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[whatwg] RFC: Alternatives to storage mutex for cookies and localStorage

From: Jonas Sicking <jonas@sicking.cc>
Date: Tue, 8 Sep 2009 15:33:33 -0700
Message-ID: <63df84f0909081533h2bb529e7xe37725df60aec206@mail.gmail.com>
On Tue, Sep 8, 2009 at 3:14 PM, Aaron Boodman<aa at google.com> wrote:
> On Tue, Sep 8, 2009 at 12:02 PM, Jonas Sicking<jonas at sicking.cc> wrote:
>> On Tue, Sep 8, 2009 at 11:53 AM, Aaron Boodman<aa at google.com> wrote:
>>> On Tue, Sep 8, 2009 at 11:23 AM, Chris Jones<cjones at mozilla.com> wrote:
>>>> In general, I agree with Rob about this proposal. ?What problem with storage
>>>> mutex as spec'd today does your proposal solve?
>>>
>>> The spec requires a single storage mutex for the entire UA. Therefore
>>> in a MELUA a web page can become unresponsive while waiting for some
>>> other page to give up the lock. This is not good and something we have
>>> tried to avoid everywhere else in the spec.
>>>
>>> Attempts to address this by doing per-origin locks wind up with
>>> deadlocks being possible.
>>
>> How could this happen. It certainly does sound scary to have a bunch
>> of locks that can be grabbed in arbitrary order, but I can't off the
>> top of my head think of any ways where deadlocks can happen.
>
> >From a Hixie mail way back in March:
> http://lists.whatwg.org/htdig.cgi/whatwg-whatwg.org/2009-March/018991.html
>
> <snip>
> If it can be shown that it is not ever possible for script in one origin
> to synchronously invoke script in another origin, then I guess we could
> have per-origin locks instead of a single lock.
> </snip>
>
> Here are two cases I know of where it is possible to have synchronous
> script execution across origins:
>
> * Plugins. It is possible for script to invoke a plugin function in
> one frame, and for the plugin to synchronously execute script in
> another frame. We have addressed this in the spec by saying that
> invoking a plugin releases the storage mutex, but that doesn't really
> solve the problem. We are exchanging violation of run-to-completion
> for deadlock. I guess it is an improvement, but it is still a bug.
>
> * In WebKit, onresize is invoked synchronously. You can cause
> cross-origin synchronous script execution by resizing an iframe.
> AFAIK, the spec does not disallow this event from being synchronous.
>
> I found the second case after only a few minutes of thinking about it.
> I suspect there are more since it was never a design goal to prevent
> synchronous script execution across origins.

When we designed postMessage it certainly was a design goal to make
synchronous cross-origin script execution never happen. As I
understood it for two reasons:

1. The script in the origin being "called" would never know how much
JS stack was available, and so could never reliably call a function.
This was particularly a concern expressed by chrome developers.
2. This would force the two origins to run in the same process (or at
least processes running in lock-step).

> We could patch each case like this by releasing the mutex, but each
> time we do that, we poke another hole in run to completion.
>
> I also suspect such patches will be difficult to maintain. Even if we
> update implementations to invoke onresize asynchronously, how
> confident can we be in interactions between such unrelated components
> as event dispatch and storage continuing to work correctly?
>
> Finally, even with these hacks, we have problems. In a MELUA (I love
> that acronym!), with per-origin local storage mutexes, we still can
> end up with unresponsive UI because it is possible to have the same
> origin running on different event loops.
>
> Adding an asynchronous step to acquire the mutex neatly solves all
> these problems. We get run-to-completion, and we never block an event
> loop on waiting for a mutex.

But we have to break compat with existing pages...

/ Jonas
Received on Tuesday, 8 September 2009 15:33:33 UTC

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