[lttng-dev] Using lttng-ust with xenomai

Mathieu Desnoyers mathieu.desnoyers at efficios.com
Fri Nov 22 10:42:43 EST 2019

----- On Nov 22, 2019, at 4:14 AM, Norbert Lange nolange79 at gmail.com wrote:

> Hello,
> I already started a thread over at xenomai.org [1], but I guess its
> more efficient to ask here aswell.
> The basic concept is that xenomai thread run *below* Linux (threads
> and irg handlers), which means that xenomai threads must not use any

I guess you mean "irq handlers" here.

> linux services like the futex syscall or socket communication.
> ## tracepoints
> expecting that tracepoints are the only thing that should be used from
> the xenomai threads, is there anything using linux services.
> the "bulletproof" urcu apparently does not need anything for the
> reader lock (aslong as the thread is already registered),

Indeed the first time the urcu-bp read-lock is encountered by a thread,
the thread registration is performed, which requires locks, memory allocation,
and so on. After that, the thread can use urcu-bp read-side lock without
requiring any system call.

> but I dont know how the write-buffers are prepared.

LTTng-UST prepares the ring buffers from lttng-ust's "listener" thread,
which is injected into the process by a lttng-ust constructor.

What you will care about is how the tracepoint call-site (within a Xenomai
thread) interacts with the ring buffers.

The "default" setup for lttng-ust ring buffers is not suitable for Xenomai
threads. The lttng-ust ring buffer is split into sub-buffers, each sub-buffer
corresponding to a CTF trace "packet". When a sub-buffer is filled, lttng-ust
invokes "write(2)" to a pipe to let the consumer daemon know there is data
available in that ring buffer. You will want to get rid of that write(2) system
call from a Xenomai thread.

The proper configuration is to use lttng-enable-channel(1) "--read-timer"
option (see https://lttng.org/docs/v2.11/#doc-channel-read-timer). This will
ensure that the consumer daemon uses a polling approach to check periodically
whether data needs to be consumed within each buffer, thus removing the
use of the write(2) system call on the application-side.

> You can call linux sycalls from xenomai threads (it will switch to the
> linux shadow thread for that and lose realtime characteristics), so a
> one time setup/shutdown like registering the threads is not an issue.

OK, good, so you can actually do the initial setup when launching the thread.
You need to remember to invoke use a liburcu-bp read-side lock/unlock pair,
or call urcu_bp_read_ongoing() at thread startup within that initialization
phase to ensure urcu-bp registration has been performed.

> ## membarrier syscall
> I haven't got an explanation yet, but I believe this syscall does
> nothing to xenomai threads (each has a shadow linux thread, that is
> *idle* when the xenomai thread is active).

That's indeed a good point. I suspect membarrier may not send any IPI
to Xenomai threads (that would have to be confirmed). I suspect the
latency introduced by this IPI would be unwanted.

> liburcu has configure options allow forcing the usage of this syscall
> but not disabling it, which likely is necessary for Xenomai.

I suspect what you'd need there is a way to allow a process to tell
liburcu-bp (or liburcu) to always use the fall-back mechanism which does
not rely on sys_membarrier. This could be allowed before the first use of
the library. I think extending the liburcu APIs to allow this should be
straightforward enough. This approach would be more flexible than requiring
liburcu to be specialized at configure time. This new API would return an error
if invoked with a liburcu library compiled with --disable-sys-membarrier-fallback.

If you have control over your entire system's kernel, you may want to try
just configuring the kernel within CONFIG_MEMBARRIER=n in the meantime.

Another thing to make sure is to have a glibc and Linux kernel which perform
clock_gettime() as vDSO for the monotonic clock, because you don't want a
system call there. If that does not work for you, you can alternatively
implement your own lttng-ust and lttng-modules clock plugin .so/.ko to override
the clock used by lttng, and for instance use TSC directly. See for instance
the lttng-ust(3) LTTNG_UST_CLOCK_PLUGIN environment variable.



> Any input is welcome.
> Kind regards, Norbert
> [1] - https://xenomai.org/pipermail/xenomai/2019-November/042027.html
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Mathieu Desnoyers
EfficiOS Inc.

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