Honey Potion

Writing eBPF programs with Elixir!
Alternatives To Honey Potion
Project NameStarsDownloadsRepos Using ThisPackages Using ThisMost Recent CommitTotal ReleasesLatest ReleaseOpen IssuesLicenseLanguage
Honey Potion156
4 days ago1June 13, 20229gpl-3.0C
Writing eBPF programs with Elixir!
8 months ago11April 09, 20211bsd-3-clauseGo
cBPF to C or eBPF compiler
2 months ago1apache-2.0C++
A BPF-based syscall fault injector
El7 Bpf Specs37
a year ago1Shell
RPM specs for building bpf related tools on CentOS 7
Uprobe Http Tracer29
3 years agoGo
uprobe-based HTTP tracer for Go binaries
Ebpf Icmp Ping25
6 years ago1C
7 years agoapache-2.0Go
Go eBPF Library
Kubectl Prof3
4 months ago2apache-2.0Go
kubectl-prof is a kubectl plugin to profile applications on kubernetes with minimum overhead
Go Ebpf Examples2
4 years ago1Go
Xdp Tcpdump1
2 years agoC
xdp-tcpdump is tcpdump like tool for eXpress Data Path (XDP).
Alternatives To Honey Potion
Select To Compare

Alternative Project Comparisons

🍯 Honey Potion - Writing eBPF with Elixir 🍯

Hex Version Hex Docs Total Download License Last Updated



Honey Potion is a framework that brings the powerful eBPF technology into Elixir. Users can write Elixir code that will be transformed into eBPF bytecodes. Many high-level features of Elixir are available and more will be added soon. In this alpha version, the framework translates the code to a subset of C that uses libbpf's features. Then it's possible to use clang to obtain the bytecodes and load it into the Kernel.


Honey Potion depends on a few BPF-related packages to run. Below are listed the packages with the ubuntu names. Other distros should have similar or equal names.

  • erlang and elixir - For the language used in Honey Potion
  • libbpf-dev - For libbpf, libelf and zlib
  • gcc-multilib - For C libraries (asm/types.h)
  • make - For Makefile compilation
  • llvm - For llc
  • clang - For clang

Note that clang, llc and bpftool can be compiled by the user, as long as they are in the $PATH.


The package can be installed by adding honey to your list of dependencies in mix.exs:

def deps do
    {:honey, git: "https://github.com/lac-dcc/honey-potion/", submodules: true}


When you use Honey in your module, it'll be translated to C the next time you compile the project. For example:

defmodule Minimal do
  use Honey, license: "Dual BSD/GPL"

  # ...

Will generate a few new sub-directories for you:

  • src : Where the C code is kept, Minimal.bpf.c for example
  • obj : Where compilation objects is be kept, Minimal.o for example
  • bin : Where the executable is kept, Minimal for example

To run your program, just go into the bin directory and run the executable with privileges.

If you wish to learn how to use Honey-Potion with a video click here.

Notice the license option: as eBPF demands, we need to specify a license to our program. Currently, Honey accepts one more option besides the license. The option clang_formater can take the path of the clang-formater executable, and it'll use it to beautify the C file generated.

Main function

A module that uses Honey must define a function main/1 that receives a ctx. The main function is the entry point of our eBPF program. For example:

defmodule Example.Minimal do
  use Honey, license: "Dual BSD/GPL"

  @sec "tracepoint/syscalls/sys_enter_kill"
  def main(ctx) do
    # ...

Notice the @sec decorator: The main function must specify its program type, according to the available options in libbpf. The argument received, ctx, is a struct whose fields vary depending on the program type. In its Alpha version, only one type is allowed: tracepoint/syscalls/sys_enter_kill.

The main function must return an integer, otherwise an exception will be thrown at runtime (see Runtime Exceptions below).


Users can define maps using the macro defmap. For example, to create a map named my_map, you can:

     %{type: BPF_MAP_TYPE_ARRAY,
     max_entries: 10}

In the Alpha version, just the map type BPF_MAP_TYPE_ARRAY is available, but you only need to specify the number of entries and the map is ready to use.

Helper functions

eBPF and libbpf provides some helper functions, and so does Honey. In the Alpha version, there is a single module you can import:

import Honey.Bpf.Bpf_helpers

Referencing the usual #include <bpf/bpf_helpers>, this module allows you to call:

  • bpf_map_lookup_elem(map, key) ➜ Map access are easy, you can pass the name of the map declared with defmap and the key (currently, only integer), and the function will the return the value to you. In the Alpha version, if it is not possible to access that position of the map, a Runtime exception will be thrown.

  • bpf_map_update_elem(map, key, value) ➜ Update a position in a map. It receives the name of the map, the key (currently, only integers) and the value to be updated. The return is 0 on success, or a negative error in case of failure.

  • bpf_printk(params) ➜ Send a string to the debug pipe. In this Alpha version, params is an array. The first position must be a string containing up to three format specifiers %d. The number of next elements must be the same number of %d used. For example:

    bpf_printk(["I am printing the number %d, and also %d.", n1, n2])

    You can read the pipe with sudo cat /sys/kernel/debug/tracing/trace_pipe. In the Alpha version, only variables of type integers can be printed.

  • bpf_get_current_pid_tgid() ➜ Return the PID of the process that triggered the eBPF program.

Recursive functions

It is possible to define recursive functions and call them from main/1. For example, let's define a function that recursively sums two natural numbers:

def sum(a, b) do
  if b == 0 do
    sum(a + 1, b - 1)

To avoid infinite recursion and satisfy the eBPF verifier, we require you to inform a constant number that will be used to limit the maximum depth of recursion at runtime. This is done through the macro fuel. Its syntax is: fuel max_number, function_call(...)

Let's see an example inside main:

@sec "tracepoint/syscalls/sys_enter_kill"
def main(ctx) do
  x = 100
  y = fuel 10, sum(x, 5)
  bpf_printk(["The value of y is %d", y])

We provide a constant amount of 10 units fuel in the first call sum. Each time sum calls itself, it burns one unit of fuel. If, at some point, sum tries to calls itself again with no fuel remaining, a Runtime Exception will be thrown and the program will halt.

Runtime Exceptions

Exceptions are a natural part of dynamically-typed languages such as Elixir. To allow many of the high-level constructs of Elixir, we simulate the notion of Runtime Exceptions when translating programs to eBPF. In this Alpha version, when a Runtime Exception is thrown, the program will print the exception message to the debug pipe, and return with 0.

Current limitations

This framework is still Alpha, and we have lots of features to add, improve and correct. Amongst the current known limitations are:

  • We cannot destructure elements while doing pattern matching. Because of that, the matching operator = is working like a traditional assignment operator with only a simple variable in the left-hand side. For the same reason, case and if-else blocks are not supported, unless they are totally optimized out at compile time.
  • Only a small number of operators are available, such as +, -, *, / and ==.
  • We do not support function guards nor default arguments.
  • We do not support mutual recursive functions.
  • We do not support user-defined structs.
  • To run the executable currently, executable has to be in bin folder and object in obj folder.

There are more, and we are actively working to improve it.


Contributions are very welcome! If you are interested in collaborating, let's stay in touch so our work doesn't overlap. Feedback and suggestions are also very much appreciated! You can file a GitHub issue or contact us at [email protected].

Copyright & License

Copyright (C) 2022 Compilers Laboratory - Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), Brazil

This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program. If not, see https://www.gnu.org/licenses/.

Popular Ebpf Projects
Popular Clang Projects
Popular Software Performance Categories
Related Searches

Get A Weekly Email With Trending Projects For These Categories
No Spam. Unsubscribe easily at any time.
Linux Kernel
Network Monitoring