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Interacting with Linux BPF Ring Buffer using Package ringbuf in libbpfgo


Linux BPF (Berkeley Packet Filter) ring buffer is a powerful mechanism that allows userspace programs to interact with custom events submitted by BPF programs. These events can be essential for tasks such as pushing packet samples from BPF to user space daemons. In this blog post, we will explore how the package ringbuf in libbpfgo enables seamless interaction with the Linux BPF ring buffer.

Understanding the Package ringbuf

The package ringbuf provides a convenient API for reading bpf_ringbuf_output from user space. It offers functionality to create a reader, read records from the ring buffer, set deadlines, and manage resources. Let’s take a closer look at the key components of this package.


The Reader struct is the central component of the package ringbuf. It encapsulates the functionality required to read records from the BPF ring buffer. The NewReader function is used to create a new instance of the Reader by providing the corresponding ring buffer map.

type Reader struct {
    // contains filtered or unexported fields

func NewReader(ringbufMap *ebpf.Map) (*Reader, error)

Reading Records

The Read method of the Reader allows us to read the next record from the BPF ring buffer. It returns a Record object containing the raw sample data. If the Close method is called on the reader, the Read method will return os.ErrClosed Additionally, if a deadline was set and it expires, the Read method will return os.ErrDeadlineExceeded.

func (r *Reader) Read() (Record, error)

Efficient Record Reading

To improve efficiency and reduce memory allocations, the package provides the ReadInto method, introduced in version 0.9.0. This method allows us to reuse a preallocated Record object and its associated buffers, minimizing unnecessary memory operations.

func (r *Reader) ReadInto(rec *Record) error

Setting Deadlines

The SetDeadline method, added in version 0.9.2, enables the control of the blocking behavior of the Read and ReadInto methods. By passing a specific time value, we can set a deadline for waiting on samples. A zero time.Time value removes the deadline.

func (r *Reader) SetDeadline(t time.Time)

Closing the Reader

To free the resources used by the reader, the Close method is available. It interrupts any ongoing calls to the Read method and releases associated resources.

func (r *Reader) Close() error


The package ringbuf in libbpfgo simplifies the interaction with the Linux BPF ring buffer, enabling userspace programs to read custom events submitted by BPF programs efficiently. With its intuitive API, developers can easily create a reader, read records from the ring buffer, set deadlines for blocking calls, and manage resources effectively. By leveraging the capabilities of the package ringbuf, users can harness the full potential of the BPF ring buffer in their applications.

The package ringbuf documentation and examples provide further insights into its usage and integration with libbpfgo. With this powerful tool at your disposal, you can unlock the full potential of BPF ring buffer interactions in your Linux applications.

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