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Date: Mon, 29 Sep 2014 22:26:33 -0500
From: "Kobrin, Eric" <>
To: "" <>
CC: "" <>, oss-security
	<>, solar <>, lcamtuf
	<>, fweimer <>
Subject: Re: Healing the bash fork

On Sep 29, 2014, at 10:34 PM, Chet Ramey <> wrote:

> On 9/29/14, 6:06 PM, Kobrin, Eric wrote:
>> What is the motivation to not store executable code (functions) differently from standard variables?
> What would you use for such a store, considering the environment is the
> only portable way to pass this information from one process to another in
> the general case, and support the current set of use cases?

The most portable transmission method is the environment. I'm
interested in thinking through scenarios where it is not deemed
necessary to have one environment variable per function, to store
functions text, to support all environment variable manipulations on
functions, or to support easy creation of functions in non-bash

What are the current set of use cases? I can think of a few, but I'm
not sure they are all required; some may be accidental but still
widely used, others may be unused and undesired. Here's the list so
far, posed as questions:

1. Is it necessary that functions exported in one version of bash be
   imported into other versions?

2. Is it necessary for exported functions to be able to transition
   through other processes and back into bash, or is function export
   intended to support bash-invoked-from-bash only?

3. Is it necessary for non-bash processes to be able to define
   functions for a bash child?

4. Is it necessary for non-bash processes to be able to import
   functions from a bash parent?

5. Once a function is defined or imported, is it important that we be
   able to reproduce byte-for-byte the input that was used to define

6. Is it important that bash be required to import every function
   defined in the parent process?

7. Is it important to signal function import failure at startup time,
   or is it ok to defer parsing until the first attempt to invoke the

Does anyone have further use cases to discuss?

-- Eric Kobrin

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