Re: [PATCH] to deal with bad dev->refcnt in unregister_netdevice()

Thomas Hood (
Mon, 12 Feb 2001 07:53:15 -0500

This bug was fixed by "acme" in 2.4.1-ac10. :)
The ipx driver now increments refcnt on NETDEV_UP to
match downing the interface on NETDEV_DOWN.

Thanks all.

> Okay, I now know the cause of this problem. It's a bug in
> the ipx driver. (This also closes pcmcia-cs bug #126563.)
> Through copious use of printk()s I was able to track down
> the point at which the dev->refcnt for my card was being
> erroneously decremented. It was being erroneously decremented
> by "notifier_call_chain(&netdev_chain, NETDEV_DOWN, dev);"
> near the end of the "dev_close()" function in net/core/dev.c.
> This indicated that one of the registered notifiers
> was doing an improper "dev_put()". I rmmod-ed the ipx module
> from my system and the problem magically disappeared. The
> refcnt is no longer inappropriately decremented and there
> are no more inappropriate calls to netdev_finish_unregister()
> in the absence of a prior call to unregister_netdevice()
> (which is what resulted in the "Freeing alive device" messages).
> Where is the bug? It is in the ipx driver. When I configure
> eth0 for ipx, the device gets added to the ipx driver's linked
> list of devices headed at "ipx_interfaces". The ipx driver
> registers the following function to be notified of net events.
> It's clear that the ipx driver will do a __ipxitf_put (which
> decrements dev-refcnt and does a dev_put() on dev) every time
> eth0 is taken down with "ifconfig eth0 down"! That would be
> okay, I guess, if the opposite were done on an "ifconfig eth0 up"
> but it isn't. This needs to be fixed somehow. I'll leave it
> up to the maintainers and other gurus to figure out how. In
> the meantime I'll just avoid using ipx.
> ---------------- net/ipx/af_ipx.c ---------------------------
> static int ipxitf_device_event(struct notifier_block *notifier,
> unsigned long event, void *ptr)
> {
> struct net_device *dev = ptr;
> ipx_interface *i, *tmp;
> if (event != NETDEV_DOWN)
> return NOTIFY_DONE;
> spin_lock_bh(&ipx_interfaces_lock);
> for (i = ipx_interfaces; i;) {
> tmp = i->if_next;
> if (i->if_dev == dev)
> __ipxitf_put(i);
> i = tmp;
> }
> spin_unlock_bh(&ipx_interfaces_lock);
> return NOTIFY_DONE;
> }
> --------------------------------------------------------------
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