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Date:   Wed, 5 Aug 2020 07:23:31 +0000
From:   Song Liu <>
To:     Andrii Nakryiko <>
CC:     open list <>,
        bpf <>, Networking <>,
        Alexei Starovoitov <>,
        Daniel Borkmann <>,
        Kernel Team <>,
        john fastabend <>,
        KP Singh <>,
        Jesper Dangaard Brouer <>,
        Daniel Xu <>
Subject: Re: [PATCH bpf-next 2/5] libbpf: support BPF_PROG_TYPE_USER programs

> On Aug 4, 2020, at 11:54 PM, Andrii Nakryiko <> wrote:
> On Tue, Aug 4, 2020 at 11:26 PM Song Liu <> wrote:
>>> On Aug 4, 2020, at 10:32 PM, Andrii Nakryiko <> wrote:
>>> On Tue, Aug 4, 2020 at 8:59 PM Song Liu <> wrote:
>>>>> On Aug 4, 2020, at 6:38 PM, Andrii Nakryiko <> wrote:
>>>>> On Mon, Aug 3, 2020 at 6:18 PM Song Liu <> wrote:
>>>>>>> On Aug 2, 2020, at 6:40 PM, Andrii Nakryiko <> wrote:
>>>>>>> On Sat, Aug 1, 2020 at 1:50 AM Song Liu <> wrote:
>>>>>> [...]
>>>>>>>> };
>>>>>>>> LIBBPF_API int bpf_prog_test_run_xattr(struct bpf_prog_test_run_attr *test_attr);
>>>>>>>> diff --git a/tools/lib/bpf/libbpf.c b/tools/lib/bpf/libbpf.c
>>>>>>>> index b9f11f854985b..9ce175a486214 100644
>>>>>>>> --- a/tools/lib/bpf/libbpf.c
>>>>>>>> +++ b/tools/lib/bpf/libbpf.c
>>>>>>>> @@ -6922,6 +6922,7 @@ static const struct bpf_sec_def section_defs[] = {
>>>>>>>>     BPF_PROG_SEC("lwt_out",                 BPF_PROG_TYPE_LWT_OUT),
>>>>>>>>     BPF_PROG_SEC("lwt_xmit",                BPF_PROG_TYPE_LWT_XMIT),
>>>>>>>>     BPF_PROG_SEC("lwt_seg6local",           BPF_PROG_TYPE_LWT_SEG6LOCAL),
>>>>>>>> +       BPF_PROG_SEC("user",                    BPF_PROG_TYPE_USER),
>>>>>>> let's do "user/" for consistency with most other prog types (and nice
>>>>>>> separation between prog type and custom user name)
>>>>>> About "user" vs. "user/", I still think "user" is better.
>>>>>> Unlike kprobe and tracepoint, user prog doesn't use the part after "/".
>>>>>> This is similar to "perf_event" for BPF_PROG_TYPE_PERF_EVENT, "xdl" for
>>>>>> BPF_PROG_TYPE_XDP, etc. If we specify "user" here, "user/" and "user/xxx"
>>>>>> would also work. However, if we specify "user/" here, programs that used
>>>>>> "user" by accident will fail to load, with a message like:
>>>>>>      libbpf: failed to load program 'user'
>>>>>> which is confusing.
>>>>> xdp, perf_event and a bunch of others don't enforce it, that's true,
>>>>> they are a bit of a legacy,
>>>> I don't see w/o "/" is a legacy thing. BPF_PROG_TYPE_STRUCT_OPS just uses
>>>> "struct_ops".
>>>>> unfortunately. But all the recent ones do,
>>>>> and we explicitly did that for xdp_dev/xdp_cpu, for instance.
>>>>> Specifying just "user" in the spec would allow something nonsensical
>>>>> like "userargh", for instance, due to this being treated as a prefix.
>>>>> There is no harm to require users to do "user/my_prog", though.
>>>> I don't see why allowing "userargh" is a problem. Failing "user" is
>>>> more confusing. We can probably improve that by a hint like:
>>>>   libbpf: failed to load program 'user', do you mean "user/"?
>>>> But it is pretty silly. "user/something_never_used" also looks weird.
>>> "userargh" is terrible, IMO. It's a different identifier that just
>>> happens to have the first 4 letters matching "user" program type.
>>> There must be either a standardized separator (which happens to be
>>> '/') or none. See the suggestion below.
>> We have no problem deal with "a different identifier that just happens
>> to have the first letters matching", like xdp vs. xdp_devmap and
>> xdp_cpumap, right?
> xdp vs xdp_devmap is an entirely different thing. We deal with it by
> checking xdp_devmap first. What I'm saying is that user can do
> "xdpomg" and libbpf would be happy (today). And I don't think that's
> good. But further, if someone does something like "xdp_devmap_omg",
> guess which program type will be inferred? Hint: not xdp_devmap and
> libbpf won't report an error either. All because "xdp" is so lax
> today.
>>>>> Alternatively, we could introduce a new convention in the spec,
>>>>> something like "user?", which would accept either "user" or
>>>>> "user/something", but not "user/" nor "userblah". We can try that as
>>>>> well.
>>>> Again, I don't really understand why allowing "userblah" is a problem.
>>>> We already have "xdp", "xdp_devmap/", and "xdp_cpumap/", they all work
>>>> fine so far.
>>> Right, we have "xdp_devmap/" and "xdp_cpumap/", as you say. I haven't
>>> seen so much pushback against trailing forward slash with those ;)
>> I haven't seen any issue with old "perf_event", "xdp" and new "struct_ops"
>> either.
>>> But anyways, as part of deprecating APIs and preparing libbpf for 1.0
>>> release over this half, I think I'm going to emit warnings for names
>>> like "prog_type_whatever" or "prog_typeevenworse", etc. And asking
>>> users to normalize section names to either "prog_type" or
>>> "prog_type/something/here", whichever makes sense for a specific
>>> program type.
>> Exactly, "user" makes sense here; while "kprobe/__set_task_comm" makes
>> sense for kprobe.
> Right, but "userblah" doesn't. It would be great if you could help
> make what I described above become true. But at least don't make it
> worse by allowing unrestricted "user" prefix. I'm OK with strict
> "user" or "user/blah", I'm not OK with "userblah", I'm sorry.

If the concern with "userblah" is real and unbearable, so is "xdpblah"
and "perf_eventblah", and so on, and so on. 

>>> Right now libbpf doesn't allow two separate BPF programs
>>> with the same section name, so enforcing strict "user" is limiting to
>>> users. We are going to lift that restriction pretty soon, though. But
>>> for now, please stick with what we've been doing lately and mark it as
>>> "user/", later we'll allow just "user" as well.
>> Since we would allow "user" later, why we have to reject it for now?
> Because libbpf is dumb in that regard today? And instead of migrating
> users later, I want to prevent users making bad choices right now.

The good choice here is to use "user", IMO. And you are preventing people 
to use it. If user has to use "user/" for now. They will have to update 
the programs later, right? If the conclusion is "user/xxx" is the ultimate
goal, I would agree with "user/" for now. 

> Then relax it, if necessary. Alternatively, we can fix up libbpf logic
> before the USER program type lands.

I don't see why the USER program type need to wait for libbpf fix, as
"xdp", "perf_event", etc. all work well today. 

>> Imagine the user just compiled and booted into a new kernel with user
>> program support; and then got the following message:
>>        libbpf: failed to load program 'user'
>> If I were the user, I would definitely question whether the kernel was
>> correct...
> That's also bad, and again, we can make libbpf better. I think moving
> forward any non-recognized BPF program type should be reported by
> libbpf as an error. But we can't do it right now, we have to have a
> period in which users will get a chance to update their BPF programs.
> This will have to happen over few libbpf releases at least. So please
> join in on the fun of fixing stuff like this.

I'd love to join the fun. Maybe after user program lands ;)

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