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Manual Pages  — MINHERIT

NAME

minherit – control the inheritance of pages

CONTENTS

LIBRARY

Standard C Library (libc, -lc)

SYNOPSIS

#include <sys/mman.h>

int
minherit(void *addr, size_t len, int inherit);

DESCRIPTION

The minherit() system call changes the specified pages to have the inheritance characteristic inherit. Not all implementations will guarantee that the inheritance characteristic can be set on a page basis; the granularity of changes may be as large as an entire region. FreeBSD is capable of adjusting inheritance characteristics on a page basis. Inheritance only effects children created by fork(). It has no effect on exec(). exec'd processes replace their address space entirely. This system call also has no effect on the parent's address space (other than to potentially share the address space with its children).

Inheritance is a rather esoteric feature largely superseded by the MAP_SHARED feature of mmap(). However, it is possible to use minherit() to share a block of memory between parent and child that has been mapped MAP_PRIVATE. That is, modifications made by parent or child are shared but the original underlying file is left untouched.
INHERIT_SHARE
  This option causes the address space in question to be shared between parent and child. It has no effect on how the original underlying backing store was mapped.
INHERIT_NONE This option prevents the address space in question from being inherited at all. The address space will be unmapped in the child.
INHERIT_COPY This option causes the child to inherit the address space as copy-on-write. This option also has an unfortunate side effect of causing the parent address space to become copy-on-write when the parent forks. If the original mapping was MAP_SHARED, it will no longer be shared in the parent after the parent forks and there is no way to get the previous shared-backing-store mapping without unmapping and remapping the address space in the parent.
INHERIT_ZERO This option causes the address space in question to be mapped as new anonymous pages, which would be initialized to all zero bytes, in the child process.

RETURN VALUES

The minherit function returns the value 0 if successful; otherwise the value -1 is returned and the global variable errno is set to indicate the error.

ERRORS

The minherit() system call will fail if:
[EINVAL]
  The virtual address range specified by the addr and len arguments is not valid.
[EACCES]
  The flags specified by the inherit argument were not valid for the pages specified by the addr and len arguments.

SEE ALSO

fork(2), madvise(2), mincore(2), mprotect(2), msync(2), munmap(2), rfork(2)

HISTORY

The minherit() system call first appeared in OpenBSD and then in FreeBSD 2.2 .

The INHERIT_ZERO support first appeared in OpenBSD 5.6 and then in FreeBSD 12.0 .

BUGS

Once you set inheritance to MAP_PRIVATE or MAP_SHARED, there is no way to recover the original copy-on-write semantics short of unmapping and remapping the area.

MINHERIT (2) March 15, 2017

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Please direct any comments about this manual page service to Ben Bullock.

A typical Unix /bin or /usr/bin directory contains a hundred different kinds of programs, written by dozens of egotistical programmers, each with its own syntax, operating paradigm, rules of use ... strategies for specifying options, and different sets of constraints.
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