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Subject[RFC] simple dprobe like markers for the kernel
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I've been looking at using the existing in kernel markers for dtrace
named probing in systemtap. What I find is that they're a bit
heavyweight when compared to what dtrace does (because of the way they
drop stubbable calling points).

This patch adds incredibly simple markers which are designed to be used
via kprobes. All it does is add an extra section to the kernel (and
modules) which annotates the location in source file/line of the marker
and a description of the variables of interest. Tools like systemtap
can then use the kernel dwarf2 debugging information to transform this
to a precise probe point that gives access to the named variables.

The beauty of this scheme is that it has zero cost in the unactivated
case (the extra section is discardable if you're not interested in the
information, and nothing is actually added into the routine being
marked). The disadvantage is that it's really unusable for rolling your
own marker probes because it relies on the dwarf2 information to locate
the probe point for kprobes and unravel the local variables of interest,
so you need an external tool like systemtap to help you.

The scheme uses a printk format like string to describe the variables of
interest, so if those variables disappear, the compile breaks (even in
the unmarked case) which should help us keep the marked probe points
current.

For instance, this is what SCSI would look like with a probe point added
just before the command goes to the low level device

trace_simple(queuecommand, "Command being queued %p Done function %p", cmd, scsi_done);
rtn = host->hostt->queuecommand(cmd, scsi_done);
trace_simple(queuecommand_return, "Command returning %p Return value %d", cmd, rtn);

Here you can see that each trace point describes two variables whose
values can be viewed at that point by the relevant tools. The format
strings and variables can be used by a tool to perform dtrace -l like
functionality:

MODULE FUNCTION NAME DESCRIPTION
scsi_mod scsi_dispatch_io queuecommand Command being queued $sdev; Done function $scsi_done
scsi_mod scsi_dispatch_io queuecommand_return Command being queued $sdev; Return value $ret

So the trace points recommend to the user what variables to use and
briefly what they mean.

James

---
diff --git a/include/asm-generic/vmlinux.lds.h b/include/asm-generic/vmlinux.lds.h
index f054778..c0c38b8 100644
--- a/include/asm-generic/vmlinux.lds.h
+++ b/include/asm-generic/vmlinux.lds.h
@@ -299,6 +299,8 @@
.debug_funcnames 0 : { *(.debug_funcnames) } \
.debug_typenames 0 : { *(.debug_typenames) } \
.debug_varnames 0 : { *(.debug_varnames) } \
+ /* simple markers (depends on dwarf2 debugging info) */ \
+ __simple_marker (INFO) : { *(__simple_marker) } \

/* Stabs debugging sections. */
#define STABS_DEBUG \
diff --git a/include/linux/simple_marker.h b/include/linux/simple_marker.h
new file mode 100644
index 0000000..675f5b1
--- /dev/null
+++ b/include/linux/simple_marker.h
@@ -0,0 +1,41 @@
+#include <linux/stringify.h>
+
+/* To be used for string format validity checking with gcc */
+static inline void __printf(1, 2)
+__trace_simple_check_format(const char *fmt, ...)
+{
+}
+
+#ifdef CONFIG_DEBUG_INFO
+#define trace_simple(name, format, args...) \
+ do { \
+ static const char __simple_name_##name[] \
+ __attribute__((section("__simple_marker"))) \
+ __attribute__((__used__)) \
+ = #name; \
+ static const char __simple_file_##name[] \
+ __attribute__((section("__simple_marker"))) \
+ __attribute__((__used__)) \
+ = __FILE__; \
+ static const char __simple_line_##name[] \
+ __attribute__((section("__simple_marker"))) \
+ __attribute__((__used__)) \
+ = __stringify(__LINE__); \
+ static const char __simple_format_##name[] \
+ __attribute__((section("__simple_marker"))) \
+ __attribute__((__used__)) \
+ = #format; \
+ static const char __simple_args_##name[] \
+ __attribute__((section("__simple_marker"))) \
+ __attribute__((__used__)) \
+ = #args; \
+ if (0) \
+ __trace_simple_check_format(format, ## args); \
+ } while(0)
+#else
+#define trace_simple(name, format, args...) \
+ do { \
+ if (0) \
+ __trace_simple_check_format(format, ## args); \
+ } while(0)
+#endif



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