More Driver Questions :-)

Bruce Fitzsimons Bruce@REDACTED
Thu Aug 30 11:29:09 CEST 2001


Firstly thanks to Ulf and Raimo for their response to my process limits
questions, your responses were really useful - I just need to find some time
to implement it now...

My next question is about linked-in drivers. Sean, Vance and Raimo have had
lots of interesting discussions that I have been following with interest as
I have my own pet driver for connecting Erlang to Dialogic telephony boards
(analog pots api) under Linux.

Its actually nearing a stage where I can post it on sourceforge and people
can comment on my crap code and design :-)

Anyway I have an important question about scope and visibility of the buffer
passed to driver_output.

In my case I have a signal handler in my driver that is invoked on Dialogic
events (onhook/offhook/answer etc). It suspends the signal on entry and
releases on exit inside the handler to avoid re-entrancy problems.

However my driver is consistently but randomly crashing Erlang with
segfault. From one core dump it appeared to be inside real erlang doing
memcpy's with insanely large lengths (Eg corrupt memory) and sometimes I get
corrupted data posted to the erlang half of the driver (even once I got a
complete debug statement instead of the data).

I get about 50-200 calls (on an 8 port system) before crashing. Changing the
buffer inside the signal handler to be static improved the runtime but did
not eliminate the problem.

My signal handler uses a local heap buffer of 1024 bytes which is sprintf's
into and then uses driver_output to sent it to erlang (length =


     case DX_OFFHOOK:
       sprintf(output_string, "%02d%02dOFFHOOK", board, channel);
     case DX_ONHOOK:
       sprintf(output_string, "%02d%02dONHOOK", board, channel);
       sprintf(output_string, "%02d%02dERROR SETHOOK", board, channel);
    driver_output(erlang_port, error_string, strlen(error_string));

Is it possible that a rapid series of signals to the signal handler could
corrupt the buffer that Erlang has? i.e. Does Erlang copy this buffer or use
it by reference? Does it copy it immediately (before driver_output returns)?

Should I be using reference-counted binaries for this (it seems a whole lot

It is of course possible that the dialogic drivers themselves are doing
something bad, they are not known for perfect reliability, but my own driver
code does no dynamic memory allocation at all (I wanted to avoid this
problem completely).

These drivers will be EPL'd and up on sourceforge under the name erlogic
eventually...they're pretty hacky at the moment though


More information about the erlang-questions mailing list