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Date:   Tue, 4 Oct 2022 17:25:51 -0700
From:   Martin KaFai Lau <>
To:     Stanislav Fomichev <>,
        Jesper Dangaard Brouer <>
Cc:,,,,,, Lorenzo Bianconi <>,,
        Alexei Starovoitov <>,
        Daniel Borkmann <>,
        Andrii Nakryiko <>,, Magnus Karlsson <>,
Subject: Re: [PATCH RFCv2 bpf-next 00/18] XDP-hints: XDP gaining access to HW
 offload hints via BTF

On 10/4/22 11:26 AM, Stanislav Fomichev wrote:
> On Tue, Oct 4, 2022 at 2:29 AM Jesper Dangaard Brouer
> <> wrote:
>> On 04/10/2022 01.55, wrote:
>>> On 09/07, Jesper Dangaard Brouer wrote:
>>>> This patchset expose the traditional hardware offload hints to XDP and
>>>> rely on BTF to expose the layout to users.
>>>> Main idea is that the kernel and NIC drivers simply defines the struct
>>>> layouts they choose to use for XDP-hints. These XDP-hints structs gets
>>>> naturally and automatically described via BTF and implicitly exported to
>>>> users. NIC drivers populate and records their own BTF ID as the last
>>>> member in XDP metadata area (making it easily accessible by AF_XDP
>>>> userspace at a known negative offset from packet data start).
>>>> Naming conventions for the structs (xdp_hints_*) is used such that
>>>> userspace can find and decode the BTF layout and match against the
>>>> provided BTF IDs. Thus, no new UAPI interfaces are needed for exporting
>>>> what XDP-hints a driver supports.
>>>> The patch "i40e: Add xdp_hints_union" introduce the idea of creating a
>>>> union named "xdp_hints_union" in every driver, which contains all
>>>> xdp_hints_* struct this driver can support. This makes it easier/quicker
>>>> to find and parse the relevant BTF types.  (Seeking input before fixing
>>>> up all drivers in patchset).
>>>> The main different from RFC-v1:
>>>>    - Drop idea of BTF "origin" (vmlinux, module or local)
>>>>    - Instead to use full 64-bit BTF ID that combine object+type ID
>>>> I've taken some of Alexandr/Larysa's libbpf patches and integrated
>>>> those.
>>>> Patchset exceeds netdev usually max 15 patches rule. My excuse is three
>>>> NIC drivers (i40e, ixgbe and mvneta) gets XDP-hints support and which
>>>> required some refactoring to remove the SKB dependencies.
>>> Hey Jesper,
>>> I took a quick look at the series.
>> Appreciate that! :-)
>>> Do we really need the enum with the flags?
>> The primary reason for using enum is that these gets exposed as BTF.
>> The proposal is that userspace/BTF need to obtain the flags via BTF,
>> such that they don't become UAPI, but something we can change later.
>>> We might eventually hit that "first 16 bits are reserved" issue?
>>> Instead of exposing enum with the flags, why not solve it as follows:
>>> a. We define UAPI struct xdp_rx_hints with _all_ possible hints
>> How can we know _all_ possible hints from the beginning(?).
>> UAPI + central struct dictating all possible hints, will limit innovation.
> We don't need to know them all in advance. The same way we don't know
> them all for flags enum. That UAPI xdp_rx_hints can be extended any
> time some driver needs some new hint offload. The benefit here is that
> we have a "common registry" of all offloads and different drivers have
> an opportunity to share.
> Think of it like current __sk_buff vs sk_buff. xdp_rx_hints is a fake
> uapi struct (__sk_buff) and the access to it gets translated into
> <device>_xdp_rx_hints offsets (sk_buff).
>>> b. Each device defines much denser <device>_xdp_rx_hints struct with the
>>>      metadata that it supports
>> Thus, the NIC device is limited to what is defined in UAPI struct
>> xdp_rx_hints.  Again this limits innovation.
> I guess what I'm missing from your series is the bpf/userspace side.
> Do you have an example on the bpf side that will work for, say,
> xdp_hints_ixgbe_timestamp?

+1.  A selftest is useful.

> Suppose, you pass this custom hints btf_id via xdp_md as proposed,
> what's the action on the bpf side to consume this?
> If (ctx_hints_btf_id == xdp_hints_ixgbe_timestamp_btf_id /* supposedly
> populated at runtime by libbpf? */) {
>    // do something with rx_timestamp
>    // also, handle xdp_hints_ixgbe and then xdp_hints_common ?
> } else if (ctx_hints_btf_id == xdp_hints_ixgbe) {
>    // do something else
>    // plus explicitly handle xdp_hints_common here?
> } else {
>    // handle xdp_hints_common
> }
> What I'd like to avoid is an xdp program targeting specific drivers.
> Where possible, we should aim towards something like "if this device
> has rx_timestamp offload -> use it without depending too much on
> specific btf_ids.

It would be my preference also if it can avoid btf_id comparison of a specific 
driver like the above and let the libbpf CO-RE to handle the 
matching/relocation.  For rx hwtimestamp, the value could be just 0 if a 
specific hw/driver cannot provide it for all packets while some other hw can.

A intentionally wild question, what does it take for the driver to return the 
hints.  Is the rx_desc and rx_queue enough?  When the xdp prog is calling a 
kfunc/bpf-helper, like 'hwtstamp = bpf_xdp_get_hwtstamp()', can the driver 
replace it with some inline bpf code (like how the inline code is generated for 
the map_lookup helper).  The xdp prog can then store the hwstamp in the meta 
area in any layout it wants.

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