Bug #13955


loader: support.4th resets the read buffer incorrectly

Added by Toomas Soome over 1 year ago. Updated over 1 year ago.

In Progress
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Picked up from FreeBSD:

Large nextboot.conf files (over 80 bytes) are not read correctly by the Forth loader, causing file parsing to abort, and nextboot configuration fails to apply.

Simple repro:

nextboot -e foo=xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxshutdown -r now

That will cause the bug to cause a parse failure but shouldn't otherwise affect the boot. Depending on your loader configuration, you may also have to set beastie_disable and/or reduce the number of modules loaded to see the error on a small console screen. 12.0 or CURRENT users will also have to explicitly use the Forth loader instead of the Lua loader. The error will look something like:

Warning: syntax error on file /boot/loader.conf.local foo="xxxxxxxxxxxxxxnextboot_enable="YES"
/boot/support.4th has crude file I/O buffering, which uses a buffer 'read_buffer', defined to be 80 bytes by the 'read_buffer_size' constant. The loader first tastes nextboot.conf, reading and parsing the first line in it for nextboot_enable="YES". If this is true, then it reopens the file and parses it like other loader .conf files.

Unfortunately, the file I/O buffering code does not fully reset the buffer state in the reset_line_reading word. If the last file was read to the end, that doesn't matter; the file buffer is treated as empty anyway. But in the nextboot.conf case, the loader will not read to the end of file if it is over 80 bytes, and the file buffer may be reused when reading the next file. When the file is reread, the corrupt text may cause file parsing to abort on bad syntax (if the corrupt line has <>2 quotes in it), the wrong variable to be set, no variable to be set at all, or (if the splice happens to land at a line ending) something approximating normal operation.

The bug is very old, dating back to at least 2000 if not before, and is still present in 12.0 and CURRENT r345863 (though it is now hidden by the Lua loader by default).

Suggested one-line attached. This does change the behavior of the reset_line_reading word, which is exported in the line-reading dictionary (though the export is not documented in loader man pages).
But repo history shows it was probably exported for the PNP support code, which was never included in the loader build, and was removed 5 months ago.

One thing that puzzles me: how has this bug gone unnoticed/unfixed for nearly 2 decades? I find it hard to believe that nobody's tried to do something interesting with nextboot, like load a kernel and filesystem, which is what I'm doing.

Testing done: build/install/boot. Boot is behaving as expected.

Related issues

Related to illumos gate - Bug #14084: loader can't activate BEsClosedToomas Soome

Actions #1

Updated by Electric Monk over 1 year ago

  • Gerrit CR set to 1607
Actions #2

Updated by Toomas Soome over 1 year ago

  • Description updated (diff)
Actions #3

Updated by Electric Monk over 1 year ago

  • Status changed from In Progress to Closed
  • % Done changed from 90 to 100

git commit 3fa2c5b4960d0046e3080b8f059afab7943d0a1b

commit  3fa2c5b4960d0046e3080b8f059afab7943d0a1b
Author: John Hood <>
Date:   2021-07-19T16:20:37.000Z

    13955 loader: support.4th resets the read buffer incorrectly
    Reviewed-by: Toomas Soome <>
    Reviewed by: Andy Fiddaman <>
    Approved by: Dan McDonald <>

Actions #4

Updated by Dan McDonald over 1 year ago

  • Related to Bug #14084: loader can't activate BEs added
Actions #5

Updated by Joshua M. Clulow over 1 year ago

  • Status changed from Closed to In Progress

This was backed out.


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