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       user_namespaces - overview of Linux user namespaces


       For an overview of namespaces, see namespaces(7).

       User  namespaces  isolate security-related identifiers and attributes, in particular, user
       IDs and group IDs (see credentials(7)), the root directory, keys  (see  keyrings(7)),  and
       capabilities  (see  capabilities(7)).   A  process's  user  and group IDs can be different
       inside and outside a  user  namespace.   In  particular,  a  process  can  have  a  normal
       unprivileged user ID outside a user namespace while at the same time having a user ID of 0
       inside the namespace; in other words, the  process  has  full  privileges  for  operations
       inside the user namespace, but is unprivileged for operations outside the namespace.

   Nested namespaces, namespace membership
       User  namespaces  can  be nested; that is, each user namespace—except the initial ("root")
       namespace—has a parent user namespace, and can have zero or more  child  user  namespaces.
       The  parent  user  namespace  is  the  user namespace of the process that creates the user
       namespace via a call to unshare(2) or clone(2) with the CLONE_NEWUSER flag.

       The kernel imposes (since version 3.11) a limit of 32 nested levels  of  user  namespaces.
       Calls  to  unshare(2) or clone(2) that would cause this limit to be exceeded fail with the
       error EUSERS.

       Each process is a member of exactly one user namespace.  A process created via fork(2)  or
       clone(2)  without  the  CLONE_NEWUSER  flag  is a member of the same user namespace as its
       parent.  A single-threaded process can join another user namespace with setns(2) if it has
       the CAP_SYS_ADMIN in that namespace; upon doing so, it gains a full set of capabilities in
       that namespace.

       A call to clone(2) or unshare(2) with the CLONE_NEWUSER flag makes the new  child  process
       (for  clone(2))  or the caller (for unshare(2)) a member of the new user namespace created
       by the call.

       The NS_GET_PARENT ioctl(2) operation can be used to  discover  the  parental  relationship
       between user namespaces; see ioctl_ns(2).

       The  child  process  created  by  clone(2)  with  the CLONE_NEWUSER flag starts out with a
       complete set of capabilities in the new user namespace.  Likewise, a process that  creates
       a  new  user namespace using unshare(2) or joins an existing user namespace using setns(2)
       gains a full set of capabilities in that namespace.  On the other hand, that  process  has
       no  capabilities  in  the  parent  (in  the  case of clone(2)) or previous (in the case of
       unshare(2) and setns(2)) user namespace, even if the new namespace is created or joined by
       the root user (i.e., a process with user ID 0 in the root namespace).

       Note  that  a  call to execve(2) will cause a process's capabilities to be recalculated in
       the usual way (see capabilities(7)).  Consequently, unless the process has a user ID of  0
       within the namespace, or the executable file has a nonempty inheritable capabilities mask,
       the process will lose all capabilities.  See the discussion of user and group ID mappings,

       A  call  to clone(2) or unshare(2) using the CLONE_NEWUSER flag or a call to setns(2) that
       moves  the  caller  into  another  user  namespace  sets  the  "securebits"   flags   (see
       capabilities(7))  to their default values (all flags disabled) in the child (for clone(2))
       or caller (for unshare(2) or setns(2)).  Note  that  because  the  caller  no  longer  has
       capabilities  in  its original user namespace after a call to setns(2), it is not possible
       for a process  to  reset  its  "securebits"  flags  while  retaining  its  user  namespace
       membership  by  using  a pair of setns(2) calls to move to another user namespace and then
       return to its original user namespace.

       The rules for determining whether or not a process has a capability in a  particular  user
       namespace are as follows:

       1. A  process has a capability inside a user namespace if it is a member of that namespace
          and it has the capability  in  its  effective  capability  set.   A  process  can  gain
          capabilities  in  its  effective  capability  set in various ways.  For example, it may
          execute a set-user-ID program or an executable with associated file  capabilities.   In
          addition,  a  process  may gain capabilities via the effect of clone(2), unshare(2), or
          setns(2), as already described.

       2. If a process has a capability in a user namespace, then it has that capability  in  all
          child (and further removed descendant) namespaces as well.

       3. When  a  user  namespace  is  created,  the kernel records the effective user ID of the
          creating process as being the "owner" of the namespace.  A process that resides in  the
          parent  of  the  user  namespace  and  whose effective user ID matches the owner of the
          namespace has all capabilities in the namespace.  By virtue of the previous rule,  this
          means  that  the  process  has  all capabilities in all further removed descendant user
          namespaces as well.  The NS_GET_OWNER_UID ioctl(2) operation can be  used  to  discover
          the user ID of the owner of the namespace; see ioctl_ns(2).

   Effect of capabilities within a user namespace
       Having  a capability inside a user namespace permits a process to perform operations (that
       require privilege) only on resources governed by that namespace.  In other words, having a
       capability  in  a  user  namespace  permits  a process to perform privileged operations on
       resources that are governed by (nonuser) namespaces owned by (associated  with)  the  user
       namespace (see the next subsection).

       On the other hand, there are many privileged operations that affect resources that are not
       associated with any namespace type, for example, changing the system (i.e., calendar) time
       (governed  by  CAP_SYS_TIME),  loading  a  kernel module (governed by CAP_SYS_MODULE), and
       creating a device (governed by CAP_MKNOD).  Only a process with privileges in the  initial
       user namespace can perform such operations.

       Holding  CAP_SYS_ADMIN  within  the  user  namespace that owns a process's mount namespace
       allows that process to create bind mounts and mount the following types of filesystems:

           * /proc (since Linux 3.8)
           * /sys (since Linux 3.8)
           * devpts (since Linux 3.9)
           * tmpfs(5) (since Linux 3.9)
           * ramfs (since Linux 3.9)
           * mqueue (since Linux 3.9)
           * bpf (since Linux 4.4)

       Holding CAP_SYS_ADMIN within the user namespace that owns  a  process's  cgroup  namespace
       allows  (since  Linux  4.6)  that process to the mount the cgroup version 2 filesystem and
       cgroup version 1 named hierarchies (i.e., cgroup filesystems mounted with the "none,name="

       Holding CAP_SYS_ADMIN within the user namespace that owns a process's PID namespace allows
       (since Linux 3.8) that process to mount /proc filesystems.

       Note however, that mounting block-based filesystems can be done only  by  a  process  that
       holds CAP_SYS_ADMIN in the initial user namespace.

   Interaction of user namespaces and other types of namespaces
       Starting  in  Linux  3.8, unprivileged processes can create user namespaces, and the other
       types of namespaces can be created with just the CAP_SYS_ADMIN capability in the  caller's
       user namespace.

       When  a  nonuser  namespace  is  created,  it  is owned by the user namespace in which the
       creating process was a member at the time of the creation of  the  namespace.   Privileged
       operations on resources governed by the nonuser namespace require that the process has the
       necessary capabilities in the user namespace that owns the nonuser namespace.

       If CLONE_NEWUSER is specified along with other CLONE_NEW* flags in a  single  clone(2)  or
       unshare(2)  call,  the  user namespace is guaranteed to be created first, giving the child
       (clone(2)) or caller (unshare(2)) privileges over the remaining namespaces created by  the
       call.   Thus,  it  is  possible  for an unprivileged caller to specify this combination of

       When a new namespace (other than a user namespace) is created via clone(2) or  unshare(2),
       the  kernel  records  the  user  namespace of the creating process as the owner of the new
       namespace.  (This association can't be changed.)  When a  process  in  the  new  namespace
       subsequently  performs  privileged operations that operate on global resources isolated by
       the namespace, the permission checks are performed according to the process's capabilities
       in  the  user  namespace  that the kernel associated with the new namespace.  For example,
       suppose that a process attempts  to  change  the  hostname  (sethostname(2)),  a  resource
       governed  by  the  UTS  namespace.   In  this  case,  the kernel will determine which user
       namespace owns the process's UTS namespace, and check whether the process has the required
       capability (CAP_SYS_ADMIN) in that user namespace.

       The  NS_GET_USERNS ioctl(2) operation can be used to discover the user namespace that owns
       a nonuser namespace; see ioctl_ns(2).

   User and group ID mappings: uid_map and gid_map
       When a user namespace is created, it starts out without a mapping of user IDs (group  IDs)
       to  the  parent  user  namespace.   The  /proc/[pid]/uid_map and /proc/[pid]/gid_map files
       (available since Linux 3.5) expose the mappings for user and group  IDs  inside  the  user
       namespace  for  the  process  pid.  These files can be read to view the mappings in a user
       namespace and written to (once) to define the mappings.

       The description in the following paragraphs explains the details for uid_map;  gid_map  is
       exactly the same, but each instance of "user ID" is replaced by "group ID".

       The  uid_map  file  exposes the mapping of user IDs from the user namespace of the process
       pid to the user namespace of the process that opened uid_map (but see a  qualification  to
       this  point  below).  In other words, processes that are in different user namespaces will
       potentially see different values when reading from a particular uid_map file, depending on
       the user ID mappings for the user namespaces of the reading processes.

       Each line in the uid_map file specifies a 1-to-1 mapping of a range of contiguous user IDs
       between two user namespaces.  (When a user  namespace  is  first  created,  this  file  is
       empty.)  The specification in each line takes the form of three numbers delimited by white
       space.  The first two numbers specify the starting  user  ID  in  each  of  the  two  user
       namespaces.   The  third  number specifies the length of the mapped range.  In detail, the
       fields are interpreted as follows:

       (1) The start of the range of user IDs in the user namespace of the process pid.

       (2) The start of the range of user IDs to which the user IDs specified by field  one  map.
           How  field  two  is interpreted depends on whether the process that opened uid_map and
           the process pid are in the same user namespace, as follows:

           a) If the two processes are in different user namespaces: field two is the start of  a
              range of user IDs in the user namespace of the process that opened uid_map.

           b) If  the two processes are in the same user namespace: field two is the start of the
              range of user IDs in the parent user namespace  of  the  process  pid.   This  case
              enables  the opener of uid_map (the common case here is opening /proc/self/uid_map)
              to see the mapping of user IDs into the user namespace of the process that  created
              this user namespace.

       (3) The length of the range of user IDs that is mapped between the two user namespaces.

       System  calls  that return user IDs (group IDs)—for example, getuid(2), getgid(2), and the
       credential fields in the structure returned by  stat(2)—return  the  user  ID  (group  ID)
       mapped into the caller's user namespace.

       When  a  process  accesses a file, its user and group IDs are mapped into the initial user
       namespace for the purpose of permission checking and assigning IDs when creating  a  file.
       When  a  process  retrieves file user and group IDs via stat(2), the IDs are mapped in the
       opposite direction, to produce values relative to the process user and group ID mappings.

       The initial user namespace has no parent  namespace,  but,  for  consistency,  the  kernel
       provides dummy user and group ID mapping files for this namespace.  Looking at the uid_map
       file (gid_map is the same) from a shell in the initial namespace shows:

           $ cat /proc/$$/uid_map
                    0          0 4294967295

       This mapping tells us that the range starting at user ID 0 in this  namespace  maps  to  a
       range  starting at 0 in the (nonexistent) parent namespace, and the length of the range is
       the largest 32-bit unsigned integer.  This leaves 4294967295 (the 32-bit signed -1  value)
       unmapped.    This   is  deliberate:  (uid_t) -1  is  used  in  several  interfaces  (e.g.,
       setreuid(2)) as a way to specify "no user ID".  Leaving (uid_t) -1 unmapped  and  unusable
       guarantees that there will be no confusion when using these interfaces.

   Defining user and group ID mappings: writing to uid_map and gid_map
       After  the  creation  of a new user namespace, the uid_map file of one of the processes in
       the namespace may be written to once to define the mapping of user IDs  in  the  new  user
       namespace.  An attempt to write more than once to a uid_map file in a user namespace fails
       with the error EPERM.  Similar rules apply for gid_map files.

       The lines written to uid_map (gid_map) must conform to the following rules:

       *  The three fields must be valid numbers, and the last field must be greater than 0.

       *  Lines are terminated by newline characters.

       *  There is a limit on the number of lines in the file.  In Linux 4.14 and  earlier,  this
          limit  was (arbitrarily) set at 5 lines.  Since Linux 4.15, the limit is 340 lines.  In
          addition, the number of bytes written to the file must be less  than  the  system  page
          size,  and  the  write  must  be performed at the start of the file (i.e., lseek(2) and
          pwrite(2) can't be used to write to nonzero offsets in the file).

       *  The range of user IDs (group IDs) specified in each line cannot overlap with the ranges
          in  any  other  lines.  In the initial implementation (Linux 3.8), this requirement was
          satisfied by a simplistic implementation that imposed the further requirement that  the
          values  in  both field 1 and field 2 of successive lines must be in ascending numerical
          order, which prevented some otherwise valid maps from being  created.   Linux  3.9  and
          later fix this limitation, allowing any valid set of nonoverlapping maps.

       *  At least one line must be written to the file.

       Writes that violate the above rules fail with the error EINVAL.

       In order for a process to write to the /proc/[pid]/uid_map (/proc/[pid]/gid_map) file, all
       of the following requirements must be met:

       1. The writing process must have  the  CAP_SETUID  (CAP_SETGID)  capability  in  the  user
          namespace of the process pid.

       2. The  writing  process  must either be in the user namespace of the process pid or be in
          the parent user namespace of the process pid.

       3. The mapped user IDs (group IDs) must  in  turn  have  a  mapping  in  the  parent  user

       4. One of the following two cases applies:

          *  Either  the writing process has the CAP_SETUID (CAP_SETGID) capability in the parent
             user namespace.

             +  No further restrictions apply: the process can make mappings  to  arbitrary  user
                IDs (group IDs) in the parent user namespace.

          *  Or otherwise all of the following restrictions apply:

             +  The data written to uid_map (gid_map) must consist of a single line that maps the
                writing process's effective user ID (group ID) in the parent user namespace to  a
                user ID (group ID) in the user namespace.

             +  The  writing  process  must  have  the same effective user ID as the process that
                created the user namespace.

             +  In the case of gid_map, use of the setgroups(2) system call must first be  denied
                by writing "deny" to the /proc/[pid]/setgroups file (see below) before writing to

       Writes that violate the above rules fail with the error EPERM.

   Interaction with system calls that change process UIDs or GIDs
       In a user namespace where the uid_map file has not been written,  the  system  calls  that
       change  user  IDs  will  fail.   Similarly,  if the gid_map file has not been written, the
       system calls that change group IDs will fail.  After the uid_map and  gid_map  files  have
       been  written,  only  the  mapped  values may be used in system calls that change user and
       group IDs.

       For user IDs, the relevant system calls include setuid(2), setfsuid(2),  setreuid(2),  and
       setresuid(2).   For  group  IDs, the relevant system calls include setgid(2), setfsgid(2),
       setregid(2), setresgid(2), and setgroups(2).

       Writing "deny" to the /proc/[pid]/setgroups file  before  writing  to  /proc/[pid]/gid_map
       will   permanently  disable  setgroups(2)  in  a  user  namespace  and  allow  writing  to
       /proc/[pid]/gid_map without having the CAP_SETGID capability in the parent user namespace.

   The /proc/[pid]/setgroups file
       The /proc/[pid]/setgroups file displays the  string  "allow"  if  processes  in  the  user
       namespace  that  contains  the process pid are permitted to employ the setgroups(2) system
       call; it displays "deny" if setgroups(2) is not permitted in that  user  namespace.   Note
       that  regardless  of  the  value  in the /proc/[pid]/setgroups file (and regardless of the
       process's   capabilities),   calls   to   setgroups(2)   are   also   not   permitted   if
       /proc/[pid]/gid_map has not yet been set.

       A  privileged  process  (one with the CAP_SYS_ADMIN capability in the namespace) may write
       either of the strings "allow" or "deny" to this file before writing a group ID mapping for
       this  user  namespace to the file /proc/[pid]/gid_map.  Writing the string "deny" prevents
       any process in the user namespace from employing setgroups(2).

       The essence of the restrictions described  in  the  preceding  paragraph  is  that  it  is
       permitted  to  write  to  /proc/[pid]/setgroups  only  so  long as calling setgroups(2) is
       disallowed because /proc/[pid]/gid_map has not been set.   This  ensures  that  a  process
       cannot transition from a state where setgroups(2) is allowed to a state where setgroups(2)
       is  denied;  a  process  can  transition  only  from  setgroups(2)  being  disallowed   to
       setgroups(2) being allowed.

       The default value of this file in the initial user namespace is "allow".

       Once   /proc/[pid]/gid_map  has  been  written  to  (which  has  the  effect  of  enabling
       setgroups(2) in the user namespace), it is no longer possible to disallow setgroups(2)  by
       writing "deny" to /proc/[pid]/setgroups (the write fails with the error EPERM).

       A child user namespace inherits the /proc/[pid]/setgroups setting from its parent.

       If  the  setgroups  file  has  the  value  "deny", then the setgroups(2) system call can't
       subsequently be reenabled (by writing  "allow"  to  the  file)  in  this  user  namespace.
       (Attempts  to  do so fail with the error EPERM.)  This restriction also propagates down to
       all child user namespaces of this user namespace.

       The /proc/[pid]/setgroups file was added in Linux 3.19, but was backported to many earlier
       stable  kernel  series,  because it addresses a security issue.  The issue concerned files
       with permissions such as "rwx---rwx".  Such files give fewer permissions to  "group"  than
       they  do  to  "other".   This  means that dropping groups using setgroups(2) might allow a
       process file access that  it  did  not  formerly  have.   Before  the  existence  of  user
       namespaces  this  was  not  a  concern,  since  only  a  privileged  process (one with the
       CAP_SETGID capability) could call setgroups(2).  However, with the  introduction  of  user
       namespaces,  it  became  possible for an unprivileged process to create a new namespace in
       which the user had all privileges.  This then allowed formerly unprivileged users to  drop
       groups   and   thus   gain   file   access   that  they  did  not  previously  have.   The
       /proc/[pid]/setgroups file was added to  address  this  security  issue,  by  denying  any
       pathway for an unprivileged process to drop groups with setgroups(2).

   Unmapped user and group IDs
       There  are  various  places  where  an  unmapped user ID (group ID) may be exposed to user
       space.  For example, the first process in a new user namespace may call getuid(2) before a
       user  ID mapping has been defined for the namespace.  In most such cases, an unmapped user
       ID is converted to the overflow user ID (group ID); the default  value  for  the  overflow
       user  ID  (group  ID)  is 65534.  See the descriptions of /proc/sys/kernel/overflowuid and
       /proc/sys/kernel/overflowgid in proc(5).

       The cases where unmapped IDs are mapped in this fashion include system calls  that  return
       user  IDs  (getuid(2),  getgid(2),  and  similar),  credentials  passed over a UNIX domain
       socket, credentials returned by stat(2), waitid(2), and the System V  IPC  "ctl"  IPC_STAT
       operations,  credentials  exposed  by /proc/[pid]/status and the files in /proc/sysvipc/*,
       credentials returned via the si_uid field in the siginfo_t received  with  a  signal  (see
       sigaction(2)),  credentials  written  to  the  process  accounting file (see acct(5)), and
       credentials returned with POSIX message queue notifications (see mq_notify(3)).

       There is one notable case where unmapped user and group  IDs  are  not  converted  to  the
       corresponding overflow ID value.  When viewing a uid_map or gid_map file in which there is
       no mapping for the second field, that field is displayed as 4294967295 (-1 as an  unsigned

   Accessing files
       In  order  to  determine  permissions  when  an  unprivileged process accesses a file, the
       process credentials (UID, GID) and the file credentials are in effect mapped back to  what
       they would be in the initial user namespace and then compared to determine the permissions
       that the process has on the file.  The same is also  of  other  objects  that  employ  the
       credentials plus permissions mask accessibility model, such as System V IPC objects

   Operation of file-related capabilities
       Certain  capabilities  allow a process to bypass various kernel-enforced restrictions when
       performing operations on files owned by other users or groups.   These  capabilities  are:

       Within  a  user  namespace,  these capabilities allow a process to bypass the rules if the
       process has the relevant capability over the file, meaning that:

       *  the process has the relevant effective capability in its user namespace; and

       *  the file's user ID and group ID both have valid mappings in the user namespace.

       The CAP_FOWNER capability is treated somewhat exceptionally: it allows a process to bypass
       the  corresponding  rules so long as at least the file's user ID has a mapping in the user
       namespace (i.e., the file's group ID does not need to have a valid mapping).

   Set-user-ID and set-group-ID programs
       When a process inside a user namespace executes a set-user-ID (set-group-ID) program,  the
       process's  effective  user (group) ID inside the namespace is changed to whatever value is
       mapped for the user (group) ID of the file.  However, if either the user or the  group  ID
       of  the  file  has  no mapping inside the namespace, the set-user-ID (set-group-ID) bit is
       silently ignored: the new program is executed, but the process's effective user (group) ID
       is left unchanged.  (This mirrors the semantics of executing a set-user-ID or set-group-ID
       program that resides on a  filesystem  that  was  mounted  with  the  MS_NOSUID  flag,  as
       described in mount(2).)

       When a process's user and group IDs are passed over a UNIX domain socket to a process in a
       different user namespace (see the description of SCM_CREDENTIALS  in  unix(7)),  they  are
       translated  into the corresponding values as per the receiving process's user and group ID


       Namespaces are a Linux-specific feature.


       Over the years, there have been a lot of features that have been added to the Linux kernel
       that  have  been  made  available  only  to privileged users because of their potential to
       confuse set-user-ID-root applications.  In general, it becomes safe to allow the root user
       in  a  user  namespace  to  use  those  features because it is impossible, while in a user
       namespace, to gain more privilege than the root user of a user namespace has.

       Use of user namespaces requires a  kernel  that  is  configured  with  the  CONFIG_USER_NS
       option.  User namespaces require support in a range of subsystems across the kernel.  When
       an unsupported subsystem is configured into the kernel, it is not  possible  to  configure
       user namespaces support.

       As  at  Linux  3.8,  most  relevant  subsystems supported user namespaces, but a number of
       filesystems did not have the infrastructure needed to map user and group IDs between  user
       namespaces.  Linux 3.9 added the required infrastructure support for many of the remaining
       unsupported filesystems (Plan 9 (9P), Andrew File System (AFS), Ceph, CIFS, CODA, NFS, and
       OCFS2).  Linux 3.12 added support for the last of the unsupported major filesystems, XFS.


       The  program  below  is  designed  to allow experimenting with user namespaces, as well as
       other types of namespaces.  It creates namespaces as specified by command-line options and
       then executes a command inside those namespaces.  The comments and usage() function inside
       the program provide a full explanation  of  the  program.   The  following  shell  session
       demonstrates its use.

       First, we look at the run-time environment:

           $ uname -rs     # Need Linux 3.8 or later
           Linux 3.8.0
           $ id -u         # Running as unprivileged user
           $ id -g

       Now  start a new shell in new user (-U), mount (-m), and PID (-p) namespaces, with user ID
       (-M) and group ID (-G) 1000 mapped to 0 inside the user namespace:

           $ ./userns_child_exec -p -m -U -M '0 1000 1' -G '0 1000 1' bash

       The shell has PID 1, because it is the first process in the new PID namespace:

           bash$ echo $$

       Mounting a new /proc filesystem and listing all of the processes visible in  the  new  PID
       namespace shows that the shell can't see any processes outside the PID namespace:

           bash$ mount -t proc proc /proc
           bash$ ps ax
             PID TTY      STAT   TIME COMMAND
               1 pts/3    S      0:00 bash
              22 pts/3    R+     0:00 ps ax

       Inside  the user namespace, the shell has user and group ID 0, and a full set of permitted
       and effective capabilities:

           bash$ cat /proc/$$/status | egrep '^[UG]id'
           Uid: 0    0    0    0
           Gid: 0    0    0    0
           bash$ cat /proc/$$/status | egrep '^Cap(Prm|Inh|Eff)'
           CapInh:   0000000000000000
           CapPrm:   0000001fffffffff
           CapEff:   0000001fffffffff

   Program source

       /* userns_child_exec.c

          Licensed under GNU General Public License v2 or later

          Create a child process that executes a shell command in new
          namespace(s); allow UID and GID mappings to be specified when
          creating a user namespace.
       #define _GNU_SOURCE
       #include <sched.h>
       #include <unistd.h>
       #include <stdint.h>
       #include <stdlib.h>
       #include <sys/wait.h>
       #include <signal.h>
       #include <fcntl.h>
       #include <stdio.h>
       #include <string.h>
       #include <limits.h>
       #include <errno.h>

       /* A simple error-handling function: print an error message based
          on the value in 'errno' and terminate the calling process */

       #define errExit(msg)    do { perror(msg); exit(EXIT_FAILURE); \
                               } while (0)

       struct child_args {
           char **argv;        /* Command to be executed by child, with args */
           int    pipe_fd[2];  /* Pipe used to synchronize parent and child */

       static int verbose;

       static void
       usage(char *pname)
           fprintf(stderr, "Usage: %s [options] cmd [arg...]\n\n", pname);
           fprintf(stderr, "Create a child process that executes a shell "
                   "command in a new user namespace,\n"
                   "and possibly also other new namespace(s).\n\n");
           fprintf(stderr, "Options can be:\n\n");
       #define fpe(str) fprintf(stderr, "    %s", str);
           fpe("-i          New IPC namespace\n");
           fpe("-m          New mount namespace\n");
           fpe("-n          New network namespace\n");
           fpe("-p          New PID namespace\n");
           fpe("-u          New UTS namespace\n");
           fpe("-U          New user namespace\n");
           fpe("-M uid_map  Specify UID map for user namespace\n");
           fpe("-G gid_map  Specify GID map for user namespace\n");
           fpe("-z          Map user's UID and GID to 0 in user namespace\n");
           fpe("            (equivalent to: -M '0 <uid> 1' -G '0 <gid> 1')\n");
           fpe("-v          Display verbose messages\n");
           fpe("If -z, -M, or -G is specified, -U is required.\n");
           fpe("It is not permitted to specify both -z and either -M or -G.\n");
           fpe("Map strings for -M and -G consist of records of the form:\n");
           fpe("    ID-inside-ns   ID-outside-ns   len\n");
           fpe("A map string can contain multiple records, separated"
               " by commas;\n");
           fpe("the commas are replaced by newlines before writing"
               " to map files.\n");


       /* Update the mapping file 'map_file', with the value provided in
          'mapping', a string that defines a UID or GID mapping. A UID or
          GID mapping consists of one or more newline-delimited records
          of the form:

              ID_inside-ns    ID-outside-ns   length

          Requiring the user to supply a string that contains newlines is
          of course inconvenient for command-line use. Thus, we permit the
          use of commas to delimit records in this string, and replace them
          with newlines before writing the string to the file. */

       static void
       update_map(char *mapping, char *map_file)
           int fd;
           size_t map_len;     /* Length of 'mapping' */

           /* Replace commas in mapping string with newlines */

           map_len = strlen(mapping);
           for (int j = 0; j < map_len; j++)
               if (mapping[j] == ',')
                   mapping[j] = '\n';

           fd = open(map_file, O_RDWR);
           if (fd == -1) {
               fprintf(stderr, "ERROR: open %s: %s\n", map_file,

           if (write(fd, mapping, map_len) != map_len) {
               fprintf(stderr, "ERROR: write %s: %s\n", map_file,


       /* Linux 3.19 made a change in the handling of setgroups(2) and the
          'gid_map' file to address a security issue. The issue allowed
          *unprivileged* users to employ user namespaces in order to drop
          The upshot of the 3.19 changes is that in order to update the
          'gid_maps' file, use of the setgroups() system call in this
          user namespace must first be disabled by writing "deny" to one of
          the /proc/PID/setgroups files for this namespace.  That is the
          purpose of the following function. */

       static void
       proc_setgroups_write(pid_t child_pid, char *str)
           char setgroups_path[PATH_MAX];
           int fd;

           snprintf(setgroups_path, PATH_MAX, "/proc/%jd/setgroups",
                   (intmax_t) child_pid);

           fd = open(setgroups_path, O_RDWR);
           if (fd == -1) {

               /* We may be on a system that doesn't support
                  /proc/PID/setgroups. In that case, the file won't exist,
                  and the system won't impose the restrictions that Linux 3.19
                  added. That's fine: we don't need to do anything in order
                  to permit 'gid_map' to be updated.

                  However, if the error from open() was something other than
                  the ENOENT error that is expected for that case,  let the
                  user know. */

               if (errno != ENOENT)
                   fprintf(stderr, "ERROR: open %s: %s\n", setgroups_path,

           if (write(fd, str, strlen(str)) == -1)
               fprintf(stderr, "ERROR: write %s: %s\n", setgroups_path,


       static int              /* Start function for cloned child */
       childFunc(void *arg)
           struct child_args *args = arg;
           char ch;

           /* Wait until the parent has updated the UID and GID mappings.
              See the comment in main(). We wait for end of file on a
              pipe that will be closed by the parent process once it has
              updated the mappings. */

           close(args->pipe_fd[1]);    /* Close our descriptor for the write
                                          end of the pipe so that we see EOF
                                          when parent closes its descriptor */
           if (read(args->pipe_fd[0], &ch, 1) != 0) {
                       "Failure in child: read from pipe returned != 0\n");


           /* Execute a shell command */

           printf("About to exec %s\n", args->argv[0]);
           execvp(args->argv[0], args->argv);

       #define STACK_SIZE (1024 * 1024)

       static char child_stack[STACK_SIZE];    /* Space for child's stack */

       main(int argc, char *argv[])
           int flags, opt, map_zero;
           pid_t child_pid;
           struct child_args args;
           char *uid_map, *gid_map;
           const int MAP_BUF_SIZE = 100;
           char map_buf[MAP_BUF_SIZE];
           char map_path[PATH_MAX];

           /* Parse command-line options. The initial '+' character in
              the final getopt() argument prevents GNU-style permutation
              of command-line options. That's useful, since sometimes
              the 'command' to be executed by this program itself
              has command-line options. We don't want getopt() to treat
              those as options to this program. */

           flags = 0;
           verbose = 0;
           gid_map = NULL;
           uid_map = NULL;
           map_zero = 0;
           while ((opt = getopt(argc, argv, "+imnpuUM:G:zv")) != -1) {
               switch (opt) {
               case 'i': flags |= CLONE_NEWIPC;        break;
               case 'm': flags |= CLONE_NEWNS;         break;
               case 'n': flags |= CLONE_NEWNET;        break;
               case 'p': flags |= CLONE_NEWPID;        break;
               case 'u': flags |= CLONE_NEWUTS;        break;
               case 'v': verbose = 1;                  break;
               case 'z': map_zero = 1;                 break;
               case 'M': uid_map = optarg;             break;
               case 'G': gid_map = optarg;             break;
               case 'U': flags |= CLONE_NEWUSER;       break;
               default:  usage(argv[0]);

           /* -M or -G without -U is nonsensical */

           if (((uid_map != NULL || gid_map != NULL || map_zero) &&
                       !(flags & CLONE_NEWUSER)) ||
                   (map_zero && (uid_map != NULL || gid_map != NULL)))

           args.argv = &argv[optind];

           /* We use a pipe to synchronize the parent and child, in order to
              ensure that the parent sets the UID and GID maps before the child
              calls execve(). This ensures that the child maintains its
              capabilities during the execve() in the common case where we
              want to map the child's effective user ID to 0 in the new user
              namespace. Without this synchronization, the child would lose
              its capabilities if it performed an execve() with nonzero
              user IDs (see the capabilities(7) man page for details of the
              transformation of a process's capabilities during execve()). */

           if (pipe(args.pipe_fd) == -1)

           /* Create the child in new namespace(s) */

           child_pid = clone(childFunc, child_stack + STACK_SIZE,
                             flags | SIGCHLD, &args);
           if (child_pid == -1)

           /* Parent falls through to here */

           if (verbose)
               printf("%s: PID of child created by clone() is %jd\n",
                       argv[0], (intmax_t) child_pid);

           /* Update the UID and GID maps in the child */

           if (uid_map != NULL || map_zero) {
               snprintf(map_path, PATH_MAX, "/proc/%jd/uid_map",
                       (intmax_t) child_pid);
               if (map_zero) {
                   snprintf(map_buf, MAP_BUF_SIZE, "0 %jd 1",
                           (intmax_t) getuid());
                   uid_map = map_buf;
               update_map(uid_map, map_path);

           if (gid_map != NULL || map_zero) {
               proc_setgroups_write(child_pid, "deny");

               snprintf(map_path, PATH_MAX, "/proc/%jd/gid_map",
                       (intmax_t) child_pid);
               if (map_zero) {
                   snprintf(map_buf, MAP_BUF_SIZE, "0 %ld 1",
                           (intmax_t) getgid());
                   gid_map = map_buf;
               update_map(gid_map, map_path);

           /* Close the write end of the pipe, to signal to the child that we
              have updated the UID and GID maps */


           if (waitpid(child_pid, NULL, 0) == -1)      /* Wait for child */

           if (verbose)
               printf("%s: terminating\n", argv[0]);



       newgidmap(1), newuidmap(1), clone(2), ptrace(2), setns(2), unshare(2), proc(5), subgid(5),
       subuid(5),    capabilities(7),    cgroup_namespaces(7),   credentials(7),   namespaces(7),

       The kernel source file Documentation/namespaces/resource-control.txt.


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       project,  information  about  reporting  bugs, and the latest version of this page, can be
       found at