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On DTrace envy

On DTrace envy

Posted Aug 7, 2007 20:32 UTC (Tue) by prasadav (guest, #46636)
Parent article: On DTrace envy

Jonathan, thanks for taking an objective look at the tracing tools and giving your informed opinion. I would like to give few clarifications mainly from SystemTap point of view.

On the documentation SystemTap does provide a manual pages that explains the probe points available in the tapsets so one doesn't have to read the source code. I agree we can improve the documentation and we are addressing this issue and you will see detailed language reference manual soon on the website.

SystemTap language does support static markers. The static marker infrastructure in the kernel is currently undergoing review in LKML and we are expecting that to make to mainline soon. Once it makes to mainline SystemTap will exploit that.

We designed SystemTap to be flexible yet safe to make it usable to wide variety of audience. SystemTap also provides predefined probe points that are safe to probe. An administrator can limit to only these probe points without worrying about safety. SystemTap also provides ability for a developer or support person to place probes anywhere using advanced guru mode hence the warnings of safety. I agree with you that bundled tapsets contain limited probe points and needs enhancement and work is in progress.

Safety is one of the most important considerations in all of our design decisions. The generated code also has safety checks very similar to what a virtual machine provides.

I agree with you that SystemTap provides feature rich language including ability to print stack trace using backtrace() construct.

SystemTap project is very young (2.5 years) and it is still work in progress. We have come a long way in this short amount of time due to our flexible architecture but I agree with you that we need to focus making it usable to administrators of all levels.


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On DTrace envy

Posted Aug 7, 2007 21:26 UTC (Tue) by ahl (guest, #40497) [Link]

SystemTap project is very young (2.5 years) and it is still work in progress. We have come a long way in this short amount of time due to our flexible architecture but I agree with you that we need to focus making it usable to administrators of all levels.
By way of comparison, DTrace was being used in production a bit more than a year after development started, and it integrated after being in development for less than two years (it has, of course, evolved since then).

On DTrace envy

Posted Aug 7, 2007 23:36 UTC (Tue) by clugstj (subscriber, #4020) [Link]

Not really a fair comparison unless we are told how much much effort has been expended on each project, not just how much time.

On DTrace envy

Posted Aug 8, 2007 0:21 UTC (Wed) by ahl (guest, #40497) [Link]

Fair point:

I'm a member of the DTrace team. Development started with two people in October 2001; I joined about 6 months later. We integrated into Solaris in September 2003 so the original effort took about 5.5 man years of work. From 2003-2005 (when Solaris 10 shipped), the focus for the three of us continued to be DTrace, but we had several other projects on the side as well.


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