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Rcpp::warning does not follow the correct interface for Rf_warning #776

jimhester opened this Issue Nov 22, 2017 · 3 comments


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jimhester commented Nov 22, 2017

Rf_warning is defined with a function prototype like that of printf

void warning(const char *format, ...)

However Rcpp::warning() calls it instead with only a null terminated string (I linked here to the C11 code, but the C89 code has the same problem).

template <typename... Args>
inline void warning(const char* fmt, Args&&... args ) {
Rf_warning( tfm::format(fmt, std::forward<Args>(args)... ).c_str() );

This means that any values passed to Rcpp::warning() which happen to have format specifiers in them will access random memory, outputting garbage or potentially crashing R.

For a simple example illustrating the issue.

Rcpp::cppFunction('void test() { Rcpp::warning("%s", "a str with %o in it"); }')
#> Warning in test(): a str with 1543134670 in it

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eddelbuettel commented Nov 22, 2017


What should we do? Refuse to process strings with %[a-z] in them? Pass them to tinyformat?


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jimhester commented Nov 22, 2017

I would either

  1. Remove tinyformat from the equation entirely for warnings and pass the arguments directly to Rf_warning().
  2. Always specify a first argument of %s and leave the tiny format the way it is as the second argument.

With either approach you shouldn't need to sanitize the inputs.

jimhester added a commit to r-lib/xml2 that referenced this issue Nov 22, 2017

Use Rf_warning instead of Rcpp::warning
Works around a bug in Rcpp RcppCore/Rcpp#776

Fixes #199

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eddelbuettel commented Nov 25, 2017

Approach 2 is good. PR forthcoming.

eddelbuettel added a commit that referenced this issue Nov 26, 2017

Merge pull request #777 from RcppCore/bugfix/rcpp_warning
correct calls to Rf_warning (closes #776)
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