Bug 60610 - ssh returns wrong exit code
ssh returns wrong exit code
Product: Red Hat Linux
Classification: Retired
Component: openssh (Show other bugs)
i386 Linux
medium Severity medium
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Assigned To: Nalin Dahyabhai
Brian Brock
Depends On:
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Reported: 2002-03-02 05:36 EST by Mike Bird
Modified: 2007-04-18 12:40 EDT (History)
0 users

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Doc Type: Bug Fix
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Last Closed: 2002-03-03 02:14:00 EST
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Description Mike Bird 2002-03-02 05:36:44 EST
Description of Problem: After upgrading from kernel-2.4.9-21 to kernel-2.4.9-31,
ssh returns wrong exit code under some circumstances (seriously munging our
systems management!)

Version-Release number of selected component (if applicable): 2.9p2-12

How Reproducible:

"ssh localhost rpm -qa </dev/null; echo $?"
should reveal exit code 0 but on most upgraded systems gives exit code 255

removing "ssh localhost" gives exit code 0 which is correct

adding "strace" before either "ssh" or "rpm" appears to show that the ssh/sshd
system is changing the 0 to -1.  However "ssh localhost exit 0" works correctly.
Comment 1 Mike Bird 2002-03-03 02:13:55 EST
The problem is a race in sshd which was exposed by small changes in the kernel. 
Here's a simpler test case:

ssh localhost perl -e

Because the fd's are closed before the process exits, the cleanup code in
session.c is used instead of the cleanup code in serverloop.c.  The session.c
cleanup code ignores the process exit code, contrary to spec which says that
sshd waits for process exit AND all fd's closed, then passes the exit code to

The effect of the current code is to wait for process exit OR all fd's closed,
which results in the observed race as well as other incorrect behavior.


Until this is fixed, the following workaround seems to work in most cases. 
Instead of:

  ssh localhost foo

- use this:

  ssh localhost 'foo; exit $?'

Comment 2 Mike Bird 2002-03-08 20:43:50 EST
Bug does not exist in openssh-3.1p1-2 which was released today to fix a serious security bug.

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