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Date:   Wed, 14 Oct 2020 02:06:28 +0200
From:   Pablo Neira Ayuso <>
To:     Florian Westphal <>
Cc:     Jozsef Kadlecsik <>,
        Francesco Ruggeri <>,
        open list <>,
        netdev <>,,, Jakub Kicinski <>,
        David Miller <>
Subject: Re: [PATCH nf v2] netfilter: conntrack: connection timeout after

On Fri, Oct 09, 2020 at 10:05:48PM +0200, Florian Westphal wrote:
> Jozsef Kadlecsik <> wrote:
> > > The "delay unregister" remark was wrt. the "all rules were deleted"
> > > case, i.e. add a "grace period" rather than acting right away when
> > > conntrack use count did hit 0.
> > 
> > Now I understand it, thanks really. The hooks are removed, so conntrack 
> > cannot "see" the packets and the entries become stale. 
> Yes.
> > What is the rationale behind "remove the conntrack hooks when there are no 
> > rule left referring to conntrack"? Performance optimization? But then the 
> > content of the whole conntrack table could be deleted too... ;-)
> Yes, this isn't the case at the moment -- only hooks are removed,
> entries will eventually time out.
> > > Conntrack entries are not removed, only the base hooks get unregistered. 
> > > This is a problem for tcp window tracking.
> > > 
> > > When re-register occurs, kernel is supposed to switch the existing 
> > > entries to "loose" mode so window tracking won't flag packets as 
> > > invalid, but apparently this isn't enough to handle keepalive case.
> > 
> > "loose" (nf_ct_tcp_loose) mode doesn't disable window tracking, it 
> > enables/disables picking up already established connections. 
> > 
> > nf_ct_tcp_be_liberal would disable TCP window checking (but not tracking) 
> > for non RST packets.
> You are right, mixup on my part.
> > But both seems to be modified only via the proc entries.
> Yes, we iterate table on re-register and modify the existing entries.

For iptables-nft, it might be possible to avoid this deregister +
register ct hooks in the same transaction: Maybe add something like
nf_ct_netns_get_all() to bump refcounters by one _iff_ they are > 0
before starting the transaction processing, then call
nf_ct_netns_put_all() which decrements refcounters and unregister
hooks if they reach 0.

The only problem with this approach is that this pulls in the
conntrack module, to solve that, struct nf_ct_hook in
net/netfilter/core.c could be used to store the reference to
->netns_get_all and ->net_put_all.

Legacy would still be flawed though.

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