System.Net.Sockets.Socket question

System.Net.Sockets.Socket question

Post by Rick Parri » Sat, 23 Jan 2010 03:00:55


I have an application that accepts an existing socket connection
(passed to it by the server that actually accepted the incoming
connection), and I'm trying to find a way to have the application NOT
close the socket when it terminates.

So basically what I've done is created a class that inherits from
System.Net.Sockets.Socket. In the .NET source code I can see that the
Dispose() method closes the socket if it is still open, so my first
thought was to override the Dispose() method and leave out the socket
closing portion of the code. This failed, so maybe my understanding
of overriding isn't correct, and the base method still gets called?

Anyway, in my trial and error attempts I accidentally stumbled across
a method that works, and seems reliable on my machine, but I'd like
something I can be a little more certain of on other machines.
Basically if I call System.Threading.Thread.Sleep(2500) in my
overridden Dispose(), the connection stays open after the application
terminates.

Like I said, I have no idea if this will hold true on other machines,
which is why I'm wondering if there is an easier/better/more reliable
way to keep a Socket from being closed when an application quits?
 
 
 

System.Net.Sockets.Socket question

Post by Peter Duni » Sat, 23 Jan 2010 03:29:56


IMHO, the first step is to understand better why you think it's a good
idea to leave the socket open. Even if you successfully terminate your
application without closing the socket, the OS is going to notice and
eventually close it on your behalf.

Without seeing the code, it's impossible to know for sure why one
approach you tried had the appearance of the effect you wanted while
another did not. It's possible that your call to Sleep() delayed the
finalizer thread enough that the run-time just gave up on it, thus
interrupting the disposal (but also the finalization of EVERY OTHER
OBJECT also needing finalization!).

But really, I think it would be more useful to try to discuss whatever
actual problem you're trying to solve, than this particular solution to
the problem you've decided upon. The solution you're trying to
implement seems like a bad idea in any case, and once your process has
terminated, it's unlikely to have any specific lasting effect (i.e.
probably won't do what you seem to want it to do anyway).

Pete

 
 
 

System.Net.Sockets.Socket question

Post by Rick Parri » Sat, 23 Jan 2010 03:59:44

> IMHO, the first step is to understand better why you think it's a good

Any experience with old BBS Software? Basically I'm looking to make a
modern equivalent. So I have a telnet server accepting telnet
connections, and after connecting, a user may want to run an external
program. So the server launches the program and passes the socket
handle so the program can communicate with the user. When the program
quits, the user should go back to the telnet server so they can do
something else, but if the program closes the socket, then the user is
just disconnected.

I implemented this long ago in Delphi, so I know the OS will allow
what I want, now it's just a matter of whether the Socket class can do
what I want, or if I'll have to rewrite it for this one stupid little
feature.


This is what I was thinking, and also why I'm looking for a better
solution
 
 
 

System.Net.Sockets.Socket question

Post by Patric » Sat, 23 Jan 2010 04:11:24

Hi,


It would be similar to leaving a file open even if the app is terminated. I
would not be surprised if it was just not possible as AFAIK all resources
owned by a process are supposed to be cleaned up when the process dies...

You may want to explain *** what is your overall goal...
 
 
 

System.Net.Sockets.Socket question

Post by Peter Duni » Sat, 23 Jan 2010 04:15:26


That doesn't make sense. Socket handles are valid only within the
owning process. You have to use WSADuplicateSocket(), directly or
indirectly, to marshal the socket information to another process for it
to use the socket.

Note that when using WSADuplicateSocket(), one process can close the
socket without affecting the other. They share the same socket
instance, and the OS keeps track of how many processes are using the
socket, only actually closing the socket when the last process is done
with it.

(Obviously you can't use the .NET method Socket.DuplicateAndClose(),
because it automatically closes the socket in the current process; but
the unmanaged Winsock API supports leaving the duplicated socket open).


Frankly, I'm still not even sure sharing a socket is the best approach.
A much more common approach would be to make the external process use
stdin and stdout, and have the original parent process be the only one
using the socket. This avoids having to deal with any synchronization
issues between processes sharing the socket, and provides a more
general-purpose interface too. The parent process can just redirect the
input and output to the child process, and handle all the communications
with the remote endpoint itself, proxying communications between the
remote endpoint and the child process.

Pete
 
 
 

System.Net.Sockets.Socket question

Post by Rick Parri » Sat, 23 Jan 2010 04:33:15

> That doesn't make sense. ocket handles are valid only within the

Using CreateProcess() with bInheritHandles=true allows the child to
use the socket, and I guess that must be what Process.Start() does
when ProcessStartInfo.UseShellExecute=false. I'll have to try using
WSADuplicateSocket() later tonight.


That sounds like exactly what I'd need then.


I'd agree there are better ways, but there are several telnet servers
already available that may not support those other ways. The only one
they all have in common is sharing a socket, so that's what I'm stuck
with.
 
 
 

System.Net.Sockets.Socket question

Post by Peter Duni » Sat, 23 Jan 2010 08:31:53


Huh? I don't have time to try it now, butre you saying that _by
default_, doing nothing special, not only is the underlying SOCKET
handle in the Socket class inheritable, but the Process class is
starting the process with bInheritHandles set to TRUE?

That sounds like a very serious security bug to me. Want access to some
inheritable handle in a process that starts other processes? No
problemust replace a known target child process executable with your
own, and voil carte blanche access.

Can you post a concise-but-complete code example demonstrating it?
>> [...] >>> Frankly, I'm still not even sure sharing a socket is the best approach. >> >> I'd agree there are better ways, but there are several telnet servers >> already available that may not support those other ways. The only one >> they all have in common is sharing a socket, so that's what I'm stuck >> with.

I guess I don't really get why, just because other telnet servers
implement it this way, you feel yours needs to. The way I suggested is
more general purpose (works with any random console application), while
depending on handle inheritance requires the cooperation of the child
process (you still need to pass the handle value to the child process,
so it knows _which_ handle to use).

But, whateverf you insist on doing this, I guess you can share handles
if you like. I also don't understand why an inherited handle wouldn't
have the same behavior as a duplicated one; that is, it should have to
be closed in all processes in which it's valid before the OS object is
actually closed. But since it's not a technique I'd use in this way,
I'm not going to worry too much about that. :)

Pete
 
 
 

System.Net.Sockets.Socket question

Post by Rick Parri » Sat, 23 Jan 2010 10:48:06

> Huh? don't have time to try it now, butre you saying that _by

Just had a look at Process.cs in the .NET source, and yes, if
UseShellExecute=false then Process.Start() will instead use
CreateProcess(), and in that case, bInheritHandles is hardcoded to
true.


It's not that I necessarily want to do things the same way other
telnet servers do it, it's that I have to if I want to maintain
compatibility with them. The 3rd party programs made with this code
could be used under one of many different telnet servers, and while
one does actually support communicating via standard input/output, the
rest only use shared sockets. Passing the handle value to the child
process is standard amongst off the servers, so that's not a problem.


My guess is that the OS probably doesn't track when inherited handles
are used in multiple processes. It's easy for it to know when
duplicated handles are used, since WSADuplicateSocket() and WSASocket
() have to be used, but with inherited handles I can just pass the ID
of the socket from the parent to the child, and then directly use send
(ID, ...) without doing anything extra.

In the end I've decided just to write my own stripped down Socket.cs
that won't close on dispose. Bit more work than I was hoping for, but
it'll give me the most control.
 
 
 

System.Net.Sockets.Socket question

Post by Rick Parri » Tue, 26 Jan 2010 23:05:36

Just for future reference (not that I expect many people will be
interested), I found a much simpler solution that isn't as
questionable as Thread.Sleep(2500) or as much work as creating an
entirely new Socket.cs:

// FSocket is my System.Net.Socket
object m_Handle = typeof(Socket).GetField("m_Handle",
BindingFlags.NonPublic | BindingFlags.Instance).GetValue(FSocket);
Assembly SystemAssembly = Assembly.LoadFile(@"C:\WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET
\Framework\v2.0.50727\System.dll");
SystemAssembly.GetType("System.Net.SafeCloseSocket").GetField
("m_InnerSocket", BindingFlags.NonPublic |
BindingFlags.Instance).SetValue(m_Handle, null);

In Socket.cs, m_Handle is a private field of type SafeCloseSocket,
which in turn has a private field called m_InnerSocket. The above 3
lines effectively set m_InnserSocket to null, so when the cleanup code
occurs, it bypasses the call to closesocket(), leaving our inherited
handle intact when the program terminates.
 
 
 

System.Net.Sockets.Socket question

Post by Peter Duni » Wed, 27 Jan 2010 02:30:54


Quite frankly, that is an _awful_ solution. It is entirely
implementation dependent, and likely to fail to work in some future
version of .NET. It definitely is "as questionable as" using
Thread.Sleep().

It's bad enough you find yourself needing to share socket handles
between processes. Don't compound the problem by using reflection to
get at implementation dependent particulars that could change at any time.

If you insist on relying on a handle-sharing implementation for your own
code, at least do it in a reliable way, such as providing your own
socket implementation that allows you to leave a socket unclosed.

Of course, even doing that you have failed to take into account the fact
that the _unmanaged_ object is still effectively managed by the OS, and
will still be closed at some point after your process exits. But if for
some reason not closing it explicitly when your process exits lets it
live long enough for your purposes, then at least achieve that goal in a
reliable way.

Pete
 
 
 

System.Net.Sockets.Socket question

Post by Rick Parri » Fri, 29 Jan 2010 00:49:02

> Quite frankly, that is an _awful_ solution. t is entirely

Excellent point. This was the first time I'd tried using reflection,
and I was so happy it worked that the thought didn't even occur to me
that it'll likely break down the road. So I've implemented my own
Socket class, and all is well now.


Maybe I'm wrong, but I would think the OS will let it live until the
parent process has exited as well (which won't happen until some time
after the child process does).
 
 
 

System.Net.Sockets.Socket question

Post by Peter Duni » Fri, 29 Jan 2010 03:06:48


Time will tell.

I admit, I am so skeptical of the overall approach, I haven't really
bothered to look into it in detail. But, the only reason I can think of
that the OS would let a handle in one process stay open after the
process exits is if the OS is specifically tracking how many processes
are using the handle, and on the basis of a count of such processes,
leaves the handle open until the count is 0.

But, if the OS is doing that, I would expect the OS to also use that
logic when any given process closes the handle. This is in fact the
documented behavior for inheritable handles generally. So if you have a
situation where the OS isn't doing what the docs appear to say it would
normally do, I don't think you can count on the OS also doing the same
kind of thing when the handle would be closed implicitly due to process
exit.

However, that's all pure speculation. If it seems to work for you and
you're happy with the solution, go for it. :)

Pete
 
 
 

System.Net.Sockets.Socket question

Post by Rick Parri » Sat, 30 Jan 2010 04:34:50

> I have an application that accepts an existing socket connection

Ironically enough, the way to stop the socket from closing is to call
Socket.Close()!

After much more testing and stepping through code I found
Socket.Dispose() calls shutdown(), and this is what was disconnecting
the user. Calling Socket.Close() will call closesocket() without
calling shutdown(), which leaves the connection open, and so then when
the Socket is disposed, shutdown() doesn't get called since Close()
has already been called.