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pgsql: Fix regex back-references that are directly quantified with *.

From: Tom Lane <tgl(at)sss(dot)pgh(dot)pa(dot)us>
To: pgsql-committers(at)postgresql(dot)org
Subject: pgsql: Fix regex back-references that are directly quantified with *.
Date: 2012-02-20 05:53:40
Message-ID: E1RzMBw-0006E6-1Q@gemulon.postgresql.org (view raw or flat)
Thread:
Lists: pgsql-committers
Fix regex back-references that are directly quantified with *.

The syntax "\n*", that is a backref with a * quantifier directly applied
to it, has never worked correctly in Spencer's library.  This has been an
open bug in the Tcl bug tracker since 2005:
https://sourceforge.net/tracker/index.php?func=detail&aid=1115587&group_id=10894&atid=110894

The core of the problem is in parseqatom(), which first changes "\n*" to
"\n+|" and then applies repeat() to the NFA representing the backref atom.
repeat() thinks that any arc leading into its "rp" argument is part of the
sub-NFA to be repeated.  Unfortunately, since parseqatom() already created
the arc that was intended to represent the empty bypass around "\n+", this
arc gets moved too, so that it now leads into the state loop created by
repeat().  Thus, what was supposed to be an "empty" bypass gets turned into
something that represents zero or more repetitions of the NFA representing
the backref atom.  In the original example, in place of
	^([bc])\1*$
we now have something that acts like
	^([bc])(\1+|[bc]*)$
At runtime, the branch involving the actual backref fails, as it's supposed
to, but then the other branch succeeds anyway.

We could no doubt fix this by some rearrangement of the operations in
parseqatom(), but that code is plenty ugly already, and what's more the
whole business of converting "x*" to "x+|" probably needs to go away to fix
another problem I'll mention in a moment.  Instead, this patch suppresses
the *-conversion when the target is a simple backref atom, leaving the case
of m == 0 to be handled at runtime.  This makes the patch in regcomp.c a
one-liner, at the cost of having to tweak cbrdissect() a little.  In the
event I went a bit further than that and rewrote cbrdissect() to check all
the string-length-related conditions before it starts comparing characters.
It seems a bit stupid to possibly iterate through many copies of an
n-character backreference, only to fail at the end because the target
string's length isn't a multiple of n --- we could have found that out
before starting.  The existing coding could only be a win if integer
division is hugely expensive compared to character comparison, but I don't
know of any modern machine where that might be true.

This does not fix all the problems with quantified back-references.  In
particular, the code is still broken for back-references that appear within
a larger expression that is quantified (so that direct insertion of the
quantification limits into the BACKREF node doesn't apply).  I think fixing
that will take some major surgery on the NFA code, specifically introducing
an explicit iteration node type instead of trying to transform iteration
into concatenation of modified regexps.

Back-patch to all supported branches.  In HEAD, also add a regression test
case for this.  (It may seem a bit silly to create a regression test file
for just one test case; but I'm expecting that we will soon import a whole
bunch of regex regression tests from Tcl, so might as well create the
infrastructure now.)

Branch
------
REL8_4_STABLE

Details
-------
http://git.postgresql.org/pg/commitdiff/cbfb9ff790df054115fad7e78dfa07624cbca79e

Modified Files
--------------
src/backend/regex/regcomp.c |    8 +++-
src/backend/regex/regexec.c |   73 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++----------------
2 files changed, 52 insertions(+), 29 deletions(-)

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Subject: pgsql: Fix a couple of cases of JSON output.
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Subject: pgsql: Fix regex back-references that are directly quantified with *.

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