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Tracing ABI for efficient kernel-userspace tracing - Mathieu Desnoyers


Mathieu Desnoyers is the maintainer of the Linux Trace Toolkit (LTT) project since November 2005, taking over the development with LTTng. He is the author of Linux Trace Toolkit Next Generation (LTTng) and the main developer of Linux Trace Toolkit Viewer (LTTV) since the project started in 2003. He interned at IBM Research in 2006 and Google in 2007, where he deployed LTTng. He is the author of the Linux Kernel Markers and of the Kernel Tracepoints. He is currently completing a Ph.D. in Computer Engineering at Ecole Polytechnique de Montréal.


This presentation/discussion would try to address two problems: how to trace userland efficiently without going through a system call each time instrumentation is hit and how to statically instrument the userland applications so tracing can be dynamically activated system-wide at runtime.

It contains these subtopics:

  • Markers/tracepoint registration
  • Tracing userland and kernel
  • Supporting early tracing (init), keeping trace buffers of killed processes
  • Kernel crash dump support
  • Data extraction to network, disk or flight-recorder in memory buffers.
  • Multiple active traces support.
  • Locking in userspace, no RCU available, seqlock unsuitable
  • vDSO page vs linked-in object
  • libc integration, header management.