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A Rust eBPF toolchain.


The redbpf project is a collection of tools and libraries to build eBPF programs using Rust. It includes:

  • redbpf - a user space library that can be used to load eBPF programs or access eBPF maps.

  • redbpf-probes - an idiomatic Rust API to write eBPF programs that can be loaded by the linux kernel

  • redbpf-macros - companion crate to redbpf-probes which provides convenient procedural macros useful when writing eBPF programs. For example, #[map] for defining a map, #[kprobe] for defining a BPF program that can be attached to kernel functions.

  • cargo-bpf - a cargo subcommand for creating, building and debugging eBPF programs


  • Allows users to write both BPF programs and userspace programs in Rust
  • Offers many BPF map types
    1. HashMap, PerCpuHashMap, LruHashMap, LruPerCpuHashMap, Array, PerCpuArray, PerfMap, TcHashMap, StackTrace, ProgramArray, SockMap, DevMap, RingBuf
  • Offers several BPF program types
    1. KProbe, KRetProbe, UProbe, URetProbe, SocketFilter, XDP, StreamParser, StreamVerdict, TaskIter, SkLookup, Tracepoint
  • Provides attribute macros that define various kind of BPF programs and BPF maps in a declarative way.
    1. #[kprobe], #[kretprobe], #[uprobe], #[uretprobe], #[xdp], #[tc_action], #[socket_filter], #[stream_parser], #[stream_verdict], #[task_iter], #[tracepoint]
    2. #[map]
  • Can generate Rust bindings from the Linux kernel headers or from the BTF of vmlinux
  • Provides API for both BPF programs and userspace programs to help users write Rust idiomatic code
  • Supports BTF for maps
  • Supports pinning maps and loading maps from pins
  • Supports BPF iterator for task
  • Enables users to write BPF programs for tc action and RedBPF compiles the programs into the ELF object file that is compatible with tc command
  • Provides wrappers of BPF helper functions
  • Offers asynchronous stream of perf events for userspace programs
  • Supports multiple versions of LLVM
  • Shows BPF verifier logs when loading BPF programs, BPF maps or BTF fails
  • Has several example programs that are separated into two parts: BPF programs and userspace programs



LLVM is required in your build system to compile BPF bytecode using RedBPF.

  • LLVM 13
    It is needed to compile BPF bytecode.

  • One of the followings:

    1. The Linux kernel headers
    2. vmlinux, the Linux kernel image that contains .BTF section
    3. Raw BTF data i.e. /sys/kernel/btf/vmlinux
      These are needed to generate Rust bindings of the data structures of the Linux kernel.

On Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

Install LLVM 13 and the Linux kernel headers

# apt-get update \
  && apt-get -y install \
       wget \
       build-essential \
       software-properties-common \
       lsb-release \
       libelf-dev \
       linux-headers-generic \
       pkg-config \
  && wget && chmod +x && ./ 13 && rm -f ./
# llvm-config-13 --version | grep 13

On Fedora 35

Install LLVM 13 and the Linux kernel headers

# dnf install -y \
    clang-13.0.0 \
	llvm-13.0.0 \
	llvm-libs-13.0.0 \
	llvm-devel-13.0.0 \
	llvm-static-13.0.0 \
	kernel \
	kernel-devel \
	elfutils-libelf-devel \
	make \
    pkg-config \
# llvm-config --version | grep 13

On Arch Linux

Install LLVM 13 and the Linux kernel headers

# pacman --noconfirm -Syu \
  && pacman -S --noconfirm \
       llvm \
       llvm-libs \
       libffi \
       clang \
       make \
       pkg-config \
       linux-headers \
# llvm-config --version | grep -q '^13'

Building LLVM from source

If your Linux distro does not support the latest LLVM as pre-built packages yet, you may build LLVM from the LLVM source code.

$ tar -xaf llvm-13.0.0.src.tar.xz
$ mkdir -p llvm-13.0.0.src/build
$ cd llvm-13.0.0.src/build
$ cmake --build . --target install

Then you can use your LLVM by specifying the custom installation path when installing cargo-bpf or building RedBPF like this:

$ LLVM_SYS_130_PREFIX=$HOME/llvm-13-release/ cargo install cargo-bpf
$ LLVM_SYS_130_PREFIX=$HOME/llvm-13-release/ cargo build

Make sure correct -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE is specified. Typically Debug type is not recommended if you are not going to debug LLVM itself.

Installing cargo-bpf

cargo-bpf is a command line tool for compiling BPF program written in Rust into BPF bytecode.

$ cargo install cargo-bpf
$ cargo bpf --version

You can learn how to use this from tutorial.

Building RedBPF from source

If you want to build RedBPF from source to fix something, you can do as follows:

$ git clone
$ cd redbpf
$ git submodule sync
$ git submodule update --init
$ cargo build
$ cargo build --examples

Getting started

The easiest way to get started is reading a basic tutorial.

You can find several examples in this directory. All example programs are splitted into two parts: example-probes and example-userspace. example-probes contains BPF programs that execute in kernel context. example-userspace includes userspace programs that load BPF programs into kernel space and communicate with BPF programs through BPF maps.

See also documentation of cargo-bpf. It provides a CLI tool for compiling BPF programs easily.

redbpf-tools is a cargo-bpf generated crate that includes simple examples you can use to understand how to structure your programs.

Finally, check the foniod project that includes more advanced, concrete production ready examples of redbpf programs.

Valid combinations of Rust and LLVM versions

rustc is linked to its own bundled version of LLVM. And cargo-bpf also uses its own version of LLVM that is statically linked into cargo-bpf itself. But note that users can control the LLVM version of cargo-bpf by providing other versions of LLVM in their system when building cargo-bpf.

Why do we care about two LLVM versions?
Because both two versions of LLVMs are all participating in the process of compiling BPF programs.

  1. RedBPF executes rustc to compile BPF programs. And rustc calls LLVM functions to emit LLVM bitcode.
  2. And then RedBPF parses the emitted LLVM bitcode to convert it into BPF bytecode. To do so, it calls LLVM functions that are statically linked into cargo-bpf.

What happens if LLVM of rustc is newer than the LLVM of cargo-bpf? You already feel it. BAM! Typically older version of LLVM can not properly handle the bitcode that is generated by newer version of LLVM. i.e., cargo-bpf with older LLVM can not properly handle what rustc with newer LLVM emits.

What happens if LLVM of rustc is older than the LLVM of cargo-bpf? Normally LLVM is likely to support backward compatibility for intermediate representation.

Let's put things together.

There are two LLVM versions involved in compiling BPF programs:

  1. the version of LLVM**(1)** that cargo-bpf is statically linked to when cargo-bpf is built.
  2. the version of LLVM**(2)** that rustc is linked to.

And, (1) should be greater than or equal to (2).
It is the best case if (1) == (2) but (1) > (2) is also okay.

Rust version LLVM version of the rustc Valid LLVM version of system
1.56 ~ LLVM 13 LLVM 13 and newer

Docker images for RedBPF build test

You can refer to various Dockerfiles that contain minimal necessary packages to build RedBPF properly: Dockerfiles for RedBPF

These docker images are pushed to





See build-test.yml for more information. It describes build tests of RedBPF that run inside docker containers.

If you want docker images that are prepared to build foniod then refer to this: Dockerfiles for foniod

Note for building RedBPF inside docker containers

You need to specify KERNEL_SOURCE or KERNEL_VERSION environment variables that indicate kernel headers. The headers should be found inside the container. For example, inside the Ubuntu 21.04 container that contains the Linux 5.11.0-25-generic kernel headers, you should specify KERNEL_VERSION environment variable as follows:

# KERNEL_VERSION=5.11.0-25-generic cargo build --examples

If your container has vmlinux, the Linux kernel image that contains .BTF section in it, you can specify it instead of the Linux kernel headers.

# REDBPF_VMLINUX=/boot/vmlinux cargo build --examples

See build-test.yml for more information. It describes build tests of RedBPF that run inside docker containers.

Supported Architectures

Currently, x86-64 and aarch64 architectures are supported.


This repository contains code from other software in the following directories, licensed under their own particular licenses:

  • bpf-sys/libbpf: LGPL2 + BSD-2

Where '+' means they are dual licensed.

RedBPF and its components, unless otherwise stated, are licensed under either of

at your option.


This project is for everyone. We ask that our users and contributors take a few minutes to review our code of conduct.

Unless you explicitly state otherwise, any contribution intentionally submitted for inclusion in the work by you, as defined in the Apache-2.0 license, shall be dual licensed as above, without any additional terms or conditions.

For further advice on getting started, please consult the Contributor's Guide. Please note that all contributions MUST contain a Developer Certificate of Origin sign-off line.