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SubjectRe: [PATCH -tip perf/probes 00/10] x86 insn decoder bugfixes

* Masami Hiramatsu <> wrote:

> Hi Ingo,
> Here are bugfixes and some enhances of x86-insn decoder and perf-probe.
> - x86 insn decoder supports AVX and FMA.
> - perf-probe syntax change.
> - perf-probe supports function-relative line number.
> - minor bugfixes.
> New perf-probe syntax is below:
> perf probe 'PROBE'
> or
> perf probe --add 'PROBE'
> where, PROBE is
> <source>:<line-number>
> or
> <function>[:<rel-lineno>|+<byte-offset>|%return][@<source>]
> e.g.
> perf probe 'schedule:10@kernel/sched.c'
> puts a probe at 10th line from entry line of schedule() function
> in kernel/sched.c." and
> perf probe 'vmalloc%return'
> puts a return probe at the returning of vmalloc.
> - Support --line option to show which lines user can probe.
> - Support lazy string matching.

Ok, i like these fixes and improvements - thanks Masami!

One detail i noticed is that we are still not very smart about finding
our vmlinux file. I booted the kernel on a box and it gave:

aldebaran:~/linux/linux> perf probe schedule
Fatal: vmlinux/module file open
aldebaran:~/linux/linux> ls -l vmlinux
-rwxrwxr-x 1 mingo mingo 21589717 2009-10-29 09:04 vmlinux

Firstly, it should print something more meaningful, such as:

aldebaran:~/linux/linux> perf probe schedule
Fatal: Could not open vmlinux/module file

Secondly, we should look beyond these places:

25806 open("/lib/modules/2.6.32-rc5-tip-01760-g2c4b5e0-dirty/build/vmlinux", O_RDONLY) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory)
25806 open("/usr/lib/debug/lib/modules/2.6.32-rc5-tip-01760-g2c4b5e0-dirty/vmlinux", O_RDONLY) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory)
25806 open("/boot/vmlinux-debug-2.6.32-rc5-tip-01760-g2c4b5e0-dirty", O_RDONLY) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory)
25806 write(2, " Fatal: vmlinux/module file open"..., 34) = 34
25806 exit_group(128) = ?

and look into the current directory as well.

Thirdly, i think we should expose the build-id of the kernel and the
path to the vmlinux (and modules) via /proc/build-id or so. That way
tooling can find the vmlinux file and can validate that it matches the
kernel's signature. (maybe include a file date as well - that's a faster
check than a full build-id checksum, especially for large kernels)

Another problem i noticed is that a vmlinux without DEBUG_INFO will fail
in this way:

aldebaran:~/linux/linux> perf probe schedule
Fatal: Failed to call dwarf_init(). Maybe, not a dwarf file.

this is not meaningful to a user. A more usable message would be:

aldebaran:~/linux/linux> perf probe schedule
Fatal: Have not found dwarf info in the vmlinux - please rebuild with CONFIG_DEBUG_INFO

but ... we should really not force DEBUG_INFO for a simple probe that is
based on an ELF symbol. We already parse ELF symbols so 'perf probe
schedule' should be able to figure out where to put the probe point.

Not forcing debuginfo for simple usecases is extremely important for

And once i had these fixed, i got:

aldebaran:~/linux/linux> perf probe schedule
Fatal: kprobe_events open

Which is not a meaningful error message either. This error occured due
to CONFIG_KPROBE_TRACER not being enabled.

What we want here is two fold:

- enable kprobes event support when perf events is enabled and kprobes
is enabled. We dont want another config option for it.

- and we need to improve error messages so that users can figure out
what is the problem.

Once i had this third roadblock out of the way i noticed that the _real_
reason for the error was that i was not root and had no privilege to
insert a kprobe.

Once root, the probe worked well:

# perf probe schedule
Adding new event: p:perfprobe/schedule_0 schedule+0

And it seems to be precise:

aldebaran:/home/mingo> perf stat -e perfprobe:__switch_to_0 -e cs -a ./hackbench 1
Time: 0.018

Performance counter stats for './hackbench 1':

7358 perfprobe:__switch_to_0 # 0.000 M/sec
7364 context-switches # 0.000 M/sec

0.119152919 seconds time elapsed

(The difference of 6 context-switches should be investigated i suspect.)

Btw., very small nit, it would be better to put that sentence into past

# perf probe schedule
Added new event: p:perfprobe/schedule_0 schedule+0

To make sure the user knows that the action has been pursued already.

I'd expect the typical user give up much sooner than i did so we really
need to address these usability details - emit useful error messages and
be more successful in getting the user what he wants.

But the basic UI is already pretty promising!

A few further (and very small) UI tweaks i'd suggest:

Firstly, could we please make the first probe inserted named plain after
the symbol it specifies, with no _0 postfix? I.e. instead of:

7358 perfprobe:__switch_to_0 # 0.000 M/sec

we'd get:

7358 perfprobe:__switch_to # 0.000 M/sec

Subsequent probes for the same symbol can be named _1, _2 - but the
first symbol should not have this needless post-fix.

Secondly, i think we should remove the 'perf' bit from the probe name.
I.e. instead of:

7358 perfprobe:__switch_to # 0.000 M/sec

we should do:

7358 probe:__switch_to # 0.000 M/sec

as that's really what the user cares about. The user already knows that
we are in perf - no need to repeat that in every event specification.



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