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Bug #25620 Crash / "String is not zero-terminated"
Submitted: 2003-09-21 11:21 UTC Modified: 2003-09-28 16:21 UTC
Avg. Score:4.0 ± 1.4
Reproduced:5 of 5 (100.0%)
Same Version:3 (60.0%)
Same OS:3 (60.0%)
From: xris at farcaster dot net Assigned:
Status: Wont fix Package: Scripting Engine problem
PHP Version: 4.3.4-dev OS: GNU/Linux 2.4.20
Private report: No CVE-ID: None
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 [2003-09-21 11:21 UTC] xris at farcaster dot net
I run a rather large PHP System (250k+ LOC).
Recently, a number of "Segmentation-Faults" started popping up
in my Apache error log. Only some of the PHP pages caused a segfault. These segfaults are mostly reproducible, but could be suppressed by moving code around - like changing order of method definitions, etc.

So i set up an identical system as our production server, but with --enable debug. The segfaults did not happen anymore, but i keep getting notices like these:

[21-Sep-2003 16:25:34] PHP Warning:  String is not zero-terminated (SetVerband??̏**rtID'  aa) (source: /home/develop/mod_php-4.3.3/Zend/zend_opcode.c:165) in Unknown on line 0

The problem occurres with PHP from at least 4.2.2 to 4.3.3, regardless wether running with Apache 1.3x or Apache 2.0.

I would like to provide more information, but i don't know how .. any info on how to trace the reason for this problem would greatly appreciated.

Reproduce code:
sorry, i'cant construct a small snippted reproducing this error - it seems to pop up on pages with a large amount of used objects, though (but thats only a guess ..)

Expected result:
well, no php crash?


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 [2003-09-26 07:45 UTC] xris at farcaster dot net
Just to be sure, i compiled a new valgrind using
the latest stable version: valgrind-20030725

As far as i can tell, the output is identical...

1) valgrind --run-libc-freeres=yes ;# SEGFAULT

1) valgrind --run-libc-freeres=no ;# NO SEGFAULT
 [2003-09-26 09:45 UTC] xris at farcaster dot net
I don't know if it's of any help, but i found out that the 4.3.4-dev version prints out more debug information as the 4.3.3 i initially ([21 Sep 11:21am EDT]) used (if compiled "--with-debug"), so here once again a debug output:

--- snip ---

Warning: String is not zero-terminated (Bundesland??̏*Z?̏*ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ?̏*) (source: /var/tmp/portage/php-4.3.4/work/php-4.3.4/Zend/zend_opcode.c:159) in Unknown on line 0
[Fri Sep 26 15:14:21 2003]  Script:  'htdocs/sport/auswahl.php'
/home/develop/php-4.3.4/Zend/zend_opcode.c(159) : Block 0x424DB744 status:
/home/develop/php-4.3.4/Zend/zend_variables.c(44) : Actual location (location was relayed)
Beginning:      OK (allocated on Zend/zend_language_scanner.c:4492, 11 bytes)
      End:      Overflown (magic=0x2A8FCC83 instead of 0x2A8FCC84)
                1 byte(s) overflown
 [2003-09-27 09:22 UTC] xris at farcaster dot net
Rechecked both strings; "SetVerband" is definitely a method (theres no other usage of this string in the whole system), but "Bundesland" is a variable (i replaced all '$Bundesland' variables with '$dnalsednuB'). I'll try to identify the
offending usage of this var, but there are 146 places where
such a variable name is used. In almost all cases, $Bundesland contains a class, though..
 [2003-09-27 11:00 UTC]
Seems to me the same issue addressed in bug #22510. I suspect you are trying to return a value by reference that is not originated from a variable somewhere in a function. That is,

function &return_ref_a() {
    return $a + $b;

function &return_ref_b() {
    return @$a;

function &return_ref_c() {
    return -$a;

None of the above examples don't actually work, which are verified to cause random heap corruption. Please check if such an error is somewhere in your code.

 [2003-09-27 12:07 UTC] xris at farcaster dot net
So far i checked 600 methods, but could'nt find any
return's similar to your examples. What about these
constructs, are they known to cause heap corruption, too?

// Example 1
function &return_ref_constant() {
    return FALSE; // or "return (1<2):"
// Example 2
function &a() {
  return $b
function &return_ref_method() {
    return $this->a();
// Example 3
function &return_ref_array() {
    return array();

Yes, i know, some of them are "wrong".
 [2003-09-27 13:20 UTC]
Please try using this CVS snapshot:
For Windows:

 [2003-09-27 21:23 UTC] xris at farcaster dot net
I had to modify some minor stuff of the script (our system) to get it working with php5.

Then php complained on a couple of occasions about an illegal return value for a refercence return method ( we had some calls like the one in my "Example 2" and some methods doing "return new XYZ();).

I fixed these by first assigning the return value to a
variable, then returned this var.

After that, php5 ran the code without complaints/errors.

The same (modified) code, run by the php4 version, still throws the error.
 [2003-09-28 16:17 UTC]
So it is the same basic problem as in bug #22510 and is 'fixed' in PHP5. This will not be fixed in PHP 4.

 [2003-09-28 16:21 UTC] xris at farcaster dot net
OK. Thanks to you all for your help and efforts anyway.
Keep up the good work, your are doing a tremendous job.
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