tracing does not (necessarily) have anything to do with source availablility
Posted Nov 25, 2004 16:44 UTC (Thu) by josephrjustice
In reply to: source availablility has nothing to do with tracing
Parent article: Solaris 10
It's true that, on a proprietary ^H^H...^H closed source system (unless one is among the blessed elite), a person needs to resort to trace toolkits, debuggers, etc to be able to look inside the guts of software.
It's also true that, on an Open Source / Free(Libre) Software system, one does not _need_ to resort to trace toolkits, debuggers, etc. After all, it is (in theory) possible to look at the source code, in combination with FULL and COMPLETE knowledge of all information leading to the current state of a running process (which, note, depending on the issue being investigated could include needing to have knowledge of the exact runtime history of this process and other processes on the system, information about the layout of files on disk, knowledge of the specifications of the hardware, knowing about any compiler bugs, knowing about any hardware bugs (e.g. divergences from the hardware specification), knowledge of the phase of the moon (e.g. did a random cosmic ray cause a bit to flip in memory causing a run-time error), etc), and be able to deduce exactly how the problematic process got to be the way it is. You know, the old "Let the human pretend sie is a Von Neumann machine" thing.
However, just because this is _possible_ for open source systems does not mean it is _practical_, or that this is always what people _should_ do even if other options are available to them.
I don't use Solaris (other than as a person with a Unix shell account with an ISP that uses Solaris on its shell systems). I'm certainly not an avowed Sun Microsystems booster (tho, neither am I a dedicated detractor of them either). However, it does seem from this particular conversational thread, and other pages linked to from it, that there are, apparently, some _potential_ advantages and uses of this DTrace tool which you are overlooking or dismissing, and which at least some people might find of value if similar functionality (either DTrace itself or a work-alike) was available for Linux. This, despite the fact that source is available for Linux.
And, I think you'd have to agree this (some people finding DTrace, etc to be potentially valuable) is true even if such functionality is not, in principle, absolutely _necessary_ for Open Source / Free(Libre) Software systems.
Joseph, still does all _his_ arithmetic using Peano Numbers, because integers are unnecessary
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