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Creative use of core dump

Posted on 1998-11-16
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Last Modified: 2010-04-15
We ha a quota sytem on the unix machines at our school, but after getting an 8 mb core dump today I noticed that the core dump didn't affect my quota. I was thinking of making a two part program to be able to temporarily store large files on my user, not because I need it but because it would be fun to se if it's possible
Part 1 reads a file into the memory and forces a core dump
Part 2 extracts the file from the core dump
Does anyone have any pointers how to achieve this?
I've programmed c alot, but I don't know much about core dumps.
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Question by:skyflash
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10 Comments
 
LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:rbr
ID: 1254310
Strange idea but I'm quite interested too if somebody had a solution.
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Expert Comment

by:jkr
ID: 1254311
Well, usually core dumps are read by a debugger using a certain command line switch (can't check wich one at the moment as i'm sitting at a NT box ;-)
But as the sources for e.g. gdb are available, it should be no problem to isolate the routines that read the core dump (or even better, document the format) - just see 'http://www.fsf.org/order/ftp.html' for a list of ftp servers and download gdb-4.1.6.tar.gz or gdb-4.1.7.tar.gz
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Expert Comment

by:Staplehead
ID: 1254312
not to be a putz, but i'm assuming that you did the "obvious" (?) check to see that it's not just seeing that the file name is "core" and the permissions are set in a given way?

Larry
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Author Comment

by:skyflash
ID: 1254313
Well sure I could take a look at the gdb source as well as I could take a look at some operating system sources (eg. linux) which generates a core dump but it would be rather time consuming documenting the core dump format. I mean these sources does probably do a lot more with the core dump than I need to do. There has to be some core dump specification out there already.

And regarding Larry's comment, I have tried to create a file with the name "core" and (as I expected) it affected my quota so it's not the name but how the file is created/stored that affect the quota.
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Expert Comment

by:Staplehead
ID: 1254314
skyflash,

you've checked whether there's anything "magic" about the name, but not the permissions...

Try renaming "core" and check whether your used quota changes.  List it with "ls -l" and then create a file, maybe named "notcore" (!); use chmod, chown, and chgrp to set its permissions the same as core. finally, rename one of your files to "core", setting permissions, etc....

Larry
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Author Comment

by:skyflash
ID: 1254315
I haven't found anything "magical" about name or permissions :(
But I found the specification below, I guess I only need to extract c_dsize bytes directly after the struct. I will probably get some other stuff in data too, but hopefully that part will look identically everytime I run my program so I can remove it easily

The core file consists of a core structure, followed by the data pages and then the stack pages of the process image.
struct core {
  int  c_magic;  /* Corefile magic number */
  int  c_len;    /* Sizeof (struct core) */
  struct regs c_regs;/* General purpose registers */
  struct exec c_aouthdr;/* A.out header */
  int  c_signo;  /* Killing signal, if any */
  int  c_tsize;  /* Text size (bytes) */
  int  c_dsize;  /* Data size (bytes) */
  int  c_ssize;  /* Stack size (bytes) */
  char c_cmdname[CORE_NAMELEN+1]; /* Command name */
  struct fpu c_fpu;/* external FPU state */
  int  c_ucode;  /* Exception no. from u_code */
};
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Expert Comment

by:canacar
ID: 1254316
Well, how about this ...

since the core sump contains the memory image,
create a large array
fill with your data
put a signature before it (a sequence of bytes that will signify
the start of data) make sure that the sequence is not anywhere
inside the program (so you cannot hard-code the signature into
the program but have to create it on the fly.)

write rest of data
then cause a core dump

search for sýgnature on the coredump ...

note: if a dynamically allocated array wont work, you can try allocating a global array (int data[8M]) ...


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Author Comment

by:skyflash
ID: 1254317
Yeah, that sounds reasonable. I'll add expected nymber of bytes to the signature also because it might be some trashdata in the end also
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Accepted Solution

by:
elfie earned 200 total points
ID: 1254318
Do you want your program to make a core file?

Just program this

char *ptr = NULL;
ptr[-1] = 0;

This is the code we use to generate a 'core dump'

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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:skyflash
ID: 1254319
I guess the points should have been divided between several people but that's not possible so I accept the answer to get rid of the question now.

Btw I think its nicer to just send a SIGSEGV signal instead of making the assignment ptr[-1]=0. Of course, I need more code to do it :(

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