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SubjectRe: [PATCH] Linux Kernel Markers
Martin J. Bligh wrote:

> Ingo Molnar wrote:
>> * Mathieu Desnoyers <> wrote:
>>> +choice
>>> + prompt "MARK code marker behavior"
>>> +config MARK_KPROBE
>>> +config MARK_JPROBE
>>> +config MARK_FPROBE
>>> + Change markers for a function call.
>>> +config MARK_PRINT
>> as indicated before in great detail, NACK on this profileration of
>> marker options, especially the function call one. I'd like to see
>> _one_ marker mechanism that distros could enable, preferably with
>> zero (or at most one NOP) in-code overhead. (You can of course patch
>> whatever extension ontop of it, in out-of-tree code, to gain further
>> performance advantage by generating direct system-calls.)
>> There might be a hodgepodge of methods and tools in userspace to do
>> debugging, but in the kernel we should get our act together and only
>> take _one_ (or none at all), and then spend all our efforts on
>> improving that primary method of debug instrumentation. As
>> kprobes/SystemTap has proven, it is possible to have zero-overhead
>> inactive probes.
>> Furthermore, for such a patch to make sense in the upstream kernel,
>> downstream tracing code has to make actual use of that NOP-marker.
>> I.e. a necessary (but not sufficient) requirement for upstream
>> inclusion (in my view) would be for this mechanism to be used by LTT
>> and LKST. (again, you can patch LTT for your own purposes in your own
>> patchset if you think the performance overhead of probes is too much)
> You know ... it strikes me that there's another way to do this, that's
> zero overhead when not enabled, and gets rid of the inflexibility in
> kprobes. It might not work well in all cases, but at least for simple
> non-inlined functions, it'd seem to.
> Why don't we just copy the whole damned function somewhere else, and
> make an instrumented copy (as a kernel module)? Then reroute all the
> function calls through it, instead of the original version. OK, it's
> not completely trivial to do, but simpler than kprobes (probably
> doing the switchover atomically is the hard part, but not impossible).
> There's NO overhead when not using, and much lower than probes when
> you are.
> That way we can do whatever the hell we please with internal variables,
> however GCC optimises it, can write flexible instrumenting code to just
> about anything, program in C as God intended, etc, etc. No, it probably
> won't fix every case under the sun, but hopefully most of them, and we
> can still use kprobes/djprobes/bodilyprobes for the rest of the cases.
> M.

It is an interesting idea but there appears to be following hard issues
(some of which you have already listed) i am not able to see how we can
overcome them

1) We are going to have a duplicate of the whole function which means
any significant changes in the original function needs to be done on the
copy as well, you think maintainers would like this double work idea.

2) Inline functions is often the place where we need a fast path to
overcome the current kprobes overhead.

3) As you said it is not trivial across all the platforms to do a switch
to the instrumented function from the original during the execution.
This problem is similar to the issue we are dealing with djprobes.

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