Re: [patch 2/3] performance counters: documentation

From: Arjan van de Ven
Date: Thu Dec 04 2008 - 21:49:24 EST

On Thu, 04 Dec 2008 16:37:41 -0800 (PST)
David Miller <davem@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> From: Paul Mackerras <paulus@xxxxxxxxx>
> Date: Fri, 5 Dec 2008 11:33:31 +1100
> > This is going to be a huge problem, at least on powerpc, because it
> > means that the kernel will have to know which events can be counted
> > on which counters and what values need to be put in the control
> > registers to select them.
> Sparc64 is the same.
> > The situation will be even worse with POWER5 and POWER6, where the
> > event selection logic is very complex, with multiple layers of
> > multiplexers. I really really don't want the kernel to have to know
> > about all that.
> Niagara2 has deep multiplexing and sub-event masking too.
> I really appreciated how perfmon kept all of those details
> in userspace.

I would like to respectfully disagree with this some. The kernel needs
to abstract hardware to some degree for userspace. The problem in this
case is that userspace can't really do a better job, in fact it can
only do a worse job since it lacks the coordination capability of
knowing it has full control of all the hardware registers.
I am sure the corner cases you're talking about are nasty, I just don't
think they are less nasty when dealt with in userspace. Sure the kernel
might be simpler, but the system as a whole sure is not.

Arjan van de Ven Intel Open Source Technology Centre
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