Archive for the ‘dtrace’ Category

It’s time to OD

At long last, the dtrace project at Foundry27 is public. It’s really still in the formative stages, but if you want to download the source and hack around a bit, or even just laugh at the dirty hacks, feel free!

I’m slowing working on a more thorough port, but the prototype is a nice forum to play around in.

Have fun…


Move along, nothing to see here.

As some of you may know, Thomas and I have been working on a port of dtrace, mostly in our spare time. I was intrigued and enthused to see that it had also been ported to FreeBSD and Mac OS X Leopard.

I was dismayed, however, to read this blog entry by one of dtrace’s inventors, Adam Leventhal, on a discovery he had made about the Leopard port.

I won’t repeat the details of it here, but the gist of it is that Apple allows for certain processes to be hidden from any debug/tracing systems. While you may or may not agree on whether that is Truly Evil Behaviour or not, it doesn’t really matter – what it means for sure is that the Leopard dtrace port is severely broken.

When a system wide tracer cannot trace the whole system, it pretty much ceases to be of any use!

You might as well pack up, and go home, folks!

The really sad thing is the way they broke it! They basically disable any probes from running at the same time as a protected process, the prime example being iTunes.

This means, for example, that anything based on the timer tick is useless, since you lose the regular heartbeat, and that any kernel activity that may have been deferred (say disk io) is lost, unnoticed by your dtrace probes!

It really means that you cannot trust any of the data that dtrace is supplying, as it may be at best incomplete, at worst incorrect.

I shake my head, I really do.



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