Bug 9324 - Fix for netcat-1.10 deadlock problem at EOF
Fix for netcat-1.10 deadlock problem at EOF
Product: Red Hat Linux
Classification: Retired
Component: nc (Show other bugs)
All Linux
medium Severity medium
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Assigned To: Bill Nottingham
Depends On:
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Reported: 2000-02-10 20:10 EST by Graham Stoney
Modified: 2014-03-16 22:12 EDT (History)
1 user (show)

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Fixed In Version:
Doc Type: Bug Fix
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Last Closed: 2000-02-11 12:10:37 EST
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Description Graham Stoney 2000-02-10 20:10:54 EST
Netcat sure is a handy utility, but there's one minor problem I've come
across, for which I'm offering the following simple fix. First, the
why I think the fix is a good idea:

Netcat doesn't drop the connection until the server closes it so that you
don't ever lose the final output from the server, which is what may happen
the client simply closes the connection when the client reads EOF from
This is good, and I'm not suggesting that it change. However, a deadlock
if the server doesn't close its end until it reads EOF on the connection.
example, if you netcat to the "echo" service (on port 7), sending EOF (by
hitting CTRL-D or whatever, say) won't ever cause netcat to exit; it will
simply stop reading its stdin, and the server will keep waiting for more
which will never arrive. Some protocols (e.g. http) avoid this problem by
signalling EOF in-band, but I don't think netcat should make this

The solution is easy: use shutdown to tell the server that the client has
finished writing, but can keep on reading. Servers like "echo", which wait
EOF from the client will then gracefully close their end of the connection,
causing netcat to exit with no loss of data. I'd be interested in anyone's
feedback; I reckon this simple patch makes netcat an even more useful

*** netcat-1.10.orig/netcat.c   Thu Mar 21 11:38:04 1996
--- netcat-1.10.greyham/netcat.c        Mon Sep 13 10:38:14 1999
*** 1216,1221 ****
--- 1216,1222 ----
        if (rr <= 0) {                  /* at end, or fukt, or ... */
          FD_CLR (0, ding1);            /* disable and close stdin */
          close (0);
+         shutdown(fd, 1);              /* no more sending from us */
        } else {
          rzleft = rr;
          zp = bigbuf_in;

To test it:
% vi /etc/inetd.conf    # enable 'echo' service
% nc localhost echo

Without the patch, netcat-1.10 never exits. With the patch, it exits

Comment 1 Jeff Johnson 2000-02-11 12:10:59 EST
This is the classic half-close problem described in Stevens and best
illustrated by
	echo yadda yadda | rsh localhost cat
(rsh needs to do shutdown(fd, 1) so that the data is returned by cat).

Your fix looks like the Right Thing To Do (I have not yet looked at sources).
Comment 2 Jeff Johnson 2000-08-11 13:04:56 EDT
FIxed (by applying patch above) in nc-1.10-9. Thanks for reporting.

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