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Re: [PATCH] mips: function tracer: Fix broken function tracing

To: Steven Rostedt <>, Al Cooper <>,
Subject: Re: [PATCH] mips: function tracer: Fix broken function tracing
From: David Daney <>
Date: Tue, 15 Jan 2013 09:55:30 -0800
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On 01/14/2013 07:40 PM, Steven Rostedt wrote:
On Fri, Jan 11, 2013 at 09:01:01AM -0800, David Daney wrote:

I thought all CPUs were in stop_machine() when the modifications
were done, so that there is no issue with multi-word instruction

Am I wrong about this?

So really I think you can do two NOP just as easily.

The problem with double NOPs is that it can only work if there's no
problem executing one nop and a non NOP. Which I think is an issue here.

If you have something like:

        bl      _mcount
        addiu   sp,sp,-8

And you convert that to:


Now if you convert that back to:

        bl      ftrace_caller
        addiu   sp,sp,-8

then you can have an issue if the task was preempted after that first
nop. Because stop_machine() doesn't wait for tasks to exit kernel space.
If you have a CONFIG_PREEMPT kernel, a task can be sleeping anywhere.
Thus you have a task execute the first nop, get preempted. You update
the code to be:

Thanks for the explanation Steven.  This is the part I was missing.

Given all of this, I think the most expedient course for the short term is to use the branch-likely-false trick. Although the performance will probably not be great, I think it is probably race free.

In the longer term...

        bl      ftrace_caller
        addiu   sp,sp,-8

When that task gets scheduled back in, it will act like it just

        addiu   sp,sp,-8

Which is the problem you're trying to solve in the first place.

Now that said, There's no reason we need that addiu sp,sp,-8 there.
That's just what the mips defined mcount requires. But as you can see
above, with dynamic ftrace, the defined mcount is only called at boot
up, and never again. That means at boot up you can convert to:


and then when you enable tracing just convert it to:

        bl      ftrace_caller

There's nothing that states what the ftrace caller must be. We can have
it do a proper stack update. That is, only at boot up do we need to
handle the defined mcount. After that, those instructions are just place
holders for our own algorithms. If the addiu was needed for the defined
mcount, there's no reason to keep it for our own ftrace_caller.

Would that work?

... either do as you suggest and dynamically change the ABI of the target function.

Or add support to GCC for a better tracing ABI (as I already said we did for mips64).

David Daney

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