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Bug #45816 serialize() modifies objects
Submitted: 2008-08-14 07:37 UTC Modified: 2008-08-22 01:00 UTC
Avg. Score:4.0 ± 0.0
Reproduced:0 of 0 (0.0%)
From: gmtfn at yahoo dot com Assigned: fb-req-jani (profile)
Status: No Feedback Package: Session related
PHP Version: 5.2.6 OS: Linux
Private report: No CVE-ID: None
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From: gmtfn at yahoo dot com
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 [2008-08-14 07:37 UTC] gmtfn at yahoo dot com
Calling serialize() on an object whose name is the same as the key under which it's saved in $_SESSION makes the object unusable (its methods can't be called.

If I store store a serialized version of the object under a key that's different from the name of the variable that points to the object, then everything works fine. If this is by design and must remain this way, I want to tell you that this is VERY counterintuitive and must be prominently documented.

I can reproduce this on a Linux server (with PHP 5.2.5 and 5.2.6) but not on Windows Vista.

Reproduce code:

	class GoodObject {
		private $count = 0;
		public function doSmth()
			echo "$this->count <br>";

	if(!isset($_SESSION['myObj'])) {
		$myObj = new GoodObject();
	else {
		$s = $_SESSION['myObj'];
		$myObj = unserialize($s);
	$s = serialize($myObj);
	$_SESSION['myObj'] = $s;
	$myObj->doSmth(); // this fails on the second page load

Expected result:
Converting an object to a string should not change the object, and the last statement in this script should output the value of $count.

Actual result:
On the second load of the page, I get this:

Fatal error: Call to a member function doSmth() on a non-object in [path to the file] on line 26


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 [2008-08-14 07:48 UTC] gmtfn at yahoo dot com
line 25, not 26
 [2008-08-14 17:42 UTC]
Check your phpinfo() output that register_globals is Off.
 [2008-08-14 23:04 UTC] gmtfn at yahoo dot com
register_globals is on on Linux servers and off on Vista. But whatever its value is, getting a string representation of an object, which serialization is, shouldn't change the object. It's completely counterintuitive, and I can't imagine a valid reason for ruining a still perfectly usable object. It's analogous to changing a variable's type just because it's been typecasted to something else.
 [2008-08-22 01:00 UTC] php-bugs at lists dot php dot net
No feedback was provided for this bug for over a week, so it is
being suspended automatically. If you are able to provide the
information that was originally requested, please do so and change
the status of the bug back to "Open".
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