Muli Ben-Yehuda's journal

March 15, 2004

Filed under: Uncategorized — Muli Ben-Yehuda @ 5:43 AM

OLS 2004

The call
for papers
ends today. I have decided not to submit a paper
this year. I need to be spending more time writing code and less
time talking about it.

Kernel Workshop

.. and with that in mind, I’m going to be giving a one day Linux
Kernel workshop today. The slides and code are available on my
talks page. I
didn’t have nearly enough time to prepare it, but I hope it will
turn out well.


Last night, before I went to sleep, I felt myself sliding into
depression. Is it possible to slide out of depression?


  1. I hope it is possible. I had a slight depression two nights ago. It was quite bad actually.
    Saw your slides. Looks good.

    Comment by ideawerkz — March 14, 2004 @ 8:30 PM | Reply

    • Thanks. I hope you feel better (I do, a good night’s sleep always does it for me).

      Comment by mulix — March 16, 2004 @ 12:01 AM | Reply

      • Just returned home. Feeling a little better. Time to start re-compiling historical (2.4.9/10) kernels. Wish me luck. Still can’t it compiled yet.

        Comment by ideawerkz — March 16, 2004 @ 3:50 AM

      • That sounds like fun (not). Good luck!

        Comment by mulix — March 16, 2004 @ 5:19 AM

      • Got it to compile, and boot. Time to port my patch.

        Comment by ideawerkz — March 16, 2004 @ 5:41 AM

  2. off topic
    So I actually found a use for your syscalltrack thing today, finding what program keeps fork()ing every couple of seconds on my system (gkrellm shows that something is spawning, but I can’t figure out what). I wish syscalltrack didn’t require building another kernel module, since I don’t really want to do that. Do you know of any other way to figure out what process keeps spawning?

    Comment by compwiz — March 15, 2004 @ 9:12 AM | Reply

    • Re: off topic
      write a small program that walks /proc/pid, looking for new processes and noting their parents pids? then build a process tree, which should make it fairly obvious which program is at fault. Note that you need to be walking /proc/pid faster than new processes are spawned, but if it’s only every couple of seconds, it should be trivial.

      Comment by mulix — March 16, 2004 @ 12:08 AM | Reply

      • Re: off topic
        the problem is that whatever process spawns & goes away too quickly to see it with top or ps aux, so I’m not too sure that will work.

        Comment by compwiz — March 16, 2004 @ 5:39 AM

      • Re: off topic
        hijack the fork routine, and then redirect it to a proc or a file. should be pretty trivial.

        Comment by ideawerkz — March 16, 2004 @ 9:00 AM

      • Re: off topic
        hijacking the fork routine requires either changing the kernel (which he doesn’t want to do), or modifying a running process (unless it’s reproducible? I was amusing it isn’t)…. not quite that trivial πŸ˜‰

        Comment by mulix — March 16, 2004 @ 9:26 AM

  3. on
    oh, and isn’t NPTL Native POSIX Threads Library, not New POSIX Threads Library?

    Comment by compwiz — March 15, 2004 @ 9:13 AM | Reply

    • Re: on
      Native, correct. Thanks, will be fixed in a moment.

      Comment by mulix — March 16, 2004 @ 12:09 AM | Reply

  4. Oh, and the version of syscalltrack in Debian is wayyyyy out of date. You might want to push Baruch to update it.

    Comment by compwiz — March 15, 2004 @ 9:26 AM | Reply

    • I don’t think Baruch is maintaining it any more, but I’ll ping him just in case. Thanks.

      Comment by mulix — March 16, 2004 @ 12:09 AM | Reply

      • Why isn’t Baruch maintaining it? Btw, is it a lot of trouble to maintain it? If not, I wouldn’t mind adopting it from next month onwards.

        Comment by ideawerkz — March 16, 2004 @ 9:00 AM

      • I guess he’s busy. I dont’ know if it’s a lot of trouble, but it’s definitely not a trivial package (kernel patch, etc).

        Comment by mulix — March 16, 2004 @ 9:25 AM

      • Even rml’s procps is not trivial. I had a hard time packaging it… I did it half-way, and have to put it aside because it is taking up too much time at the moment.
        Nothing is trivial. If it is trivial, I shouldn’t be awake now πŸ™‚

        Comment by ideawerkz — March 16, 2004 @ 9:33 AM

      • procps 3 is at
        You need procps 3 anyway for recent kernels.
        See for the 3.2.1 release
        or whatever else is current when you get there.

        Comment by Anonymous — April 18, 2004 @ 8:51 PM

      • Re: procps 3 is at
        There are two branches to procps. One is from the link you gave, the other one is by some kernel developers I know. The latter have some tools that I need for development, thus it is more useful.
        Btw, who is this?

        Comment by ideawerkz — April 18, 2004 @ 9:08 PM

      • Re: procps 3 is at
        This is Albert Cahalan. I did write the /proc thread support in the 2.6.xx kernel,
        which counts as kernel development I think. The most recent release contains
        slabtop — is that what you refer to? Here’s what procps-3 gives you:
        * ps fully supports thread display (H, -L, m, -m, and -T)
        * ps can display NSA SELinux security contexts
        * handles pts/* TTY devices on the 2.6.xx kernel
        * top can show CPU usage for IO-wait, IRQ, and softirq
        * can set $PS_FORMAT to choose your own default ps format
        * better width control (“ps -o pid,wchan:42,args”)
        * width of ps PID column adjusts to your system
        * vmstat lets you choose units you like: 1000, 1024, 1000000…
        * top can sort by any column (old sort keys available too)
        * top can select a single user to display
        * top can be put in multi-window mode and/or color mode
        * vmstat has the -s option, as found on UNIX and BSD systems
        * vmstat has the -f option, as found on UNIX and BSD systems
        * watch doesn’t eat the first blank line by mistake
        * vmstat uses a fast O(1) algorithm on 2.5.xx kernels
        * pmap command is SunOS-compatible
        * vmstat shows IO-wait time
        * pgrep and pkill can find the oldest matching process
        * sysctl handles the Linux 2.5.xx VLAN interfaces
        * ps has a new “-F” format (very nice, like DYNIX/ptx has)
        * ps with proper BSD process selection
        * better handling of very long uptimes

        Comment by Anonymous — April 29, 2004 @ 5:48 PM

      • Re: procps 3 is at
        Hi Albert, nice to see you here, and hope you continue to read my journal. I was referring to, which is yet another fork of procps, but doesn’t seem as frequently updated as the one you pointed out.

        Comment by ideawerkz — April 29, 2004 @ 6:27 PM

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