Older blog entries for gary (starting at number 266)

Saving money

I have a pair of set-top box PCs I’ve been using as always-on servers. I used them because they’re silent, but lately I’ve been thinking about power consumption. They were pretty good when I bought them in 2006 and 2008, but there’s much better stuff available now. I spent £60 on a Raspberry Pi and some supporting bits; given that it uses roughly a tenth the power of one of the set-top boxes it will have paid for itself in about two months.

While reorganising everything I also decommissioned an old Netgear switch which was likely costing £100 a year to run. Maybe it’s time you looked in your networking cupboard too!

Syndicated 2013-05-01 10:04:20 from gbenson.net

ath9k_htc drivers for RHEL 6.4

This morning I packaged up ath9k_htc drivers for RHEL 6.4. This isn’t anything official, just something I knocked together. I’m using it with a TP-LINK TL-WN722N and kernel-2.6.32-358.2.1.el6.x86_64; it seems to work but your mileage may vary! RPMs here.

Syndicated 2013-04-19 14:17:24 from gbenson.net

Because I never remember how to use OProfile

sudo opcontrol --reset
sudo opcontrol --start
# the thing you want to profile
sudo opcontrol --stop
opreport -l | less

Syndicated 2012-08-15 09:05:09 from gbenson.net

Easy things to do with GDB #1

I’ve been meaning to write some introductory articles to GDB ever since back in February at FOSDEM, where I was surprised by just how many people do not use GDB–or even know what it is! It’s taken me a while to figure out a nice example, but I finally found them.

Last week I wanted to extend ogg123, a tool for playing music files on the commandline. It supports several formats–Ogg Vorbis, FLAC and Speex–and the way it abstracts that is by passing around a struct format_t full of function pointers to various callbacks. I was adding a new format, and wanted to know what kind of arguments it was calling its callbacks with. I could have tried to figure it out by reading the code, but it was easier to just run it in GDB and see what was happening. Here’s how:

  1. Build a copy of ogg123 with debugging support:
    wget http://downloads.xiph.org/releases/vorbis/vorbis-tools-1.4.0.tar.gz
    tar xf vorbis-tools-1.4.0.tar.gz
    cd vorbis-tools-1.4.0
    CFLAGS="-g -O0" ./configure

    The important bit here is the CFLAGS="-g -O0". This causes configure to pass these extra options to GCC in the makefiles it generates. -g instructs GCC to include debugging information in the files it generates to allow GDB to relate the executable files you’re debugging to the source files they were generated from. -O0 instructs GCC not to optimise the code, which makes for easier debugging.

  2. Start up GDB on the ogg123 you just built:
    gdb -args ogg123/ogg123 ~/music/Various/Disco\ Demands/4-08\ -\ Give\ It\ Up.flac

    Everything after the -args option is the command you’d normally type to run the program. GDB will print out some stuff as it starts up, then present you with a (gdb) prompt and wait for you to enter some commands:

    GNU gdb (GDB)
    Copyright (C) 2012 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
    License GPLv3+: GNU GPL version 3 or later 
    This is free software: you are free to change and redistribute it.
    There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.  Type "show copying"
    and "show warranty" for details.
    This GDB was configured as "x86_64-unknown-linux-gnu".
    For bug reporting instructions, please see:
    Reading symbols from /home/gary/vorbis-tools/ogg123/ogg123...done.
    (gdb) >
  3. Ok, the callback I’m interested in is the “read” callback, and we’re playing a FLAC file so the callback is called flac_read. I’d like to run the program until flac_read is called, so I set a breakpoint on flac_read by entering break flac_read and then using the run command to set ogg123 going:
    (gdb) break flac_read
    Breakpoint 1 at 0x40dde5: file flac_format.c, line 253.
    (gdb) run
    Starting program: /home/gary/vorbis-tools/ogg123/ogg123 /home/gary/music/Various/Disco\ Demands/4-08\ -\ Give\ It\ Up.flac
    [Thread debugging using libthread_db enabled]
    Using host libthread_db library "/lib64/libthread_db.so.1".
    [New Thread 0x7fffeb863700 (LWP 10312)]
    [Thread 0x7fffeb863700 (LWP 10312) exited]
    Audio Device:   PulseAudio Output
    Playing: /home/gary/music/Various/Disco Demands/4-08 - Give It Up.flac
    Breakpoint 1, flac_read (decoder=0x637560, ptr=0x6182a0, nbytes=30240,
        eos=0x7fffffffe37c, audio_fmt=0x7fffffffe380) at flac_format.c:253
    253	  flac_private_t *priv = decoder->private;
  4. GDB now has a running copy of ogg123 stopped at the very start of flac_read. Pretty jazzy huh? You can see the values of the arguments in the second-to-last line it printed, so for example you can see that the caller has requested to read 30240 bytes of data. The various structures (decoder=0x637560 etc) aren’t so useful as they’re pointers, but we can deference them with the print command:
    (gdb) print *decoder
    $1 = {source = 0x637060, request_fmt = {big_endian = 0, word_size = 2,
        signed_sample = 1, rate = 0, channels = 0, matrix = 0x0}, actual_fmt = {
        big_endian = 0, word_size = 2, signed_sample = 1, rate = 0, channels = 0,
        matrix = 0x0}, format = 0x617ec0, callbacks = 0x7fffffffe3a0,
      callback_arg = 0x0, private = 0x6375d0}

    That’s pretty nice, we can see for example what format it wants the data in: little endian, signed, etc. Also, notice the line of code it stopped on:

    253	  flac_private_t *priv = decoder->private;

    That’s the next line of code GDB will execute if we set the program going again in some way. We can advance over just that line with the next command:

    (gdb) next
    254	  decoder_callbacks_t *cb = decoder->callbacks;

    Now it’s initialised the local variable priv, which we can also print out:

    (gdb) p *priv
    $2 = {decoder = 0x637000, is_oggflac = 0, channels = 2, rate = 44100,
      bits_per_sample = 16, totalsamples = 13337016, currentsample = 0,
      samples_decoded = 4096, samples_decoded_previous = 0, bytes_read = 24576,
      bytes_read_previous = 0, comments = 0x638240, bos = 1, eos = 0,
      buf = 0x637020, buf_len = 4096, buf_start = 0, buf_fill = 4096, stats = {
        total_time = 0, current_time = 0, instant_bitrate = 0, avg_bitrate = 0}}

    Did you see what I did there? Most GDB commands have abbreviated forms, and the abbreviation for print is p. The commands I’ve introduced in this article are some of the most commonly used, and their abbreviated forms are all simply their first letter: b for breakpoint, r for run and n for next. You can also repeat the previous command by pressing Return, which is handy for doing a load of next commands one after the other, for instance.

Ok, that’s all for today. Go and have a play!

Syndicated 2012-03-26 13:49:05 from gbenson.net

Breakpoints on inlined functions

I just committed a patch that makes GDB able to set breakpoints on inlined functions by name.

Syndicated 2012-03-16 17:19:17 from gbenson.net

GDB neat things #1

The command tbreak (tb for short) is exactly like break except that the breakpoint it sets is deleted when it’s hit.

The command start runs the debugged program until the start of the main procedure. It’s equivalent to tbreak main followed by run.

Little things for sure, but they save typing.

Syndicated 2012-03-15 15:42:15 from gbenson.net

Working on gdb

For future reference, and because I keep forgetting things, here is how I work on gdb:

  1. Check out a copy of the sources. Some of this is described on the branch management page of the GDB wiki:
    mkdir /somewhere/to/work
    cd /somewhere/to/work
    git clone ssh://sourceware.org/git/archer.git src
    cd src
    git remote add gdb git://sourceware.org/git/gdb.git
  2. Point the master branch to the correct place. The real one is in the GDB repo, but there’s an old one in Archer that is no longer used. Open /somewhere/to/work/src/.git/config in your favourite editor and change remote = origin to remote = gdb in the [branch "master"] section. Then probably do a git pull to fetch the actual code you’ll be working on.
  3. Create yourself a nice new branch to make your changes in:
  4. git branch --track archer-gbenson-lazy-skip-inline-frames gdb/master
    git checkout archer-gbenson-lazy-skip-inline-frames
  5. (make your changes here)
  6. Build it. I build out-of-tree, like this:
    mkdir /somewhere/to/work/build
    cd /somewhere/to/work/build
    CFLAGS="-g -O0" ../src/configure --with-separate-debug-dir=/usr/lib/debug
  7. Run the testsuite. I like to run the tests twice, once without and once with the changes, then I diff the results and pipe it through a script I wrote to hide the unimportant bits:
    make check >& build-20110921-3.log
    diff -u baseline-20110919.log build-20110921-3.log | gdbtestdiff
  8. If a test fails, you’ll want to hook gdb into it. To do that you run the specific test to create a transcript:
    cd /somewhere/to/work/build/gdb/testsuite
    runtest TRANSCRIPT=1 ../../../src/gdb/testsuite/gdb.opt/inline-cmds.exp
    gdb ../gdb
  9. Then you pipe the transcript into gdb:
    set prompt (top-gdb)
    b internal_error
    r -nx

Ok, I think that is enough for now.

Syndicated 2011-09-21 12:54:11 from gbenson.net

New role

A couple of months ago I switched from the OpenJDK team to the GDB team. I’ll no doubt write something here about what I’m doing soon (ie within the next year or so) but in the meantime if you would like to apply for my old job at the awesomeness that is Red Hat then please click this link.

Syndicated 2011-06-23 08:45:07 from gbenson.net

Future archaeology

Andrew Hughes pointed out yesterday that the ARM interpreter and JIT are slated for removal in IcedTea6-1.11 unless someone steps up to maintain it. Currently there’s only one place where the all information about what’s required is collated—inside my head—so I thought I’d better write it up before I start forgetting. It’s entirely possible the interpreter will be removed, but it’s also possible that someone will end up trying to resurrect it months or years down the line. If you are that person and you are reading this then you owe me a beer ;)

The first change that broke the ARM code was the fix for PR icedtea/323, aka Sun bug 6939182. I described the required fix here:

“[In the ARM code] last_Java_sp is set to the address of the top Zero frame wherever the frame anchor is set up. It needs changing such that last_Java_sp is set to thread->zero_stack()->sp() (and the new field last_Java_fp gets set to what last_Java_sp used to be set to).”

The second change that broke the ARM code was the fix for PR icedtea/484, aka Sun bug 6951784. I described the required fix here:

“I have had to change the calling convention within Zero and Shark. All method entries (the C function that executes the method) now return an integer which is the number of deoptimized frames they have left on the stack. Whenever a method is called it is now the caller’s responsibility to check whether frames have been deoptimized and reenter the interpreter if they have.”

The third change, currently in progress, reverts the last commit by the ARM code’s author, Ed Nevill: fix for fast bytecodes with ARM/Shark. This piece of code was accidentally incorporated in one of the webrevs when Zero was upstreamed, and isn’t conditionalised correctly. It can cause problems when the ARM code is not present, and there’s no neat fix. Given that the ARM code has been broken for five days shy of a year now I’ve asked for it to be removed from OpenJDK. This is Sun bug 7030207. If the ARM code is resurrected, this patch will require reinstating (with more specific conditionalisation please!)

The fourth change, currently in the future, is JSR 292. Explicit method handle stuff should just work–it’ll be handled by Zero–but the ARM interpreter and JIT will need updating to support three new instructions: invokedynamic, fast_aldc and fast_aldc_w. The latter two are internal instructions, in case you wondered why you’d never heard of them before!

Ok, that is all.

Syndicated 2011-03-24 12:14:33 from gbenson.net

ARM interpreter

I just discovered that the ARM-specific interpreter stuff that Ed Nevill wrote (and then abandoned) last year has a hack that disables it when run with -XX:+PrintCommandLineFlags. I guess this is one problem when you have 6,000 lines of assembler nobody understands: you don’t know what secret weird shit is buried in there.

Syndicated 2011-03-14 14:28:01 from gbenson.net

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