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SubjectRe: [RFC PATCH 0/2] tracing/user_events: Remote write ABI
On 2022-10-31 10:15, Masami Hiramatsu (Google) wrote:
> Hi Beau,
> On Thu, 27 Oct 2022 15:40:09 -0700
> Beau Belgrave <> wrote:
>> As part of the discussions for user_events aligned with user space
>> tracers, it was determined that user programs should register a 32-bit
>> value to set or clear a bit when an event becomes enabled. Currently a
>> shared page is being used that requires mmap().
>> In this new model during the event registration from user programs 2 new
>> values are specified. The first is the address to update when the event
>> is either enabled or disabled. The second is the bit to set/clear to
>> reflect the event being enabled. This allows for a local 32-bit value in
>> user programs to support both kernel and user tracers. As an example,
>> setting bit 31 for kernel tracers when the event becomes enabled allows
>> for user tracers to use the other bits for ref counts or other flags.
>> The kernel side updates the bit atomically, user programs need to also
>> update these values atomically.
> I think you means the kernel tracer (ftrace/perf) and user tracers (e.g.
> LTTng) use the same 32bit data so that traced user-application only checks
> that data for checking an event is enabled, right?
> If so, who the user tracer threads updates the data bit? Is that thread
> safe to update both kernel tracer and user tracers at the same time?

Yes, my plan is to have userspace tracer agent threads use atomic
increments/decrements to update the "enabled" state, and the kernel use
atomic bit set/clear to update the top bit. This should allow the state
to be updated concurrently without issues.

> And what is the actual advantage of this change? Are there any issue
> to use mmaped page? I would like to know more background of this
> change.

With this change we can allow a user-space process to manage userspace
tracing on its own, without any kernel support. Registering to user
events becomes entirely optional. So if a kernel does not provide user
events (either an old kernel or a kernel with CONFIG_USER_EVENTS=n),
userspace tracing still works.

This also allows user-space tracers to co-exist with the user events ABI.

> Could you also provide any sample program which I can play it? :)

I've been working on a user-space static instrumentation library in the
recent weeks. I've left "TODO" items for integration with user events
ioctl/writev in the userspace code. See

There is now a build dependency on librseq to provide fast RCU read-side
to iterate on the array of userspace tracer callbacks:

(this dependency could be made optional in the future)

I know Doug is working on his own private repository for userspace
instrumentation, and we share a lot of common goals.



>> User provided addresses must be aligned on a 32-bit boundary, this
>> allows for single page checking and prevents odd behaviors such as a
>> 32-bit value straddling 2 pages instead of a single page.
>> When page faults are encountered they are done asyncly via a workqueue.
>> If the page faults back in, the write update is attempted again. If the
>> page cannot fault-in, then we log and wait until the next time the event
>> is enabled/disabled. This is to prevent possible infinite loops resulting
>> from bad user processes unmapping or changing protection values after
>> registering the address.
>> NOTE:
>> User programs that wish to have the enable bit shared across forks
>> either need to use a MAP_SHARED allocated address or register a new
>> address and file descriptor. If MAP_SHARED cannot be used or new
>> registrations cannot be done, then it's allowable to use MAP_PRIVATE
>> as long as the forked children never update the page themselves. Once
>> the page has been updated, the page from the parent will be copied over
>> to the child. This new copy-on-write page will not receive updates from
>> the kernel until another registration has been performed with this new
>> address.
>> Beau Belgrave (2):
>> tracing/user_events: Use remote writes for event enablement
>> tracing/user_events: Fixup enable faults asyncly
>> include/linux/user_events.h | 10 +-
>> kernel/trace/trace_events_user.c | 396 ++++++++++++++++++++-----------
>> 2 files changed, 270 insertions(+), 136 deletions(-)
>> base-commit: 23758867219c8d84c8363316e6dd2f9fd7ae3049
>> --
>> 2.25.1

Mathieu Desnoyers
EfficiOS Inc.

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