Cross-compiling eBPF Programs

There are several ways of building eBPF applications for Linux. The main and most straightforward way consists of these steps:

  1. Build the eBPF part using Clang (it’s a regular Object in ELF format).

  2. Generate a special C file named “skeleton” which contains an entire blob for the eBPF part and the functions for loading it using libbpf.

  3. Write a C program which uses these functions for opening the eBPF application, loading it into the kernel and attaching it to events.

  4. Build your C program using GCC toolchain and run on your target.

Building eBPF Programs Natively (e.g. x86 host and target)

Consider the minimal program from libbpf-bootstrap repository. It consists of 2 files: minimal.c and minimal.bpf.c. Ensure that libbpf and the corresponding development files are installed (e.g., for Fedora you need to install libbpf and libbpf-devel packages). Also, a recent version of bpftool utility must be installed. Then you can build the program using these commands:

# Replace -D__TARGET_ARCH_x86 to an appropriate one for your platform
clang -g                  \
      -O2                 \
      -Wall               \
      -target bpf         \
      -D__TARGET_ARCH_x86 \
      -c minimal.bpf.c    \
      -o minimal.bpf.o

bpftool gen skeleton minimal.bpf.o > minimal.skel.h

gcc minimal.c -lbpf       \
              -lelf       \
              -lz         \
              -o minimal

Then you can run this program with root privileges:

# The 2 commands below are a one-time setup. Run them with root privileges.
mount -t debugfs debugfs /sys/kernel/debug
sysctl net.core.bpf_jit_enable=1           # Keep 0, if you don't want JIT.

$ sudo ./minimal
[sudo] password for user:
libbpf: loading object 'minimal_bpf' from buffer
libbpf: elf: section(3) tp/syscalls/sys_enter_write, size 104, link 0, flags 6, type=1
libbpf: sec 'tp/syscalls/sys_enter_write': found program 'handle_tp' at insn offset 0 (0 bytes), code size 13 insns (104 bytes)
libbpf: elf: section(4) .reltp/syscalls/sys_enter_write, size 32, link 22, flags 40, type=9
libbpf: elf: section(5) license, size 13, link 0, flags 3, type=1
libbpf: license of minimal_bpf is Dual BSD/GPL
libbpf: elf: section(6) .bss, size 4, link 0, flags 3, type=8
libbpf: elf: section(7) .rodata, size 28, link 0, flags 2, type=1
libbpf: elf: section(13) .BTF, size 609, link 0, flags 0, type=1
libbpf: elf: section(15) .BTF.ext, size 160, link 0, flags 0, type=1
libbpf: elf: section(22) .symtab, size 336, link 1, flags 0, type=2
libbpf: looking for externs among 14 symbols...
libbpf: collected 0 externs total
libbpf: map 'minimal_.bss' (global data): at sec_idx 6, offset 0, flags 400.
libbpf: map 0 is "minimal_.bss"
libbpf: map 'minimal_.rodata' (global data): at sec_idx 7, offset 0, flags 480.
libbpf: map 1 is "minimal_.rodata"
libbpf: sec '.reltp/syscalls/sys_enter_write': collecting relocation for section(3) 'tp/syscalls/sys_enter_write'
libbpf: sec '.reltp/syscalls/sys_enter_write': relo #0: insn #2 against 'my_pid'
libbpf: prog 'handle_tp': found data map 0 (minimal_.bss, sec 6, off 0) for insn 2
libbpf: sec '.reltp/syscalls/sys_enter_write': relo #1: insn #6 against '.rodata'
libbpf: prog 'handle_tp': found data map 1 (minimal_.rodata, sec 7, off 0) for insn 6
libbpf: map 'minimal_.bss': created successfully, fd=4
libbpf: map 'minimal_.rodata': created successfully, fd=5
Successfully started! Please run `sudo cat /sys/kernel/debug/tracing/trace_pipe` to see output of the BPF programs.

Some examples from libbpf-bootstrap use vmlinux.h - It’s a header file with the definitions of all the data structures for that particular kernel. The easiest way to obtain it on the host system is by using bpftool, if the kernel was built with CONFIG_DEBUG_INFO_BTF=y:

bpftool --debug btf dump file /sys/kernel/btf/vmlinux format c > vmlinux.h

Else, you can generate vmlinux.h from any vmlinux image with BTF information:

bpftool --debug btf dump file path/to/your/vmlinux format c > vmlinux.h

Building eBPF Programs and Their Dependencies for ARC

Suppose that the root directory of the toolchain for ARC HS 4x is /tools/arc-linux-gnu. /tools/arc-linux-gnu/bin must be in PATH variable. bpftool must be available too.

Create a directory for ARC’s libraries and includes:

mkdir /tools/sysroot

Export common variables:

export CFLAGS="-Og -g3 -fPIC"
export CXXFLAGS="-Og -g3 -fPIC"
export CPPFLAGS="-I/tools/sysroot/include"
export LDFLAGS="-L/tools/sysroot/lib"

We are going to use the latest releases of libraries at the moment of writing of this manual instead of development branches.

Building zlib

git clone -b v1.2.13
cd zlib

./configure CHOST="arc-linux-gnu" --static --prefix="/tools/sysroot"

make install

Building libelf

git clone -b elfutils-0.189
cd elfutils
autoreconf -i -f

./configure --host=arc-linux-gnu          \
            --target=arc-linux-gnu        \
            --disable-dependency-tracking \
            --disable-nls                 \
            --program-prefix="eu-"        \
            --disable-libdebuginfod       \
            --disable-debuginfod          \
            --without-bzlib               \
            --without-lzma                \
            --without-zstd                \
            --prefix="/tools/sysroot"     \

make -C libelf install-includeHEADERS install-libLIBRARIES

Building libbpf

git clone -b v1.1.0
cd libbpf/src

make BUILD_STATIC_ONLY="y"          \
     PREFIX="/"                     \
     DESTDIR="/tools/sysroot"       \
     CROSS_COMPILE="arc-linux-gnu-" \
     install install_uapi_headers

Generate vmlinux.h from your vmlinux image

Make sure that you have a recent version of bpftool (≥7).

bpftool --debug btf dump file path/to/your/vmlinux format c > /tools/sysroot/include/vmlinux.h

Overview of /tools/sysroot

After building and installing all libraries /tools/sysroot should look like this:

$ tree -L 3 /tools/sysroot
|-- include
|   |-- bpf
|   |   |-- bpf_core_read.h
|   |   |-- bpf_endian.h
|   |   |-- bpf.h
|   |   |-- bpf_helper_defs.h
|   |   |-- bpf_helpers.h
|   |   |-- bpf_tracing.h
|   |   |-- btf.h
|   |   |-- libbpf_common.h
|   |   |-- libbpf.h
|   |   |-- libbpf_legacy.h
|   |   |-- libbpf_version.h
|   |   |-- skel_internal.h
|   |   `-- usdt.bpf.h
|   |-- gelf.h
|   |-- libelf.h
|   |-- linux
|   |   |-- bpf.h
|   |   |-- bpf_common.h
|   |   `-- btf.h
|   |-- nlist.h
|   |-- zconf.h
|   `-- zlib.h
|-- lib
|   |-- libbpf.a
|   |-- libelf.a
|   |-- libz.a
|   `-- pkgconfig
|       |-- libbpf.pc
|       `-- zlib.pc
`-- share
    `-- man
        `-- man3

9 directories, 26 files

Building eBPF Program

# The paths where the native ARC tools and the cross ARC toolchain are installed
readonly NATIVE_SYSROOT=/tools/sysroot
readonly TOOLCHAIN_SYSROOT=/tools/arc-linux-gnu/sysroot

# Clang uses host's Linux headers if we don't pass toolchain's includes.
# Also, the -XClang arguments below are optional.
clang -g                                 \
      -O2                                \
      -Wall                              \
      -target bpf                        \
      -D__TARGET_ARCH_arc                \
      -I${NATIVE_SYSROOT}/usr/include    \
      -I${TOOLCHAIN_SYSROOT}/usr/include \
      -Xclang -target-feature            \
      -Xclang +alu32                     \
      -c minimal.bpf.c                   \
      -o minimal.bpf.o

# bpftool must be a recent version (≥7)
bpftool gen skeleton minimal.bpf.o > minimal.skel.h

# shared library build (-latomic is listed for future reference)
arc-linux-gcc minimal.c                       \
              -I${NATIVE_SYSROOT}/usr/include \
              -L${NATIVE_SYSROOT}/usr/lib     \
              -lbpf                           \
              -lelf                           \
              -lz                             \
              -latomic                        \
              -o minimal

# static build (-latomic is listed for future reference)
arc-linux-gcc minimal.c                          \
              -I${SYSROOT}/usr/include           \
              ${NATIVE_SYSROOT}/usr/lib/libbpf.a \
              ${NATIVE_SYSROOT}/usr/lib/libelf.a \
              ${NATIVE_SYSROOT}/usr/lib/libz.a   \
              -latomic                           \
              -o minimal

Using eBPF Testbench for ARC

You can use a testbench which automates all the above steps for building eBPF programs for ARC: