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Subjectcgroups(7): documenting cgroups v2 delegation
Date
Hello Tejun and Serge

The delegation feature of cgroups v2 has of course been around
for a while now, but was not documented so far in cgroups(7).
I have written some text to describe the delegation feature.
I would be happy to receive suggestions for fixes, improvements,
or corrections to errors, from you (or others). The plain-text
version for (easy review) is shown below. (Please note the FIXME!)

The branch containing the pending cgroups(7) changes can be found at:
https://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/docs/man-pages/man-pages.git/log/?h=draft_cgroup_updates

[[
Cgroups v2 delegation
In the context of cgroups, delegation means passing management
of some subtree of the cgroup hierarchy to a nonprivileged
process. Cgroups v1 provides support for delegation that was
accidental and not fully secure. Cgroups v2 supports delega‐
tion by explicit design.

Some terminology is required in order to describe delegation.
A delegater is a privileged user (i.e., root) who owns a parent
cgroup. A delegatee is a nonprivileged user who will be
granted the permissions needed to manage some subhierarchy
under that parent cgroup, known as the delegated subtree.

To perform delegation, the delegater makes certain directories
and files writable by the delegatee, typically by changing the
ownership of the objects to be the user ID of the delegatee.
Assuming that we want to delegate the hierarchy rooted at (say)
/dlgt_grp and that there are not yet any child cgroups under
that cgroup, the ownership of the following is changed to the
user ID of the delegatee:

/dlgt_grp
Changing the ownership of the root of the subtree means
that any new cgroups created under the subtree (and the
files they contain) will also be owned by the delegatee.

/dlgt_grp/cgroup.procs
Changing the ownership of this file means that the dele‐
gatee can move processes into the root of the delegated
subtree.

/dlgt_grp/cgroup.subtree_control
Making this file owned by the delegatee is optional.
Doing so means that that the delegatee can enable con‐
trollers (that are present in /dlgt_grp/cgroup.con‐
trollers) in order to further redistribute resources at
lower levels in the subtree. As an alternative to
changing the ownership of this file, the delegater might
instead add selected controllers to this file.

The delegater should not change the ownership of any of the
controller interfaces files (e.g., pids.max, memory.high) in
dlgt_grp. Those files are used from the next level above the
delegated subtree in order to distribute resources into the
subtree, and the delegatee should not have permission to change
the resources that are distributed into the delegated subtree.

After the aforementioned steps have been performed, the delega‐
tee can create child cgroups within the delegated subtree and
move processes between cgroups in the subtree. If some con‐
trollers are present in dlgt_grp/cgroup.subtree_control, or the
ownership of that file was passed to the delegatee, the delega‐
tee can also control the further redistribution of the corre‐
sponding resources into the delegated subtree.

Some delegation containment rules ensure that the delegatee can
move processes between cgroups within the delegated subtree,
but can't move processes from outside the delegated subtree
into the subtree or vice versa. A nonprivileged process (i.e.,
the delegatee) can write the PID of a "target" process into a
cgroup.procs file only if all of the following are true:

* The effective UID of the writer (i.e., the delegatee)
matches the real user ID or the saved set-user-ID of the
target process.

* The writer has write permission on the cgroup.procs file in
the destination cgroup.

* The writer has write permission on the cgroup.procs file in
the common ancestor of the source and destination cgroups.
(In some cases, the common ancestor may be the source or
destination cgroup itself.)

┌─────────────────────────────────────────────────────┐
│FIXME │
├─────────────────────────────────────────────────────┤
│Please confirm that the following is correct: │
└─────────────────────────────────────────────────────┘

Note: one consequence of these delegation containment rules is
that the unprivileged delegatee can't place the first process
into the delegated subtree; instead, the delegater must place
the first process (a process owned by the delegatee) into the
delegated subtree.
]]

Cheers,

Michael


--
Michael Kerrisk
Linux man-pages maintainer; http://www.kernel.org/doc/man-pages/
Linux/UNIX System Programming Training: http://man7.org/training/

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