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From: Jann Horn <>
To: Aleksa Sarai <>
Cc: Al Viro <>,
	Michael Kerrisk <>,
	Christian Brauner <>,
	Aleksa Sarai <>,
	linux-man <>,
	Linux API <>,
	kernel list <>
Subject: Re: [PATCH RFC 1/3] symlink.7: document magic-links more completely
Date: Mon, 7 Oct 2019 18:36:40 +0200
Message-ID: <> (raw)
In-Reply-To: <>

On Thu, Oct 3, 2019 at 4:56 PM Aleksa Sarai <> wrote:
> Traditionally, magic-links have not been a well-understood topic in
> Linux. Given the new changes in their semantics (related to the link
> mode of trailing magic-links), it seems like a good opportunity to shine
> more light on magic-links and their semantics.
> +++ b/man7/symlink.7
> @@ -84,6 +84,25 @@ as they are implemented on Linux and other systems,
>  are outlined here.
>  It is important that site-local applications also conform to these rules,
>  so that the user interface can be as consistent as possible.
> +.SS Magic-links
> +There is a special class of symlink-like objects known as "magic-links" which

I think names like that normally aren't hypenated in english, and
instead of "magic-links", it'd be "magic links"? Just like how you
wouldn't write "symbolic-link", but "symbolic link". But this is
bikeshedding, and if you disagree, feel free to ignore this comment.

> +can be found in certain pseudo-filesystems such as
> +.BR proc (5)
> +(examples include
> +.IR /proc/[pid]/exe " and " /proc/[pid]/fd/* .)
> +Unlike normal symlinks, magic-links are not resolved through

nit: AFAICS symlinks are always referred to as "symbolic links"
throughout the manpages.

> +pathname-expansion, but instead act as direct references to the kernel's own
> +representation of a file handle. As such, these magic-links allow users to
> +access files which cannot be referenced with normal paths (such as unlinked
> +files still referenced by a running program.)

Could maybe add "and files in different mount namespaces" as another
example here; at least for me, that's the main usecases for

> +However, magic-links do not follow this rule. They can have a non-0777 mode,
> +which is used for permission checks when the final
> +component of an
> +.BR open (2)'s

Maybe leave out the "open" part, since the same restriction has to
also apply to other syscalls operating on files, like truncate() and
so on?

> +path is a magic-link (see
> +.BR path_resolution (7).)

  reply index

Thread overview: 15+ messages / expand[flat|nested]  mbox.gz  Atom feed  top
2019-10-03 14:55 [PATCH RFC 0/3] document openat2(2) patch series Aleksa Sarai
2019-10-03 14:55 ` [PATCH RFC 1/3] symlink.7: document magic-links more completely Aleksa Sarai
2019-10-07 16:36   ` Jann Horn [this message]
2019-10-08  1:33     ` Aleksa Sarai
2019-10-09  7:55   ` Michael Kerrisk (man-pages)
2019-10-09  9:57     ` Aleksa Sarai
2019-10-03 14:55 ` [PATCH RFC 2/3] open.2: add O_EMPTYPATH documentation Aleksa Sarai
2019-10-09  8:01   ` Michael Kerrisk (man-pages)
2019-10-09 10:00     ` Aleksa Sarai
2019-10-03 14:55 ` [PATCH RFC 3/3] openat2.2: document new openat2(2) syscall Aleksa Sarai
2019-10-09  8:36   ` Michael Kerrisk (man-pages)
2019-10-09 10:17     ` Aleksa Sarai
2019-10-09 10:32       ` Michael Kerrisk (man-pages)
2019-10-03 14:55 ` [PATCH RFC 3/3] openat2.2: document new syscall Aleksa Sarai
2019-10-03 15:00   ` Aleksa Sarai

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