Re: [patch 0/3] [Announcement] Performance Counters for Linux

From: Paul Mackerras
Date: Thu Dec 04 2008 - 19:34:01 EST

Thomas Gleixner writes:

> We'd like to announce a brand new implementation of performance counter
> support for Linux. It is a very simple and extensible design that has the
> potential to implement the full range of features we would expect from such
> a subsystem.

Looks like the sort of thing I was thinking about a year or so ago
when I was trying to come up with a simpler API than perfmon2.
However, it turned out that my design, and I believe yours too, can't
do some things that users really want to do with performance

One thing that this sort of thing can't do is to get values from
multiple counters that correlate with each other. For instance, we
would often want to count, say, L2 cache misses and instructions
completed at the same time, and be able to read both counters at very
close to the same time, so that we can measure average L2 cache misses
per instruction completed, which is useful.

Another problem is that this abstraction provides no way to deal with
interrelationships between counters. For example, on PowerPC it is
common to have a facility where one counter overflowing can cause all
the other counters to freeze. I don't see this abstraction providing
any way to handle that.

It looks to me that your new API will be unworkable for real
performance measurement and tuning, just like mine ended up being. :)

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