700
Message-ID:  <>
Cc:  Oren Laadan <>,, "Eric W. Biederman" <>, Alexey Dobriyan <>, Pavel Emelyanov <>, Andrew Morton <>,,,,, Nathan Lynch <>,,,,,,,, Containers <>,
Archive-link:  Article

Subject: [RFC][v8][PATCH 0/10] Implement clone3() system call

To support application checkpoint/restart, a task must have the same pid it
had when it was checkpointed.  When containers are nested, the tasks within
the containers exist in multiple pid namespaces and hence have multiple pids
to specify during restart.

This patchset implements a new system call, clone3() that lets a process
specify the pids of the child process.

Patches 1 through 7 are helper patches, needed for choosing a pid for the
child process.

PATCH 9 defines a prototype of the new system call. PATCH 10 adds some
documentation on the new system call, some/all of which will eventually
go into a man page.

	- [Oren Laadan, Louis Rilling, KOSAKI Motohiro]
	  The name 'clone2()' is in use - renamed new syscall to clone3().
	- [Oren Laadan] ->parent_tidptr and ->child_tidptr need to be 64bit.
	- [Oren Laadan] Ensure that unused fields/flags in clone_struct are 0.
	  (Added [PATCH 7/10] to the patchset).

	- [Peter Zijlstra, Arnd Bergmann]
	  Group the arguments to clone2() into a 'struct clone_arg' to
	  workaround the issue of exceeding 6 arguments to the system call.
	  Also define clone-flags as u64 to allow additional clone-flags.

	- [Nathan Lynch, Arnd Bergmann, H. Peter Anvin, Linus Torvalds]
	  Change 'pid_set.pids' to 'pid_t pids[]' so sizeof(struct pid_set) is
	  constant across architectures (Patches 7, 8).
	- (Nathan Lynch) Change pid_set.num_pids to unsigned and remove
	  'unum_pids < 0' check (Patches 7,8)
	- (Pavel Machek) New patch (Patch 9) to add some documentation.

	- Make 'pid_max' a property of pid_ns (Integrated Serge Hallyn's patch
	  into this set)
	- (Eric Biederman): Avoid the new function, set_pidmap() - added
	  couple of checks on 'target_pid' in alloc_pidmap() itself.


clone() system call has another limitation - all but one, available bits in
clone-flags are in use and if more new clone-flags are needed, we will need
a variant of the clone() system call. 

It appears to make sense to try and extend this new system call to address
this limitation as well. The requirements of a new clone system call could
then be summarized as:

	- do everything clone() does today, and
	- give application an ability to choose pids for the child process
	  in all ancestor pid namespaces, and
	- allow more clone_flags


	- system-calls are restricted to 6 parameters and clone() already
	  takes 5 parameters, any extension to clone() interface would require
	  one or more copy_from_user().  (Not sure if copy_from_user() of ~40
	  bytes would have a significant impact on performance of clone()).

Based on these requirements and constraints, we explored a couple of system
call interfaces (in earlier versions of this patchset).  Based on input from
Arnd Bergmann and others, the new interface of the system call is: 

	struct clone_struct {
		u64 flags;
		u64 child_stack;
		u32 nr_pids;
		u32 reserved1;
		u64 parent_tid;
		u64 child_tid;
		u64 reserved2;

	sys_clone3(struct clone_struct __user *cs, pid_t __user *pids)

Signed-off-by: Sukadev Bhattiprolu <>
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