SystemTap Without Debug Info

Just a short post today to mention a new feature in SystemTap that I should have mentioned a while ago.  A primary barrier to the adoption of SystemTap has been the requirement that SystemTap have access to the DWARF debug information for the kernel and modules.  This is no longer the case; as of a few weeks ago, SystemTap can operate on systems that do not provide this debug info.  SystemTap users can trace function entries and returns (and report argument values with a little extra effort) even if no debug info is provided.  This currently works for i386 and x86_64, and powerpc support is being debugged.

For more information, refer to this page on the SystemTap wiki.  This, combined with user-space probing, provides substantial and much-needed improvements to the usability of SystemTap.