#netlink #ip #linux

yanked netlink-ip

route netlink protocol (a.k.a. rtnl)

Uses old Rust 2015

0.0.1 Jul 11, 2018

#57 in #netlink

Custom license

756 lines


This project aims at providing building blocks for the netlink protocol (see man 7 netlink).

The netlink protocol is huge but the two most widely used subprotocols are the generic netlink protocol and the route netlink protocol (see man 7 rtnetlink).

The project is in its early stages, and I'm currently focusing on the route netlink protocol.


  • the netlink-sys crate provides low level building blocks: constants, socket, and packet parsing
  • the netlink-ip crate provides higher level abstractions for the route netlink protocol. It is fully asynchronous and built on top of tokio.

Before starting working on this library, I've checked a bunch of other projects but none seems to be really complete.

  • libnl: netlink implementation in C. Very complete with awesome documentation.
  • pyroute2: a very complete and readable implementation in pure python.
  • netlink: a very complete and very actively maintained go project, seems to be widely used.


My main resource so far have been the source code of pyroute2 and netlink a lot. These two projects are great, and very nicely written. As someone who does not read C fluently, and that does not know much about netlink, they have been invaluable.

I'd also like to praise libnl for its documentation. It helped me a lot in understanding the protocol basics.

The whole packet parsing logic is inspired by @whitequark excellent blog posts (part 1, part 2 and part 3, although I've only really used the concepts described in the first blog post). These ideas are also being used in @m-labs's smoltcp project.

Thanks also to the people behing tokio, especially @carllerche, for the amazing tool they are building, and the support they provide. The project structure and code quality are mind blowing, and some parts of this projects are basically rip-offs from tokio's source code.

Finally, thanks to the Rust community, which helped me in multiple occations.

Other resources I particularly appreciated:


~139K SLoC