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SubjectRe: [PATCH] tcp_v4_get_port() and ephemeral ports
Mika Liljeberg wrote:
> Dan Kegel wrote:
> > So far, I've found an implementation of getifaddrs() that makes it
> > easy to retrieve the list of local IP addresses, and modified my
> > benchmark to assign a different local ip address to each user;
> > the users use bind() with that address and a zero port number,
> > and expect the system to assign a port.
> [...]
> > It's tempting to patch tcp_v4_get_port() to check
> > sk->rcv_saddr, and if it's nonzero, allow the
> > same ephemeral port number to be reused on different interfaces.
> [...]
> > Can anyone comment on the wisdom of such a change?
> Hi Dan,

Thanks for the reply!

> It shouldn't break anything as far as I can see. However, patching the
> kernel simply to accommodate a benchmark does not seem the right thing
> to do. Since your client is already binding the source address, why not
> simply bind the port as well? You can easily loop the whole 64K range if
> you want. ... I don't see any reason to
> modify the kernel for this, particularly as it wouldn't really help port
> exhaustion in real-life situations.

Depends on what you mean by real-life situations. If you actually
need to handle over ten thousand outgoing connections, this change
could indeed help relieve port exhaustion. Think of web spiders
or web caches on gigabit/sec links.

Perhaps one could go further, and have the kernel pick an ip address as
well; that would make the app even easier to code. That means
changing connect() rather than bind(). It looks like the ip address for
ephemeral connect() is picked by tcp_v4_connect / ip_route_connect /
ip_route_output / ip_route_output_key / ip_route_output_slow / inet_select_addr().
inet_select_addr() calls for_primary_ifa to iterate through the devices,
so it doesn't pick up aliases. Making this pick an alias at random
is kind of a gross thought. I suppose there could be a socket option
SO_PREFER_ALIASES, and make it pick an alias 'at random'. That's a change
I'd rather not make, since it looks like socket option space is about used up.

> Or you could even pick a completely empty port range and bind
> each client socket with the SO_REUSE flag (which is ok, since your
> clients are using different source addresses).

SO_REUSE might let my app's connections collide with those
of other apps, wouldn't it? Doesn't seem very clean. A web cache
or web spider probably wouldn't use SO_REUSE, would it?

I guess I'm resigned to managing the ephemeral port number in my app.
A bit of a pain, but that's life. If this ever starts bugging
lots of people, I'm sure a consensus about how to make life easier
will pop up.
- Dan
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