DPDK, tamed!

DPDK is a fantastic piece of software. I’ve used it both for work and in my hobby projects (yes, I crunch packets as a hobby, say what you will about me!) and it works great. My only grievance with it has always been the complicated build system it forces on you. It’s ugly and inflexible and it sometimes drives you crazy.

Yesterday, I saw that DPDK is in Ubuntu’s repositories. It took me some time to realize wha that means. I was looking for the value of the RTE_SDK variable when it clicked in my head; I could just use the damn thing like any normal library; with -l, -L, -I and all that. I just needed to add a -msse4.2 flag for the compilation to work properly (I’ve been adding that flag to the TOOLCHAIN_CFLAGS make variable on some of my machines to make DPDK compile anyway).

Does it have any drawbacks? I have no idea, as I never managed to penetrate the many layers of DPDK make files to see what they really do. It’s quite possible that this is not as efficient as compiling DPDK yourself so it can detect and use the full capabilities of your machine, but at the very least I learned a thing or two about building DPDK by looking at the the Git repository of the Ubuntu maintainers. Just do a git clone https://git.launchpad.net/~ubuntu-server/dpdk. Switch to the ubuntu-xenial branch to see the interesting bits.

This seems to be a Canonical endeavor, so thank you kind folks in Canonical!

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