Re: [PATCH 4/6] hw-breakpoints: Rewrite the hw-breakpoints layeron top of perf events

From: Paul Mackerras
Date: Sat Nov 07 2009 - 05:03:24 EST

Frederic Weisbecker writes:

> On Thu, Nov 05, 2009 at 10:59:44AM +1100, Paul Mackerras wrote:
> > What I haven't managed to understand yet is how you provide reliable
> > breakpoints for debugging purposes. If I'm debugging a program and I
> > have set a breakpoint, I'll be very unhappy if the breakpoint should
> > trigger but doesn't because the perf_event infrastructure has decided
> > it can't schedule that breakpoint in. If the breakpoint isn't going
> > to work then I want to know that at the time that I set it.
> That won't happen because of the set of constraints we have.
> We never overcommit the debug register resources, except in
> the case of non-pinned counter, but that's in their nature :)

Suppose you have 4 breakpoint registers per cpu and there are two
pinned per-cpu breakpoint events, three non-pinned per-cpu breakpoint
events, and one pinned per-task breakpoint event. I believe your
constraints will allow that situation.

What will happen is that the two pinned per-cpu breakpoint events will
use two of the hardware registers, and the three non-pinned per-cpu
breakpoint events will get round-robined onto the other two hardware
registers. The per-task breakpoint will never get to use a hardware
register, because the code in perf_event.c schedules per-cpu events
before it schedules per-task events (see for example

We will have to make the event scheduling in kernel/perf_event.c a bit
more sophisticated before we can guarantee that a pinned breakpoint
event will always get to use a hardware register.

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