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Re: [RFC] [PATCH 1/1] [MIPS] Advanced Kernel Stack Backtrace

To: David VomLehn <>
Subject: Re: [RFC] [PATCH 1/1] [MIPS] Advanced Kernel Stack Backtrace
From: Ralf Baechle <>
Date: Sun, 11 May 2008 17:07:32 +0100
In-reply-to: <>
Original-recipient: rfc822;
References: <>
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.17 (2007-11-01)
On Wed, May 07, 2008 at 04:49:53PM -0700, David VomLehn wrote:

> This patch contains the kernel stack backtrace code we've been running for 
> about a year on our MIPS-based settop box. It is considerably larger than 
> the existing backtrace implementation and so is configurable in the Kernel 
> Hacking section.  It also requires that KALLSYMS be enabled. In return, I 
> think it offers some advantages over the existing backtrace code:
> o It will backtrace over nested interrupts and exceptions, allowing 
> detailed analysis of was going on when it was invoked.
> o It handles a number of corner cases involving instructions in branch 
> delay slots.
> o It is very careful to use __get_user when fetching stack data and 
> instructions, meaning that it will fail gracefully even in the presence of 
> stack corruption.
> o It identifies whether the $sp register or another register is being used 
> as the frame pointer. Assuming people are happy with this submission, there 
> is a small subsequent patch I'll submit that dumps the frame pointer value 
> as part of the backtrace.
> o It segregates the backtrace code into a subdirectory of arch/mips/kernel 
> rather than cluttering up traps.c or the kernel directory.
> The main reason I am submitting this as a request for comments rather than 
> as a normal patch is that, though I wrote it with 64-bit systems in mind, I 
> don't have access to a 64-bit system on which to test it. I am happy to 
> merge any 64-bit-specific changes. For 32-bit systems, I'll claim it's 
> ready to go.
> The other reason is that this is an RFC is that it is such a large, single 
> chunk of code that there are certainly lots of comments that people will 
> have. I'm not naive enough to think it's really ready without more review.
> [Note: for anyone who was at the MIPS backtrace session at the CELF 
> Conference, this is the code I was talking about.]

I wasn't even aware of the session.

> Signed-off-by: David VomLehn <>

> +#ifndef      numberof
> +#define      numberof(a)     (sizeof(a) / sizeof((a) [0]))
> +#endif

I really just glanced over the patch.  I think I like the promise of more
accurate backtraces because frequently one (1) backtrace is all information
which there ever will be available for debugging.

 o Use ARRAY_SIZE() from <linux/kernel.h> instead of numberof.
 o Please run the patch through scripts/ and fix the resulting
 o Your patch got linewrapped by your mail client.


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