Chapter 2. Running Your First BPF Programs

The BPF VM is capable of running instructions in response to events triggered by the kernel. However, not all BPF programs have access to all events triggered by the kernel. When you load a program into the BPF VM, you need to decide which type of program you’re running. This informs the kernel about where your program is going to be triggered. It also tells the BPF verifier which helpers are going to be allowed in your program. When you choose the program type, you’re also choosing the interface that your program is implementing. This interface ensures that you have access to the appropriate type of data, and whether your program can access network packets directly or not.

In this chapter, we show you how to write your first BPF programs. We also guide you around the different types of BPF programs that you can create (as of the writing of this book). Over the years, the kernel developers have been adding different entry points to which you can attach BPF programs. This work is not complete yet, and they are finding new ways to take advantage of BPF every day. We’re going to focus on some of the most useful types of programs in this chapter, with the intention of giving you a taste of what you can do with BPF. We go over many additional examples in future chapters on how to write BPF programs.

This chapter will also cover the role that the BPF verifier plays in running your programs. This component validates that your code is safe to ...

Get Linux Observability with BPF now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience books, live events, courses curated by job role, and more from O’Reilly and nearly 200 top publishers.