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SubjectRE: Is it safe for a NIC driver to use all the 48 bytes of skb->cb?

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Dexuan Cui <>
> Sent: Saturday, February 15, 2020 12:24 AM
> To: Haiyang Zhang <>; Stephen Hemminger
> <>; David S. Miller <>;
>; KY Srinivasan <>; linux-
> Cc:
> Subject: Is it safe for a NIC driver to use all the 48 bytes of skb->cb?
> Hi,
> It looks all the layers of drivers among the network stack can use the 48-byte
> skb->cb array. Is there any rule how they should coordinate with each other?
> I noticed the last 16 bytes are used by struct skb_gso_cb:
> include/linux/skbuff.h:
> struct skb_gso_cb {
> union {
> int mac_offset;
> int data_offset;
> };
> int encap_level;
> __wsum csum;
> __u16 csum_start;
> };
> #define SKB_SGO_CB_OFFSET 32
> #define SKB_GSO_CB(skb) ((struct skb_gso_cb *)((skb)->cb +
> Does this mean a low level NIC driver (e.g. hv_netvsc) should only use the first
> 32 bytes? What if the upper layer network stack starts to take up more space in
> the future?

According to the comments in skbuff.h below, it is the responsibility of the owning
layer to make a SKB clone, if it wants to keep the data across layers. So, every layer
can still use all of the 48 bytes.

* This is the control buffer. It is free to use for every
* layer. Please put your private variables there. If you
* want to keep them across layers you have to do a skb_clone()
* first. This is owned by whoever has the skb queued ATM.
char cb[48] __aligned(8);

> Now hv_netvsc assumes it can use all of the 48-bytes, though it uses only
> 20 bytes, but just in case the struct hv_netvsc_packet grows to >32 bytes in the
> future, should we change the BUILD_BUG_ON() in netvsc_start_xmit() to
> BUILD_BUG_ON(sizeof(struct hv_netvsc_packet) > SKB_SGO_CB_OFFSET); ?

Based on the explanation above, the existing hv_netvsc code is correct.

- Haiyang

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