Mojo Service Manager

The mojo service manager provides interfaces for services to register and to request mojo interfaces. It makes the sharing of mojo interfaces across processes easy.


TL;DR, it is a service which can simplify the bootstrap process of mojo.

For detailed design, see go/cros-mojo-service-manager (Googlers only).

No Need to Use D-Bus

Before the service manager was introduced, we used D-Bus to bootstrap mojo connections. The users need to deal with the underlying mojo API and exchange a file descriptor by a D-Bus service.

Service manager provides an unix socket to bootstrap mojo. No need to use D-Bus for bootstrap anymore.

Implicit Mojo Bootstrap

Service manager provides an easy to use API to bootstrap and exchange mojo interfaces. It wraps the mojo invitation process. The users don't need to handle the mojo bootstrap and can focus on the mojo service itself.

No Factory Interface

In the old flow, each process usually bootstrapped the connection to each related process only once through D-Bus. Thus, we used to create a “factory interface” for a mojo connection:

interface ServiceFactory {
  // Pass receivers to access the services provided by the callee of
  // ServiceFactory.
  BindServiceA(pending_receiver<ServiceA> receiver);
  BindServiceB(pending_receiver<ServiceB> receiver);

  // Pass remotes so the callee of ServiceFactory can use them to access the
  // service provided by the caller of ServiceFactory.
  SendServiceC(pending_remote<ServiceC> remote);
  SendServiceD(pending_remote<ServiceD> remote);

It was used to exchange other mojo interfaces later. This was for decoupling the bootstrap of these services from the mojo invitation.

With service manager, this can be replaced by services registering / requesting.

Pending Before Services Available

In the old flow it was difficult to handle mojo requests before the service being available. Some reasons that we had this situation:

  • Waiting for a D-Bus service to be available. The mojo remote can only be bound after that.
  • The caller needs to wait for the callee to send the mojo remote. We have such design in our codebase due to some underlying mojo limitations we used to have. For example, in the above ServiceFactory, we can see the caller of ServiceC needs to wait for the callee to send the mojo remote.

With service manager, the services bootstrap is decoupled from the mojo invitation. Callers can always send the mojo receiver instead of waiting for a mojo remote. If the service is not yet registered, the service manager will push the request to a queue and will bind it after the service is available. Users just need to request the service. The mojo remote holds all the method calls until the corresponding pending receiver is bound. And the service manager holds the pending receiver until the service is registered.

Access Control by SELinux Security Context

A json format policy file is used to describe the ACL. It controls which identity can register / request which services. An identity is a SELinux security context. A service is a mojo interface.

In the old flow, we only had ACL based on uid / gid by D-Bus. All the interfaces were bound to a D-Bus service so we couldn't separate them. Now, each process can have a different security context, and each mojo interface can be registered / requested separately. This means we can have a processes level and mojo interfaces level ACL.

Decoupling from Ash-Chrome Lifecycle

Mojo Service Manager Lifecycle

The lifetime of a process using mojo is decoupled from ash-chrome.

Before the service manager, ash-chrome was the mojo broker process which helps other processes to bootstrap. All the mojo connections should be shut down after the broker is gone. Since ash-chrome restarts between user sessions, mojo connections between processes couldn't outlive the current user session.

The service manager now becomes the broker process. All the processes connected to service manager can keep their mojo connections until reboot.


For the usage in chromium repo, see chromium's document.


To use service manager, a process needs to bootstrap the mojo and obtain the service manager mojo interface.

  • ChromiumOS services

    • Add the package dependency to the ebuild of your package. Example:
    • Add mojo_service_manager to the pkg_config in Example: source.
    • If Mojo Service Manager will be used in a sandbox environment, mount the socket file into sandbox. Example: source
    • Call ConnectToMojoServiceManager() to bootstrap the mojo connection and obtain the mojo interface of the service manager.

    TODO: Add this after finishing the discussion.

Register and Request Services

For the full API, see service_manager.mojom.

Here are some examples.

First of all, we need to have a policy file:

// Start with an array of policies.
  // A policy must contain an identity and at least one of "own" or "request".
    // Identity is a string representing a SELinux security context.
    "identity": "u:r:cros_foo:s0",
    // "own" is an array of the service name which can be registered by this
    // identity.
    "own": [ "Foo" ]
    "identity": "u:r:cros_foo_user:s0",
    // "request" is an array of the service name which can be requested by this
    // identity.
    "request": [ "Foo" ]

Rules of the policy file:

  • Install into /etc/mojo/service_manager/policy/ or /usr/local/etc/mojo/service_manager/policy/. The latter is for policy files used only in test images.
  • Service name should match [A-Za-z0-9]+.
  • Each service should have its own policy file, which lists the owner and all the requesters.
  • A service can only have one owner.
  • If there is a parse error in a policy file, the whole file is ignored.
  • On DUT, use mojo_service_manager --check_policy to verify the installed policy files.
  • To add a new SELinux security context, see Writing SELinux policy for a daemon.
  • The SELinux domain doesn't need to be enforcing to use service manager. The service manager only uses it as the identity.

Assume that we have a Foo mojo interface:

interface Foo {
  Ping() => ();

To provide a Foo mojo interface, we need to implement the ServiceProvider interface:

class ServiceProviderImpl:
    public chromeos::mojo_service_manager::mojom::ServiceProvider {
      chromeos::mojo_service_manager::mojom::ServiceManager* service_manager) {
  // overrides ServiceProvider.
  void Request(
      chromeos::mojo_service_manager::mojom::ProcessIdentityPtr identity,
      mojo::ScopedMessagePipeHandle receiver) override {
        &foo_impl_, mojo::PendingReceiver<mojom::Foo>(std::move(receiver)));

  // The receiver of ServiceProvider.
  // The implementation of mojom::Foo.
  FooImpl foo_impl_;
  // The receiver set to hold the receivers of Foo.
  mojo::ReceiverSet<mojom::Foo> service_receiver_set_;

Or use the template class SimpleMojoServiceProvider directly.

  chromeos::mojo_service_manager::mojom::ServiceManager> service_manager;

// Bootstrap the service manager...

FooImpl foo;
foo_service.Register(service_manager.get(), /*service_name=*/"Foo");

To request the Foo interface:

  chromeos::mojo_service_manager::mojom::ServiceManager> service_manager;

// Bootstrap the service manager...

mojo::Remote<mojom::Foo> remote;

Error handling

If there is an error, e.g. timeout, permission denied, the service manager will reset the corresponding mojo interface. The users can use ConnectionErrorWithReasonCallback to handle the error. See service_manager.mojom for details.