Part 2! Request for help / ideas to debug issue

John Lenton john.lenton at
Mon Mar 13 12:59:32 UTC 2017

This one is slightly more interesting.

You need 1.8 (or patched <1.8 as per the previous thread) for this one
to make sense; without it you're just going to get drowned in warning
messages and not see the real issue.

This one is the real issue :-)

In go, when calling syscall.Exec to a setuid root binary, sometimes
(about 4% of the times, on my machine, but it's hardware- and
load-dependent), the exec'ed process will find itself running with
effective uid different to zero. That is, a setuid root binary will
find itself running as non-root. As the process that sets up
confinement is setuid root (in distros where setuid is favoured over
capabilities), this means the snap app falls on its face.

    TODO: check if something similar happens when using caps

This is *probably* a bug in Go, but it only seems to arise when using
syscall.Exec, which as far as I can tell is unsupported (the whole
syscall package is unsupported -- not covered by the go1 compatibility
promise -- and its replacement,, is ominously
missing Exec).

Having said that, it might be a bug in the kernel ;-)
And I say this because if you pin the process to a single cpu, the
issue doesn't arise.

Anyway, code to repro this is at

on my machine,

$ for i in `seq -w 9999`; do ./a_c; done | wc -l
$ for i in `seq -w 9999`; do ./a_go; done | wc -l


$ for i in `seq -w 9999`; do taskset 2 ./a_go; done | wc -l


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