Re: [RFD] Future tracing/instrumentation directions

From: Frederic Weisbecker
Date: Thu May 20 2010 - 09:06:20 EST

On Thu, May 20, 2010 at 01:36:15PM +0200, Ingo Molnar wrote:
> * Frederic Weisbecker <fweisbec@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> > On Thu, May 20, 2010 at 11:31:31AM +0200, Ingo Molnar wrote:
> > > - [ While it's still a long way off, if this trend continues
> > > we eventually might even be able to get rid of the
> > > /debug/tracing/ temporary debug API and get rid of
> > > the ugly in-kernel pretty-printing bits. This is
> > > good: it may make Andrew very happy for a change ;-)
> > >
> > > The main detail here to be careful of is that lots of
> > > people are fond of the simplicity of the
> > > /debug/tracing/ debug UI, so when we replace it we
> > > want to do it by keeping that simple workflow (or
> > > best by making it even simpler). I have a few ideas
> > > how to do this.
> >
> > How? We can emulate the /debug/tracing result with
> > something like perf trace, still that won't replace the
> > immediate availability of the result of any trace, which
> > makes it valuable for any simplest workflows.
> Firstly, one thing is sure: until there's no full
> replacement we obviously dont want to phase out
> /sys/kernel/debug/tracing. This was more of a 'our future'
> email (as i see it), the process that will lead to solve
> some of our more strategic problems in tracing land.


> Regarding the issues you raised, there are several
> solutions that dont need /sys/kernel/debug/tracing but
> still support the very useful and usable 'immediate
> tracing' workflow that ftrace prototyped. We can have a
> combination of several things:
> - Have a simple 'ftrace' command aliased to perf trace.
> Means less typing, and it also allows a much more
> finegrained tracing workflow: per user and per task/job
> workflows, instead of the global/exclusive tracing mode
> that /sys/kernel/debug/tracing. There would be ready
> equivalents:
> ftrace --available-tracers
> ftrace --current-tracer
> ftrace --start
> ftrace --stop
> ... etc ...

We should probably more talk about events there, but yeah
I get your point.

> - Immediate availability of a trace: persistent events
> combined with roundrobin ('flight-recorder') recording
> would solve this.
> If events are active then if type 'ftrace' you get the
> current trace. Simple to scrip and simple to use - no
> need to have access to /sys/kernel/debug/tracing, also
> can evidently be turned into a per user facility,
> supports multiple plugins active at once, etc.


> - For lightweight embedded tracing there are two separate
> solutions that would work:
> - we already have perf 'minimal builds' (when certain
> libraries are not available), we could push that
> concept some more to create a 'lightweight' command
> that embedded systems can run just fine.

Yeah that need to be one, very simple, dedicated to tracing.
With the very minimal requirements about dependencies.

> - extend our proxy recording and proxy execution/analysis
> concepts. We can already run a perf trace recording
> through a pipe and netcat, and we have perf archive
> and cross-arch analysis code.
> If there's interest, then this could be made more
> convenient and the functionality around this could
> be collected into a handy proxy tool:
> ftrace --proxy smallbox --start
> ftrace --proxy smallbox --stop
> ftrace --proxy smallbox # prints trace
> ... etc ...
> Thus the recording is done on the small box, while
> all the analysis (and even all the commands) is
> typed/executed on the bigger box.

You mean a client/server control? Controlling the recorder
with remote commands?

> So there are lots of possibilities - and there are other
> options as well.
> Does this address your worries?

My worries were more about bringing dependencies to read or launch
traces than the possibility to produce a very easy to use tool, even
easier and more powerful than the debugfs interface.

To sum up, my worries were (and sort of still are a bit): how painful
would that be to set up such a tool on a hard embedded box, compared
to the directly available stream we have.

But Thomas opinion makes me reconsider somehow the situation.

Once we have such tool and it becomes truly easy and intuitive,
people may migrate to it. At this point, it's possible the situation
have evolved enough that it will become obvious to deprecate the
debugfs interface.

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