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Linux namespace relationships library

Project description

Linux Kernel Namespace Relations

NOTE: Python 3.6+ supported only

This Python 3 package allows discovering the following Linux Kernel namespace relationships and properties, without having to delve into ioctl() hell:

  • the owning user namespace of another Linux kernel namespace.
  • the parent namespace of either a user or a PID namespace.
  • type of a Linux kernel namespace: user, PID, network, ...
  • owner user ID of a user namespace.

See also ioctl() operations for Linux namespaces for more background information of the namespace operations exposed by this Python library.


$ pip3 install linuxns-rel

API Documentation

Please head over to our linuxns_rel API documentation on GitHub Pages.

CLI Examples

List User Namespaces

$ lsuserns 

may yield something like this, a pretty hierarchy of Linux kernel user namespaces:

user:[4026531837] owner root (0)
 ├── user:[4026532696] owner foobar (1000)
 ├── user:[4026532638] owner foobar (1000)
 ├── user:[4026532582] owner foobar (1000)
 │   └── user:[4026532639] owner foobar (1000)
 │       └── user:[4026532640] owner foobar (1000)
 │           └── user:[4026532641] owner foobar (1000)
 ├── user:[4026532466] owner foobar (1000)
 │   └── user:[4026532464] owner foobar (1000)
 ├── user:[4026532523] owner foobar (1000)
 └── user:[4026532583] owner foobar (1000)

If you have either Chromium or/and Firefox running, then these will add some user namespaces in order to sandbox their inner workings. And to add in some more hierarchical user namespaces, in another terminal session simply issue the following command:

$ unshare -Ur unshare -Ur unshare -Ur unshare -Ur

Debian users may need to sudo because their distro's default configuration prohibits ordinary users to create new user namespaces.

List PID Namespaces

$ lspidns 

shows the PID namespace hierarchy, such as:

pid:[4026531836] owner user:[4026531837] root (0)
 └── pid:[4026532467] owner user:[4026532466] foobar (1000)
     ├── pid:[4026532465] owner user:[4026532464] foobar (1000)
     ├── pid:[4026532526] owner user:[4026532464] foobar (1000)
     └── pid:[4026532581] owner user:[4026532464] foobar (1000)

Don't worry that the PID namespace hierarchy doesn't match the user namespace hierarchy. That's perfectly fine, depending on which programs run. In our example, we didn't create new PID namespaces when using unshare, so we see only additional PID namespaces created by Chromium (Firefox doesn't create them though).

Potentially FAQs

  1. Q: Why do get_userns() and get_parentns() return file objects (TextIO) instead of filesystem paths?

    A: Because that's what the Linux namespace-related ioctl() functions are giving us: open file descriptors referencing namespaces in the special nsfs namespace filesystem. There are no paths associated with them.

  2. Q: What argument types do get_nstype(), get_userns(), get_parentns(), and get_owner_uid() expect?

    A: Choose your weapon:

    • a filesystem path (name), such as /proc/self/ns/user,
    • an open file object (TextIO), such as returned by open(),
    • an open file descriptor, such as returned by fileno() methods.
  3. Q: Why does get_parentns() throw an PermissionError?

    A: There are multiple causes:

    • you didn't specify a PID or user namespace,
    • the parent namespace either doesn't exist,
    • or the parent namespace is inaccessible to you,
    • oh, you really have no access to the namespace reference.
  4. Q: Why does get_userns() throw an PermissionError?

    A: You don't have access to the owning user namespace.

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