Mailing List Archive

execution context in netfilter hooks.
Good morning, i would like to know exactly the context of execution
of code registered with netfilter hooks.
As far as I understood, the context is that of a softirq, inside a
bottom half. Correct me if i'm wrong..

But is it concerned with tasklets?

Is execution serialized? In other words, if packet A fr instance is
received from the net, and then packet
B immediately, is packet A processed entirely before packet B? Or code
can be executed in parallel
for packet A and B?

Moreover: interrupts are enabled in such context, aren't they? And that
means that also a
software timer can interrupt a routine being executed in bottom half.

But software timers run with sw interrupts disabled, so a timeout
handler for instance cannot
be interrupted by a routine managing reception of a packet arrived on
the wire.

It is not clear to me the concurrency to which structures are subject,
also in an uniprocessor system:
in_irq(), in_softirq(), in_interrupt() functions return different values
also if positioned at the same place in the code... is there a mean
(function) to know if sofware/hw interrupts are enabled in a portion of
code?

Thanks a lot for any suggestion or any indication to understand how
things are really.

Giacomo.
Re: execution context in netfilter hooks. [ In reply to ]
On Sun, Dec 11, 2005 at 09:39:16PM +0100, Giacomo wrote:
> Good morning, i would like to know exactly the context of execution
> of code registered with netfilter hooks.

> As far as I understood, the context is that of a softirq, inside a
> bottom half. Correct me if i'm wrong..

'bottom half' context doesn't really exist anymore in 2.6.x, so it's
softirq. But that's only true for forwarded packets. locally-generated
packets at LOCAL_OUT are in 'kernel on behalf of process' context.

> But is it concerned with tasklets?

what do you mean by "is it concerned" ?

> Is execution serialized? In other words, if packet A fr instance is
> received from the net, and then packet B immediately, is packet A
> processed entirely before packet B? Or code can be executed in
> parallel for packet A and B?

on multiple cpu's it's fully parallel, so yes, packet A will execute the
same netfilter hook (plus attached code) on CPU1 where packet B will run
on CPU2.

On a single CPU, Packet B will be put onto a queue (by the hardirq
handler of the network driver) until packet A's softirq processing has
finished. Then packet B will enter softirq context and pulled from that
queue.

> Moreover: interrupts are enabled in such context, aren't they? And that
> means that also a software timer can interrupt a routine being
> executed in bottom half.

software timers dont interrupt softirq context. (neither did the
interrupt bottom half context, when it still existed). you seem to be
confused about the kernel contexts and their interaction.

> But software timers run with sw interrupts disabled, so a timeout
> handler for instance cannot be interrupted by a routine managing
> reception of a packet arrived on the wire.

I think you should read some general information on how softirq and
hardirq processing work. This is not really netfilter related.

--
- Harald Welte <laforge@netfilter.org> http://netfilter.org/
============================================================================
"Fragmentation is like classful addressing -- an interesting early
architectural error that shows how much experimentation was going
on while IP was being designed." -- Paul Vixie
Re: execution context in netfilter hooks. [ In reply to ]
A last question:

you said LOCAL_OUT is on behalf of process, so it is in process
context -> can be interrupted by timer -> the reason why code crashed!
If so, the question would be finally clear!

LOCAL_INPUT instead should be softirq, shouldn't it? Just like
FORWARD... so timers don't cause interruption..

Thanks a lot very much!

Giacomo.



2005/12/12, Harald Welte <laforge@netfilter.org>:
> On Sun, Dec 11, 2005 at 09:39:16PM +0100, Giacomo wrote:
> > Good morning, i would like to know exactly the context of execution
> > of code registered with netfilter hooks.
>
> > As far as I understood, the context is that of a softirq, inside a
> > bottom half. Correct me if i'm wrong..
>
> 'bottom half' context doesn't really exist anymore in 2.6.x, so it's
> softirq. But that's only true for forwarded packets. locally-generated
> packets at LOCAL_OUT are in 'kernel on behalf of process' context.
>
> > But is it concerned with tasklets?
>
> what do you mean by "is it concerned" ?
>
> > Is execution serialized? In other words, if packet A fr instance is
> > received from the net, and then packet B immediately, is packet A
> > processed entirely before packet B? Or code can be executed in
> > parallel for packet A and B?
>
> on multiple cpu's it's fully parallel, so yes, packet A will execute the
> same netfilter hook (plus attached code) on CPU1 where packet B will run
> on CPU2.
>
> On a single CPU, Packet B will be put onto a queue (by the hardirq
> handler of the network driver) until packet A's softirq processing has
> finished. Then packet B will enter softirq context and pulled from that
> queue.
>
> > Moreover: interrupts are enabled in such context, aren't they? And that
> > means that also a software timer can interrupt a routine being
> > executed in bottom half.
>
> software timers dont interrupt softirq context. (neither did the
> interrupt bottom half context, when it still existed). you seem to be
> confused about the kernel contexts and their interaction.
>
> > But software timers run with sw interrupts disabled, so a timeout
> > handler for instance cannot be interrupted by a routine managing
> > reception of a packet arrived on the wire.
>
> I think you should read some general information on how softirq and
> hardirq processing work. This is not really netfilter related.
>
> --
> - Harald Welte <laforge@netfilter.org> http://netfilter.org/
> ============================================================================
> "Fragmentation is like classful addressing -- an interesting early
> architectural error that shows how much experimentation was going
> on while IP was being designed." -- Paul Vixie
>
>
>



--

Giacomo S.
http://www.giacomos.it

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Running `IPFIRE-wall` on debian GNU/Linux
http://www.giacomos.it/ipfire
http://www.debian.org

mailto:
delleceste@gmail.com
giacomo.strangolino@elettra.trieste.it
jacum@libero.it

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Re: execution context in netfilter hooks. [ In reply to ]
Thank you very much for the answer.
The thing that confused me was that i had some
functions that registered with netfilter hooks.
I thought that processing was serialized, as you said
'in a queue'...
One of those functions was consulting a linked list, each
entry in such list had a timer attached. When timer expired, the entry
was freed.
After millions of packets processed by my function, a
crash happened. I solved the problem putting
'read_lock/unlock_bh' around linked list search and around timer
expiry handler function.
I thought it was not possible that my function was interrupted, while
instead things revealed that probably
i was unsafely freeing an entry in list which still had been
used by another function.

read_locks during list_for_each while consulting list, together with
write_locks around timeout handlers and
list_add solved.

So i'm trying to understand the reason why this happened, and if i am
right to use read/write locks (_bh)
or if i would better use spin_locks (_bh) or spin locks together with
_rcu version of lists.

When i said 'is it concerned with tasklets' i meant: after
hardirq when receiving a packet, is the packet processing (and
netfilter hook functions) registered as a tasklet to run later?

As to software timers, i thought they were interrupting the other
routine scanning the linked list, as it resulted in the crash. But
probably this was due to 'kernel on behalf of process' context in
local output packets, as you said. (->does this mean no softirq
context -> routine interruptible?)

I read a lot of documents, but they talk a lot about
bottom halves, softirqs and tasklets, but perhaps some
things have changed in 2.6.x, and then i thought that new kernel
preemption would have made processing resemble SMP processing also un
UP systems.

Excuse my many questions, but i would like to clarify those important issues...

Thanks a lot!

Giacomo
--

Giacomo S.
http://www.giacomos.it

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Running `IPFIRE-wall` on debian GNU/Linux
http://www.giacomos.it/ipfire
http://www.debian.org

mailto:
delleceste@gmail.com
giacomo.strangolino@elettra.trieste.it
jacum@libero.it

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Re: execution context in netfilter hooks. [ In reply to ]
Giacomo wrote:
> A last question:
>
> you said LOCAL_OUT is on behalf of process, so it is in process
> context -> can be interrupted by timer -> the reason why code crashed!
> If so, the question would be finally clear!

Some packets traversing LOCAL_OUT can be in process context, those can
be interrupted by timers or whatever interrupt handling. But some others
can be in interrupt context because of retransmissions and other issues.
So, the affirmation: "packets in LOCAL_OUT are in process context" is bogus.

Moreover, you must also worry about preemption, eg. if preemption is
enabled one packet traversing LOCAL_OUT can be preempted by other one
from a process that has more priority. Although it is not recommended to
enable preemption in a server, you'll have to make your code
preemption-safe.

BTW, some people enable preemption in their firewalls because they don't
fully understand the concept. IMO, a firewall won't gain any advanges
from preemption since most of the work will come from interrupt context.

> LOCAL_INPUT instead should be softirq, shouldn't it? Just like
> FORWARD... so timers don't cause interruption..

That's it.

--
Pablo