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SubjectRe: [patch] Performance Counters for Linux, v3

I don't think you understand what libpfm actually does and therefore
you rush to the wrong conclusion.

At its core, libpfm does NOT know anything about the perfmon kernel API.

I think you missed that, unfortunately.

It is a helper library which helps tool writer solves the event-> code
-> counter assignment problems.
That's it. It does not make any perfmon syscall at ALL to do that.
Proof is people have been using it on
Windows, I can also use it on MacOS.

Looking at your proposal, you think you won't need such a library and
that the kernel is
going to do all this for you. Let's go back to your kerneltop program:

KernelTop Options (up to 4 event types can be specified):

-e EID --event_id=EID # event type ID [default: 0]
0: CPU cycles
1: instructions
2: cache accesses
3: cache misses
4: branch instructions
5: branch prediction misses
< 0: raw CPU events

Looks like I can do:

$ kerneltop --event_id=-0x510088

You think users are going to come up with 0x510088 out of the blue?

I want to say:

$ kerneltop --event_id=BR_INST_EXEC --plm=user

Where do you think they are going to get that from?

The kernel or a helper user library?

Do not denigrate other people's software without understanding what it does.

On Sat, Dec 13, 2008 at 12:17 PM, Peter Zijlstra <> wrote:
> On Fri, 2008-12-12 at 18:42 +0100, stephane eranian wrote:
>> In fact, I know tools which do not even need a library.
> By your own saying, the problem solved by libperfmon is a hard problem
> (and I fully understand that).
> Now you say there is software out there that doesn't use libperfmon,
> that means they'll have to duplicate that functionality.
> And only commercial software has a clear gain by wastefully duplicating
> that effort. This means there is an active commercial interest to not
> make perfmon the best technical solution there is, which is contrary to
> the very thing Linux is about.
> What is worse, you defend that:
>> Go ask end-users what they think of that?
>> You don't even need a library. All of this could be integrated into the tool.
>> New processor, just go download the updated version of the tool.
> No! what people want is their problem fixed - no matter how. That is one
> of the powers of FOSS, you can fix your problems in any way suitable.
> Would it not be much better if those folks duped into using a binary
> only product only had to upgrade their FOSS kernel, instead of possibly
> forking over more $$$ for an upgrade?
> You have just irrevocably proven to me this needs to go into the kernel,
> as the design of perfmon is little more than a GPL circumvention device
> - independent of whether you are aware of that or not.
> For that I hereby fully NAK perfmon
> Nacked-by: Peter Zijlstra <>

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