Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 17th Jan 2007 00:19 UTC
Sun Solaris, OpenSolaris Sun Microsystems is set to license OpenSolaris under the upcoming GNU GPLv3 in addition to the existing Common Development and Distribution License, sources close to the company have told eWEEK. "The next version of Solaris will include things like GNU Userland, which is already being attempted with OpenSolaris, while open-source solutions from other communities for things like package management also look very promising. Dual-licensing OpenSolaris with GPLv3 could make this even easier," said a source who declined to be named.
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RE[7]: oh no
by jamesd on Wed 17th Jan 2007 17:05 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: oh no"
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They are saying that the target audience of Dtrace is not Developpers (!), that you can not use Dtrace for debugging (!).

sorry, to burst your bubble, Dtrace is very good at debugging as documented at

Here is a small list of apps that have been debugged with DTrace, Network streams, Zones scaling problem,
Application Tuning, Gnome Load times, AutoMounter restarting, Finding Memory Leaks, NTP, Java Applet,
Libst, Timer, Mozilla, StarOffice, Zone monitoring,
Andrew Tridgell's lock scaling problem, BONOBO, setlocale, links to the explanations of the related bugs are in the above link, note that DTrace has bugged userland applications that has helped Solaris and Linux as well.

I agree with you that the omission of debugging is a bit odd for the DTrace column. However, they don't go so far as to say you _can not_ use DTrace for debugging, just listing the main usage. I don't know enough about DTrace to say whether or not that's a fair statement.

DTrace is an excellent tool, not only is it useful for the developer, the user can figure out details without knowing the code in question, and it doesn't even require that the code be compiled with debugging enabled. For example if a user wants to know which code path kdeinit is spending all its time here is a simple script that can be modified for any userland app and I bet the average user can figure out how to modify it.

tick-1234hz /* fire a probe 1234 times a second */
{ @[ustack()]= count(); } /* store a copy of userstack trace */

Based on my limited exposure to Dtrace, I think it "only" comes with a fixed number of probes (~31,000). Whereas, SystemTap uses kprobes to allow dynamic probes to be inserted anywhere (with a few restrictions) on the fly.

I love how Systemtap fans love to bring this up, but never never seem to mention that no one has managed to consistently create a script that works with more than a few 100 probes. A simple task like probing each kernel function 99 out of 100 times ends up with the system crashing. Systemtap fans also love pointing out that they can probe any point in the kernel, but what kind of programmer can't figure out what is happening in a function if he knows what function was called with what values, and what functions are being called and a complete userland and kernel stack trace?

Now lets show the DTrace facts, DTrace comes with over 48,000 probes in the kernel alone.

enterprise:~# dtrace -l | wc -l

but wait DTrace has userland probes as well what happens when we probe every function in say mozilla?

enterprise:~# dtrace -s max.d -c /usr/sfw/bin/mozilla | head
dtrace: script 'max.d' matched 531966 probes

Now lets go over the facts again, systemtap may be able to probe every line in the kernel in theory, but why does anyone need to do that? Of course when you actually try to probe even every function in the kernel (about 35,000 probes) its a recipe for crashing the system. There is no userland probes in systemtap, there isn't even a userland stack trace function that works. DTrace on the other hand can activate concurrently 48,000 probe points in the kernel, and another 530,000 in userland and not crash the system, which one is more useful? By the way DTrace has had the ability to do this for over 2 years now so was more stable and useful even when it was at the same age in development as systemtap is now.

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