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Date:   Wed, 09 Sep 2020 12:58:29 +0200
From:   Toke Høiland-Jørgensen <>
To:     Andrii Nakryiko <>
Cc:     Alexei Starovoitov <>,
        Stanislav Fomichev <>,
        Networking <>, bpf <>,
        "David S. Miller" <>,
        Alexei Starovoitov <>,
        Daniel Borkmann <>,
        YiFei Zhu <>,
        YiFei Zhu <>,
        Andrey Ignatov <>
Subject: Re: [PATCH bpf-next v3 3/8] libbpf: Add BPF_PROG_BIND_MAP syscall
 and use it on .metadata section

Andrii Nakryiko <> writes:

> On Mon, Sep 7, 2020 at 1:49 AM Toke Høiland-Jørgensen <> wrote:
>> Andrii Nakryiko <> writes:
>> >> May be we should talk about problem statement and goals.
>> >> Do we actually need metadata per program or metadata per single .o
>> >> or metadata per final .o with multiple .o linked together?
>> >> What is this metadata?
>> >
>> > Yep, that's a very valid question. I've also CC'ed Andrey.
>> For the libxdp use case, I need metadata per program. But I'm already
>> sticking that in a single section and disambiguating by struct name
>> (just prefixing the function name with a _ ), so I think it's fine to
>> have this kind of "concatenated metadata" per elf file and parse out the
>> per-program information from that. This is similar to the BTF-encoded
>> "metadata" we can do today.
>> >> If it's just unreferenced by program read only data then no special names or
>> >> prefixes are needed. We can introduce BPF_PROG_BIND_MAP to bind any map to any
>> >> program and it would be up to tooling to decide the meaning of the data in the
>> >> map. For example, bpftool can choose to print all variables from all read only
>> >> maps that match "bpf_metadata_" prefix, but it will be bpftool convention only
>> >> and not hard coded in libbpf.
>> >
>> > Agree as well. It feels a bit odd for libbpf to handle ".metadata"
>> > specially, given libbpf itself doesn't care about its contents at all.
>> >
>> > So thanks for bringing this up, I think this is an important
>> > discussion to have.
>> I'm fine with having this be part of .rodata. One drawback, though, is
>> that if any metadata is defined, it becomes a bit more complicated to
>> use bpf_map__set_initial_value() because that now also has to include
>> the metadata. Any way we can improve upon that?
> I know that skeleton is not an answer for you, so you'll have to find
> DATASEC and corresponding variable offset and size (libbpf provides
> APIs for all those operations, but you'll need to combine them
> together). Then mmap() map and then you can do partial updates. There
> is no other way to update only portions of an ARRAY map, except
> through memory-mapping.

Well, I wouldn't mind having to go digging through the section. But is
it really possible to pick out and modify parts of it my mmap() before
the object is loaded (and the map frozen)? How? I seem to recall we
added bpf_map__set_initial_value() because this was *not* possible with
the public API?

Also, for this, a bpf_map__get_initial_value() could be a simple way to
allow partial modifications. The caller could just get the whole map
value, modify it, and set it again afterwards with
__set_initial_value(). Any objections to adding that?


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