Commit bc491c9e authored by intrigeri's avatar intrigeri
Browse files

live-boot: don't mount tmpfs twice on /live/overlay.

With live-boot 3.0.1-1 in Tails 1.4~rc1, /live/overlay appears to be empty both
with ls and df. It feels wrong, because that's where the read-write branch of
our aufs mount lives, and there must be data in there.

We actually have _two_ tmpfs mounted there, as live-boot mounts stuff twice on

 - with `mount -t tmpfs tmpfs /live/overlay` (line 159 in ``)
 - with `mount -t tmpfs -o rw,noatime,mode=755 tmpfs /live/overlay` (same file,
   line 296)

And then, shortly after, it tries to unmount one of those, leading to a `umount:
can't umount /live/overlay: Device or resource busy` message one can see in
`/var/log/live/boot.log`. My understanding is that the top-most mountpoint
umount sees is the one used for the root aufs).

Then, live-boot runs `mount -o move /live/overlay /root/lib/live/mount/overlay`
_twice_, which is expected given live-boot does that for every mount (since
commit d2b2a461 in live-boot Git).

With all this in mind, my understanding is that the first tmpfs that was mounted
is `mount -o move`'d last, so it hides the one that was mounted last, which is
actually the one that's used as the read-write branch of the root filesystem's
union mount.

This raises two practical problems:

1. One cannot inspect how much space is used, at a given time, in the read-write
   branch of the root filesystem's union mount. Probably almost nobody cares,
   expect developers who want to analyze performance issues / resource
   consumption, and power users who want to check whether they have enough room
   left e.g. to download a large file. Admittedly, if this problem was the only
   one, I would not have bothered spending so much time in live-boot's source
   code to go through this analysis. Sadly, this is not the case:

2. As far as AppArmor policy is concerned, in theory the more files are hidden,
   the better. However:

   * if this (arguably buggy) live-boot behavior change under our feet in the
     future, then our AppArmor policy may suddenly be more open than we would
     like; therefore, it would be better to fix that bug ourselves now, so that
     we can analyze the consequences of exposing the read-write branch's
     content, _and_ adjust our AppArmor policy accordingly at the same time;

   * I'm not 100% sure how AppArmor policy applies to such stacked mounts:  e.g.
     if some file was left open in an underlying mount, its file handle might be
     used by some application to access other files (that we might otherwise
     believe are not accessible). This kind of things is pretty hard for me to
     reason about (I lack the corresponding low-level system skills). So, better
     expose these files, and then we'll be able to actually *test* and confirm
     what's the real-world effect of potentially letting applications access
     them (mediated by DAC and MAC, of course), and again, adjust DAC
     permissions and AppArmor policy as needed.

Now, about the actual change. Ideally we would "simply" invert the order of the
`mount -o move' operations. However, the two mounts have the same mountpoint,
and the only way we have to differentiate them is the options they were
mounted with. Given another programming language, I would just do it, but
with POSIX shell, oh well.

So, this patch simply comments out the first command that mounts a tmpfs on
/live/overlay. This is not applicable for upstream, because the large chunk of
code that's before this command and the other tmpfs mount on /live/overlay needs
such an active mount in use cases we don't care about, and even if it did not,
then this could change in the future -- and anyway, there must be a good reason
for mounting /live/overlay this early in the general case, right? :) But for us
it's OK, because the only operations before these two mount commands are about
persistence enabled at initramfs time, which we do not support and explicitly
disable on the kernel command-line.

Refs: #8007
parent a6980b7c
diff --git a/scripts/boot/ b/scripts/boot/
index 098111c..e1cfd15 100755
--- a/lib/live/boot/
+++ b/lib/live/boot/
@@ -156,7 +156,7 @@ setup_unionfs ()
# tmpfs file systems
touch /etc/fstab
mkdir -p /live/overlay
- mount -t tmpfs tmpfs /live/overlay
+ # mount -t tmpfs tmpfs /live/overlay
# Looking for persistence devices or files
if [ -n "${PERSISTENCE}" ] && [ -z "${NOPERSISTENCE}" ]
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