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Subject[PATCH v2 2/2] docs: kmemleak: add more documentation details
Wikipedia now has a main article to "tracing garbage collector" topic.
Change the URL and use the reStructuredText syntax for hyperlinks and add
more details about the use of the tool. Add a section about how to use
the kmemleak-test module to test the memory leak scanning.

Signed-off-by: André Almeida <>
Changes in v2: none

Documentation/dev-tools/kmemleak.rst | 48 +++++++++++++++++++++++++---
1 file changed, 44 insertions(+), 4 deletions(-)

diff --git a/Documentation/dev-tools/kmemleak.rst b/Documentation/dev-tools/kmemleak.rst
index e6f51260ff32..3621cd5e1eef 100644
--- a/Documentation/dev-tools/kmemleak.rst
+++ b/Documentation/dev-tools/kmemleak.rst
@@ -2,8 +2,8 @@ Kernel Memory Leak Detector

Kmemleak provides a way of detecting possible kernel memory leaks in a
-way similar to a tracing garbage collector
+way similar to a `tracing garbage collector
with the difference that the orphan objects are not freed but only
reported via /sys/kernel/debug/kmemleak. A similar method is used by the
Valgrind tool (``memcheck --leak-check``) to detect the memory leaks in
@@ -15,10 +15,13 @@ Usage

CONFIG_DEBUG_KMEMLEAK in "Kernel hacking" has to be enabled. A kernel
thread scans the memory every 10 minutes (by default) and prints the
-number of new unreferenced objects found. To display the details of all
-the possible memory leaks::
+number of new unreferenced objects found. If the ``debugfs`` isn't already
+mounted, mount with::

# mount -t debugfs nodev /sys/kernel/debug/
+To display the details of all the possible scanned memory leaks::
# cat /sys/kernel/debug/kmemleak

To trigger an intermediate memory scan::
@@ -72,6 +75,9 @@ If CONFIG_DEBUG_KMEMLEAK_DEFAULT_OFF are enabled, the kmemleak is
disabled by default. Passing ``kmemleak=on`` on the kernel command
line enables the function.

+If you are getting errors like "Error while writing to stdout" or "write_loop:
+Invalid argument", make sure kmemleak is properly enabled.
Basic Algorithm

@@ -218,3 +224,37 @@ the pointer is calculated by other methods than the usual container_of
macro or the pointer is stored in a location not scanned by kmemleak.

Page allocations and ioremap are not tracked.
+Testing with kmemleak-test
+To check if you have all set up to use kmemleak, you can use the kmemleak-test
+module, a module that deliberately leaks memory. Set CONFIG_DEBUG_KMEMLEAK_TEST
+as module (it can't be used as bult-in) and boot the kernel with kmemleak
+enabled. Load the module and perform a scan with::
+ # modprobe kmemleak-test
+ # echo scan > /sys/kernel/debug/kmemleak
+Note that the you may not get results instantly or on the first scanning. When
+kmemleak gets results, it'll log ``kmemleak: <count of leaks> new suspected
+memory leaks``. Then read the file to see then::
+ # cat /sys/kernel/debug/kmemleak
+ unreferenced object 0xffff89862ca702e8 (size 32):
+ comm "modprobe", pid 2088, jiffies 4294680594 (age 375.486s)
+ hex dump (first 32 bytes):
+ 6b 6b 6b 6b 6b 6b 6b 6b 6b 6b 6b 6b 6b 6b 6b 6b kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk
+ 6b 6b 6b 6b 6b 6b 6b 6b 6b 6b 6b 6b 6b 6b 6b a5 kkkkkkkkkkkkkkk.
+ backtrace:
+ [<00000000e0a73ec7>] 0xffffffffc01d2036
+ [<000000000c5d2a46>] do_one_initcall+0x41/0x1df
+ [<0000000046db7e0a>] do_init_module+0x55/0x200
+ [<00000000542b9814>] load_module+0x203c/0x2480
+ [<00000000c2850256>] __do_sys_finit_module+0xba/0xe0
+ [<000000006564e7ef>] do_syscall_64+0x43/0x110
+ [<000000007c873fa6>] entry_SYSCALL_64_after_hwframe+0x44/0xa9
+ ...
+Removing the module with ``rmmod kmemleak_test`` should also trigger some
+kmemleak results.
 \ /
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