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authorMathieu Desnoyers <mathieu.desnoyers@polymtl.ca>2008-07-18 12:16:16 -0400
committerIngo Molnar <mingo@elte.hu>2008-10-14 10:28:47 +0200
commit24b8d831d56aac7907752d22d2aba5d8127db6f6 (patch)
parenttracing: Kernel Tracepoints (diff)
tracing: tracepoints, documentation
Documentation of tracepoint usage. Signed-off-by: Mathieu Desnoyers <mathieu.desnoyers@polymtl.ca> Acked-by: 'Peter Zijlstra' <peterz@infradead.org> Signed-off-by: Ingo Molnar <mingo@elte.hu>
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+ Using the Linux Kernel Tracepoints
+ Mathieu Desnoyers
+This document introduces Linux Kernel Tracepoints and their use. It provides
+examples of how to insert tracepoints in the kernel and connect probe functions
+to them and provides some examples of probe functions.
+* Purpose of tracepoints
+A tracepoint placed in code provides a hook to call a function (probe) that you
+can provide at runtime. A tracepoint can be "on" (a probe is connected to it) or
+"off" (no probe is attached). When a tracepoint is "off" it has no effect,
+except for adding a tiny time penalty (checking a condition for a branch) and
+space penalty (adding a few bytes for the function call at the end of the
+instrumented function and adds a data structure in a separate section). When a
+tracepoint is "on", the function you provide is called each time the tracepoint
+is executed, in the execution context of the caller. When the function provided
+ends its execution, it returns to the caller (continuing from the tracepoint
+You can put tracepoints at important locations in the code. They are
+lightweight hooks that can pass an arbitrary number of parameters,
+which prototypes are described in a tracepoint declaration placed in a header
+They can be used for tracing and performance accounting.
+* Usage
+Two elements are required for tracepoints :
+- A tracepoint definition, placed in a header file.
+- The tracepoint statement, in C code.
+In order to use tracepoints, you should include linux/tracepoint.h.
+In include/trace/subsys.h :
+#include <linux/tracepoint.h>
+ TPPTOTO(int firstarg, struct task_struct *p),
+ TPARGS(firstarg, p));
+In subsys/file.c (where the tracing statement must be added) :
+#include <trace/subsys.h>
+void somefct(void)
+ ...
+ trace_subsys_eventname(arg, task);
+ ...
+Where :
+- subsys_eventname is an identifier unique to your event
+ - subsys is the name of your subsystem.
+ - eventname is the name of the event to trace.
+- TPPTOTO(int firstarg, struct task_struct *p) is the prototype of the function
+ called by this tracepoint.
+- TPARGS(firstarg, p) are the parameters names, same as found in the prototype.
+Connecting a function (probe) to a tracepoint is done by providing a probe
+(function to call) for the specific tracepoint through
+register_trace_subsys_eventname(). Removing a probe is done through
+unregister_trace_subsys_eventname(); it will remove the probe sure there is no
+caller left using the probe when it returns. Probe removal is preempt-safe
+because preemption is disabled around the probe call. See the "Probe example"
+section below for a sample probe module.
+The tracepoint mechanism supports inserting multiple instances of the same
+tracepoint, but a single definition must be made of a given tracepoint name over
+all the kernel to make sure no type conflict will occur. Name mangling of the
+tracepoints is done using the prototypes to make sure typing is correct.
+Verification of probe type correctness is done at the registration site by the
+compiler. Tracepoints can be put in inline functions, inlined static functions,
+and unrolled loops as well as regular functions.
+The naming scheme "subsys_event" is suggested here as a convention intended
+to limit collisions. Tracepoint names are global to the kernel: they are
+considered as being the same whether they are in the core kernel image or in
+* Probe / tracepoint example
+See the example provided in samples/tracepoints/src
+Compile them with your kernel.
+Run, as root :
+modprobe tracepoint-example (insmod order is not important)
+modprobe tracepoint-probe-example
+cat /proc/tracepoint-example (returns an expected error)
+rmmod tracepoint-example tracepoint-probe-example