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Date:   Mon, 25 Jul 2022 18:13:31 -0700
From:   Jakub Kicinski <>
To:     "Keller, Jacob E" <>
Cc:     Jiri Pirko <>,
        "" <>
Subject: Re: [net-next PATCH 1/2] devlink: add dry run attribute to flash

On Mon, 25 Jul 2022 20:46:01 +0000 Keller, Jacob E wrote:
> There are two problems, and only one of them is solved by strict
> validation right now:
> 1) Does the kernel know this attribute?
> This is the question of whether the kernel is new enough to have the
> attribute, i.e. does the DEVLINK_ATTR_DRY_RUN even exist in the
> kernel's uapi yet.
> This is straight forward, and usually good enough for most
> attributes. This is what is solved by not setting
> However, consider what happens once we add  DEVLINK_ATTR_DRY_RUN and
> support it in flash update, in version X. This leads us to the next
> problem.
> 2) does the *command* recognize and support DEVLINK_ATTR_DRY_RUN
> Since the kernel in this example already supports
> DEVLINK_ATTR_DRY_RUN, it will be recognized and the current setup the
> policy for attributes is the same for every command. Thus the kernel
> will accept DEVLINK_ATTR_DRY_RUN for any command, strict or not.
> But if the command itself doesn't honor DEVLINK_ATTR_DRY_RUN, it will
> once again be silently ignored.
> We currently use the same policy and the same attribute list for
> every command, so we already silently ignore unexpected attributes,
> even in strict validation, at least as far as I can tell when
> analyzing the code. You could try to send an attribute for the wrong
> command. Obviously existing iproute2 user space doesn't' do this..
> but nothing stops it.
> For some attributes, its not a problem. I.e. all flash update
> attributes are only used for DEVLINK_CMD_FLASH_UPDATE, and passing
> them to another command is meaningless and will likely stay
> meaningless forever. Obviously I think we would prefer if the kernel
> rejected the input anyways, but its at least not that surprising and
> a smaller problem.
> But for something generic like DRY_RUN, this is problematic because
> we might want to add support for dry run in the future for other
> commands. I didn't really analyze every existing command today to see
> which ones make sense. We could minimize this problem for now by
> checking DRY_RUN for every command that might want to support it in
> the future...

Hm, yes. Don't invest too much effort into rendering per-cmd policies
right now, tho. I've started working on putting the parsing policies 
in YAML last Friday. This way we can auto-gen the policy for the kernel
and user space can auto-gen the parser/nl TLV writer. Long story short
we can kill two birds with one stone if you hold off until I have the
format ironed out. For now maybe just fork the policies into two - 
with and without dry run attr. We'll improve the granularity later 
when doing the YAML conversion.

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