Andi Kleen's blog

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Announcing simple-pt — A simple Processor Trace implementation

without comments

Modern Intel Core CPUs (5th and 6th generation) have a Intel Processor Trace (PT) feature to trace branch execution with low overhead. This is useful for performance analysis and debugging.

simple-pt is a simple standalone driver and decoder tool to implement PT on Linux.

Starting with Linux 4.1 Linux already has a integrated PT implementation in perf (see https://lwn.net/Articles/648154/ ). simple-pt is an alternative implementation. It has many disadvantages over the perf PT implementation, such as:
- needs to run as root
- no long term tracing or sampling with interrupts
- no support for interactive debugging (use gdb 7.10 on perf for that)
- no support for histograms
- somewhat experimental
- not as well supported as perf

On the positive side simple-pt is:
- simple
- standalone. No kernel changes needed. Could be ported to older kernels or other operating systems
- easy to modify and experiment with
- more ftrace like decoding tool
- support for kprobes based triggers
- modular “unix style” design with simple tools that do only one thing each
- BSD licensed

Example output:


        % sptcmd  -c tcall taskset -c 0 ./tcall
        cpu   0 offset 1027688,  1003 KB, writing to ptout.0
        ...
        Wrote sideband to ptout.sideband
        % sptdecode --sideband ptout.sideband --pt ptout.0 | less
        TIME      DELTA  INSNs   OPERATION
        frequency 32
        0        [+0]     [+   1] _dl_aux_init+436
                          [+   6] __libc_start_main+455 -> _dl_discover_osversion
        ...
                          [+  13] __libc_start_main+446 -> main
                          [+   9]     main+22 -> f1
                          [+   4]             f1+9 -> f2
                          [+   2]             f1+19 -> f2
                          [+   5]     main+22 -> f1
                          [+   4]             f1+9 -> f2
                          [+   2]             f1+19 -> f2
                          [+   5]     main+22 -> f1
        ...

Available from https://github.com/andikleen/simple-pt

Written by therapsid

August 17th, 2015 at 4:27 am

Posted in kernel,pt