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Go Busybox

PkgGoDev Build Status Slack

Go Busybox is a set of Go tools that allow you to compile many Go commands into one binary. The resulting binary uses its invocation arguments (os.Args) to determine which command is being called.

Feature Support status
Go version 1.13+
Packaging Go modules, Go vendoring, bazel w/ rules_go
GOOS linux (others may work, but untested)
GOARCH amd64, arm, arm64, riscv64 (others may work, but untested)
CGO Not supported

Other GOARCH and GOOS architectures are likely to work as well, but are untested.

An example:

(cd ./src/cmd/makebb && go install)
makebb ./test/nested/cmd/dmesg ./test/nested/cmd/strace

A binary named bb should appear. It can be invoked in one of two ways -- either with a symlink or using a second argument.

# Make a symlink dmesg -> bb
ln -s bb dmesg
# Symlink means that argv[0] is the command name.
./dmesg

# Make a symlink strace -> bb
ln -s bb strace
./strace echo "hi"

If symlinks are a hassle, you can also invoke the binary like this:

./bb dmesg
./bb strace echo "hi"

Go Busybox does this by copying all the source for these Go commands and rewriting it in a temporary directory.

Go Busybox can be used with any Go commands across multiple Go modules:

git clone https://github.com/hugelgupf/p9
git clone https://github.com/gokrazy/gokrazy

makebb ./p9/cmd/* ./gokrazy/cmd/*

For the moment, makebb is tested with repositories on the local file system. Using Go import paths is supported, as well, but not as well-tested.

APIs

Besides the makebb CLI command, there is a Go API at src/pkg/bb and bazel rules in src/gobb2.bzl.

Using bazel go_busybox rule

Assuming you have rules_go set up, add the following to your WORKSPACE:

git_repository(
    name = "com_github_u_root_gobusybox",

    # We do not have regular releases yet.
    #
    # We also do not guarantee compatibility yet, so it may be worth choosing a
    # commit and setting `commit = "hash"` here instead of the branch.
    branch = "main",
    remote = "https://github.com/u-root/gobusybox.git",
)

Then, in any BUILD file, you can create a busybox like this:

load("@com_github_u_root_gobusybox//src:gobb2.bzl", "go_busybox")

go_busybox(
    name = "bb",
    cmds = [
        # These must be absolute labels, for the moment, and each command must
        # be listed individually. (No :... or :all target patterns.)
        "//cmd/foobar",
        "//cmd/otherbar",

        # Another repository's go_binarys are totally fine, e.g. if imported
        # with gazelle's go_repository rule.
        "@com_github_u-root_u-root//cmds/core/ls",
    ],
)

For the moment, the targets listed on cmds must be individual, absolute labels (issue #38).

Shortcomings

  • Any imported packages' init functions are run for every command.

    For example, if some command imports the testing package, all commands in the busybox will have testing's flags registered as a side effect, because testing's init function runs with every command.

    While Go busybox handles every main commands' init functions, it does not handle dependencies' init functions. Done properly, it would have to rewrite all non-standard-library packages as well as commands. This has not been necessary to implement so far. It would likely be necessary if, for example, two different imported packages register the same flag unconditionally globally.

  • There are still some issues with Go module dependency resolution. Please file an issue if you encounter one, even if it turns out to be your own issue -- our error messages should be telling users what to fix and why.

Contact

People who use this project tend to hang out on the #u-root-dev channel on the Open Source Firmware Slack (Sign Up Link).

Common Dependency Conflicts

If commands from more than one Go module are combined into a busybox, there are a few common dependency pitfalls to be aware of. Go busybox will do its best to log actionable suggestions in case of conflicts.

It's important to be aware that not all go.mod files are equal. The main module is the module containing the directory where the go command is invoked. replace and exclude directives only apply in the main module's go.mod file and are ignored in other modules.

If Go busybox is asked to combine programs under different main modules, it will do its best to merge the replace and exclude directives from all main module go.mod files.

Let's say, for example, that u-root's cmds/core/* is being combined into a busybox with u-bmc's cmd/*. Each have a main module go.mod, one at u-root/go.mod and one at u-bmc/go.mod.

$ cat ./u-root/go.mod
...
replace github.com/intel-go/cpuid => /somewhere/cpuid
exclude github.com/insomniacslk/dhcp v1.0.2
$ cat ./u-bmc/go.mod
...
replace github.com/intel-go/cpuid => /somewhere/cpuid
exclude github.com/mdlayher/ethernet v1.0.3

Go busybox generated go.mod (does not list require statements):

...
# Because *both* u-root/go.mod and u-bmc/go.mod pointed to a local copy of cpuid
replace github.com/intel-go/cpuid => ./src/github.com/intel-go/cpuid

# From either go.mod file.
exclude github.com/insomniacslk/dhcp v1.0.2
exclude github.com/mdlayher/ethernet v1.0.3

Certain conflicts can come up during this prcess. This section covers each potential conflict and potential solutions you can enact in your code:

  1. Conflicting local commands. E.g. two local copies of u-root and u-bmc are being combined into a busybox with makebb ./u-root/cmds/core/* ./u-bmc/cmd/*. If u-bmc/go.mod depends on [email protected] from GitHub, that conflicts with the local ./u-root being requested with makebb.

    Solution: u-bmc/go.mod needs replace github.com/u-root/u-root => ../u-root.

  2. Conflicting local replace directives. Ex:

    > u-root/go.mod
    replace github.com/insomniacslk/dhcp => ../local/dhcp
    
    > u-bmc/go.mod
    require github.com/insomniacslk/dhcp/v2 v2.0.0.-...
    

    u-root has replaced dhcp, but u-bmc still depends on the remote dhcp/v2.

    Solution: u-root drops local replace rule, or u-bmc/go.mod needs replace github.com/insomniacslk/dhcp => $samedir/local/dhcp as well.

  3. Two conflicting local replace directives. Ex:

    > u-root/go.mod
    replace github.com/insomniacslk/dhcp => /some/dhcp
    
    > u-bmc/go.mod
    replace github.com/insomniacslk/dhcp => /other/dhcp
    

    Solution: both go.mod files must point replace github.com/insomniacslk/dhcp at the same directory.

How It Works

src/pkg/bb implements a Go source-to-source transformation on pure Go code (no cgo).

This AST transformation does the following:

  • Takes a Go command's source files and rewrites them into Go package files (almost) without global side effects.
  • Writes a main.go file with a main() that calls into the appropriate Go command package based on argv[0] or argv[1].

This allows you to take two Go commands, such as Go implementations of sl and cowsay and compile them into one binary.

Which command is invoked is determined by argv[0] or argv[1] if argv[0] is not recognized. Let's say bb is the compiled binary; the following are equivalent invocations of sl and cowsay:

(cd ./src/cmd/makebb && go install)
makebb ./test/nested/cmd/dmesg ./test/nested/cmd/strace

# Make a symlink dmesg -> bb
ln -s bb dmesg
./dmesg

# Make a symlink strace -> bb
ln -s bb strace
./strace echo "hi"
./bb dmesg
./bb strace echo "hi"

Command Transformation

Principally, the AST transformation moves all global side-effects into callable package functions. E.g. main becomes registeredMain, each init becomes initN, and global variable assignments are moved into their own initN. A registeredInit calls each initN function in the correct init order.

Then, these registeredMain and registeredInit functions can be registered with a global map of commands by name and used when called upon.

Let's say a command github.com/org/repo/cmds/sl contains the following main.go:

package main

import (
  "flag"
  "log"
)

var name = flag.String("name", "", "Gimme name")

func init() {
  log.Printf("init %s", *name)
}

func main() {
  log.Printf("train")
}

This would be rewritten to be:

package sl // based on the directory name or bazel-rule go_binary name

import (
  "flag"
  "log"

  "../bb/pkg/bbmain" // generated import path
)

// Type has to be inferred through type checking.
var name *string

func init0() {
  log.Printf("init %s", *name)
}

func init1() {
  name = flag.String("name", "", "Gimme name")
}

func registeredInit() {
  // Order is determined by go/types.Info.InitOrder.
  init1()
  init0()
}

func registeredMain() {
  log.Printf("train")
}

func init() {
  bbmain.Register("sl", registeredInit, registeredMain)
}

Generated main.go

The main.go file is generated from ./src/pkg/bb/bbmain/cmd/main.go.

package main

import (
  "os"
  "log"
  "path/filepath"

  // Side-effect import so init in sl calls bbmain.Register
  _ "github.com/org/repo/cmds/sl"

  "../bb/pkg/bbmain"
)

func main() {
  bbmain.Run(filepath.Base(os.Argv[0]))
}

Directory Structure

All files are written into a temporary directory. All dependencies that can be found on the local file system are also written there.

The directory structure we generate resembles a $GOPATH-based source tree, even if we are combining module-based Go commands. This just lends itself to code reuse within bb: if you remove all the go.mod file, and add in vendored files, the tree still compiles.

/tmp/bb-$NUM/
└── src
    ├── bb.u-root.com
    │   └── bb
    │       ├── go.mod                << generated main module go.mod (see below)
    │       ├── main.go               << ./src/pkg/bb/bbmain/cmd/main.go (with edits)
    │       └── pkg
    │           └── bbmain
    │               └── register.go   << ./src/pkg/bb/bbmain/register.go
    └── github.com
        └── u-root
            ├── u-bmc
            │   ├── cmd
            │   │   ├── fan           << generated command package
            │   │   ├── login         << generated command package
            │   │   └── socreset      << generated command package
            │   ├── go.mod            << remote dependency manifest copied from u-bmc (if module)
            │   └── pkg
            │       ├── acme          << local dependency copied from u-bmc
            │       ├── aspeed        << local dependency copied from u-bmc
            │       ├── gpiowatcher   << local dependency copied from u-bmc
            │       └── mtd           << local dependency copied from u-bmc
            └── u-root
                ├── cmds
                │   └── core
                │       ├── cat       << generated command package
                │       ├── ip        << generated command package
                │       └── ls        << generated command package
                ├── go.mod            << remote dependency manifest copied from u-root (if module)
                └── pkg
                    ├── curl          << local dependency copied from u-root
                    ├── dhclient      << local dependency copied from u-root
                    ├── ip            << local dependency copied from u-root
                    ├── ls            << local dependency copied from u-root
                    └── uio           << local dependency copied from u-root

Dependency Resolution

There are two kinds of dependencies we care about: remote go.mod dependencies, and local file system dependencies.

For remote go.mod dependencies, we copy over all go.mod files into the transformed dependency tree. (See u-root/go.mod and u-bmc/go.mod in the example above.)

Local dependencies can be many kinds, and they all need some special attention:

  • non-module builds: dependencies in $GOPATH need to either be copied into the new tree, or we need to set our GOPATH=/tmp/bb-$NUM:$GOPATH to find these dependencies.
  • non-module builds: dependencies in vendor/ need to be copied into the new tree.
  • module builds: dependencies within a command's own module (e.g. u-root/cmds/core/ls depends on u-root/pkg/ls) need to be copied into the new tree.
  • module builds: replaced modules on the local file system. replace directives are only respected in main module go.mod files, which would be u-root/go.mod and u-bmc/go.mod respectively in the above example. The compiled busybox shall respect all main modules' replace directives, so they must be added to the generated main module go.mod.

Generated main module go.mod

The generated main module go.mod refers packages to their local copies:

package bb.u-root.com # some domain that will never exist

replace github.com/u-root/u-root => ./src/github.com/u-root/u-root
replace github.com/u-root/u-bmc => ./src/github.com/u-root/u-bmc

# also, this must have copies of `replace` and `exclude` directives from
# u-root/go.mod and u-bmc/go.mod
#
# if these fundamentally conflict, we cannot build a unified busybox.

If u-root/go.mod and u-bmc/go.mod contained any replace or exclude directives, they also need to be placed in this go.mod, which is the main module go.mod for bb/main.go.


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