Upcoming SystemTap Features

A few new SystemTap features that have been eagerly awaited were vetted in Fedora and are likely set to start appearing in upcoming RedHat releases:

  • A revamped security model that allows for probing by non root-users, without compromising security. An example of why this is useful is detailed in the linked readme.
  • Basic support for user-space probing. A probe can be placed at a location specified by PID and virtual address, and the normal range of tapset features are available for user-space probes.
  • The crash utility (for analyzing dump data) can use the staplog extension to retrieve the SystemTap relay buffer from a kernel dump image.  Seems like a useful feature when tracking a bug that causes a kernel crash.

If you are interested in more information, I previously wrote about a real-world use of SystemTap, and about how to use kernel markers in SystemTap. Of course, there are lots of other sample scripts on the SystemTap wiki.