Bug 488652 - vim should not fork() after initializing windows
vim should not fork() after initializing windows
Product: Fedora
Classification: Fedora
Component: vim (Show other bugs)
All Linux
low Severity medium
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Assigned To: Karsten Hopp
Fedora Extras Quality Assurance
Depends On:
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Reported: 2009-03-04 21:48 EST by Lennart Poettering
Modified: 2010-06-28 07:24 EDT (History)
2 users (show)

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Doc Type: Bug Fix
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Last Closed: 2010-06-28 07:24:06 EDT
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Description Lennart Poettering 2009-03-04 21:48:21 EST
gvim is seriously broken. On startup it initializes GTK, sets up the main window and then forks. This is really really evil.

Almost no existing modern library is written in a way that this would work correctly, and Gtk certainly isn't. After a fork() the child process only retains a single thread and all mutexes/semaphores/... are left in an undefined state. In theory one could reinitialize the mutexes after the fork or lock them during the fork by using pthread_atfork() and set up all necessary background threads again, in reality nobody does this because it is really hard to get right. 

fork()ing is only OK if you quickly call some form of exec() without calling any non-libc functions before. Or if you do it in a pristine process. But setting things up and then forking is really not OK. 

In the Gtk case the mutex locked by GDK_THREADS_ENTER is at least one mutex that would need to be reinitialized after the fork but isn't. 

Also a lot lof libraries cannot really cope with the PID changing underneath them.

The particular case where this brokeness in vim became apparent is when libcanberra-gtk-module is loaded into gvim via GTK_MODULES: when the window is popped up first an event sound is played which causes the module to spawn an audio IO thread. Then, the fork happens and another sound is triggered due to some reason. However in the child process the audio IO thread is gone and hence the triggering of the sound will block for a response of the thread who will never respond because it doesn't exist. I am now modifying libcanberra to refuse all calls after a fork() -- but really, gvim needs to be fixed to not do evil stuff like this.

A possible way to fix this is either forking earlier (before the gtk initialization) or reexecuting yourself after the fork.
Comment 1 Bug Zapper 2009-06-09 07:53:18 EDT
This bug appears to have been reported against 'rawhide' during the Fedora 11 development cycle.
Changing version to '11'.

More information and reason for this action is here:
Comment 2 Richard Z. 2009-10-27 07:36:23 EDT
thanks for looking at it, I have been bitten by this gvim problem in a fully updated Fedora 10 as well.

In my own programs I do a lot of evil forking, it gives functionality not achievable with threading. It is one of the oldest and simplest syscalls and libraries should have defined a way of dealing with it.

Anyway, freezing the complete desktop just because a sound event does not work like expected is aksing for trouble - quite surprised it did not strike earlier.
Comment 3 Bug Zapper 2010-04-27 09:06:35 EDT
This message is a reminder that Fedora 11 is nearing its end of life.
Approximately 30 (thirty) days from now Fedora will stop maintaining
and issuing updates for Fedora 11.  It is Fedora's policy to close all
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Comment 4 Bug Zapper 2010-06-28 07:24:06 EDT
Fedora 11 changed to end-of-life (EOL) status on 2010-06-25. Fedora 11 is 
no longer maintained, which means that it will not receive any further 
security or bug fix updates. As a result we are closing this bug.

If you can reproduce this bug against a currently maintained version of 
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