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Uprobe-tracer: Uprobe-based Event Tracing
Documentation written by Srikar Dronamraju
Uprobe based trace events are similar to kprobe based trace events.
To enable this feature, build your kernel with CONFIG_UPROBE_EVENT=y.
Similar to the kprobe-event tracer, this doesn't need to be activated via
current_tracer. Instead of that, add probe points via
/sys/kernel/debug/tracing/uprobe_events, and enable it via
However unlike kprobe-event tracer, the uprobe event interface expects the
user to calculate the offset of the probepoint in the object
Synopsis of uprobe_tracer
p[:[GRP/]EVENT] PATH:SYMBOL[+offs] [FETCHARGS] : Set a probe
GRP : Group name. If omitted, use "uprobes" for it.
EVENT : Event name. If omitted, the event name is generated
based on SYMBOL+offs.
PATH : path to an executable or a library.
SYMBOL[+offs] : Symbol+offset where the probe is inserted.
FETCHARGS : Arguments. Each probe can have up to 128 args.
%REG : Fetch register REG
Event Profiling
You can check the total number of probe hits and probe miss-hits via
The first column is event name, the second is the number of probe hits,
the third is the number of probe miss-hits.
Usage examples
To add a probe as a new event, write a new definition to uprobe_events
as below.
echo 'p: /bin/bash:0x4245c0' > /sys/kernel/debug/tracing/uprobe_events
This sets a uprobe at an offset of 0x4245c0 in the executable /bin/bash
echo > /sys/kernel/debug/tracing/uprobe_events
This clears all probe points.
The following example shows how to dump the instruction pointer and %ax
a register at the probed text address. Here we are trying to probe
function zfree in /bin/zsh
# cd /sys/kernel/debug/tracing/
# cat /proc/`pgrep zsh`/maps | grep /bin/zsh | grep r-xp
00400000-0048a000 r-xp 00000000 08:03 130904 /bin/zsh
# objdump -T /bin/zsh | grep -w zfree
0000000000446420 g DF .text 0000000000000012 Base zfree
0x46420 is the offset of zfree in object /bin/zsh that is loaded at
0x00400000. Hence the command to probe would be :
# echo 'p /bin/zsh:0x46420 %ip %ax' > uprobe_events
Please note: User has to explicitly calculate the offset of the probepoint
in the object. We can see the events that are registered by looking at the
uprobe_events file.
# cat uprobe_events
p:uprobes/p_zsh_0x46420 /bin/zsh:0x00046420 arg1=%ip arg2=%ax
The format of events can be seen by viewing the file events/uprobes/p_zsh_0x46420/format
# cat events/uprobes/p_zsh_0x46420/format
name: p_zsh_0x46420
ID: 922
field:unsigned short common_type; offset:0; size:2; signed:0;
field:unsigned char common_flags; offset:2; size:1; signed:0;
field:unsigned char common_preempt_count; offset:3; size:1; signed:0;
field:int common_pid; offset:4; size:4; signed:1;
field:int common_padding; offset:8; size:4; signed:1;
field:unsigned long __probe_ip; offset:12; size:4; signed:0;
field:u32 arg1; offset:16; size:4; signed:0;
field:u32 arg2; offset:20; size:4; signed:0;
print fmt: "(%lx) arg1=%lx arg2=%lx", REC->__probe_ip, REC->arg1, REC->arg2
Right after definition, each event is disabled by default. For tracing these
events, you need to enable it by:
# echo 1 > events/uprobes/enable
Lets disable the event after sleeping for some time.
# sleep 20
# echo 0 > events/uprobes/enable
And you can see the traced information via /sys/kernel/debug/tracing/trace.
# cat trace
# tracer: nop
# | | | | |
zsh-24842 [006] 258544.995456: p_zsh_0x46420: (0x446420) arg1=446421 arg2=79
zsh-24842 [007] 258545.000270: p_zsh_0x46420: (0x446420) arg1=446421 arg2=79
zsh-24842 [002] 258545.043929: p_zsh_0x46420: (0x446420) arg1=446421 arg2=79
zsh-24842 [004] 258547.046129: p_zsh_0x46420: (0x446420) arg1=446421 arg2=79
Each line shows us probes were triggered for a pid 24842 with ip being
0x446421 and contents of ax register being 79.