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Solaris Dynamic Tracing Guide
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Document Information


1.  Introduction

2.  Types, Operators, and Expressions

3.  Variables

4.  D Program Structure

5.  Pointers and Arrays

Pointers and Addresses

Pointer Safety

Array Declarations and Storage

Pointer and Array Relationship

Pointer Arithmetic

Generic Pointers

Multi-Dimensional Arrays

Pointers to DTrace Objects

Pointers and Address Spaces

6.  Strings

7.  Structs and Unions

8.  Type and Constant Definitions

9.  Aggregations

10.  Actions and Subroutines

11.  Buffers and Buffering

12.  Output Formatting

13.  Speculative Tracing

14.  dtrace(1M) Utility

15.  Scripting

16.  Options and Tunables

17.  dtrace Provider

18.  lockstat Provider

19.  profile Provider

20.  fbt Provider

21.  syscall Provider

22.  sdt Provider

23.  sysinfo Provider

24.  vminfo Provider

25.  proc Provider

26.  sched Provider

27.  io Provider

28.  mib Provider

29.  fpuinfo Provider

30.  pid Provider

31.  plockstat Provider

32.  fasttrap Provider

33.  User Process Tracing

34.  Statically Defined Tracing for User Applications

35.  Security

36.  Anonymous Tracing

37.  Postmortem Tracing

38.  Performance Considerations

39.  Stability

40.  Translators

41.  Versioning



Pointers and Address Spaces

A pointer is an address that provides a translation within some virtual address space to a piece of physical memory. DTrace executes your D programs within the address space of the operating system kernel itself. Your entire Solaris system manages many address spaces: one for the operating system kernel, and one for each user process. Since each address space provides the illusion that it can access all of the memory on the system, the same virtual address pointer value can be reused across address spaces but translate to different physical memory. Therefore, when writing D programs that use pointers, you must be aware of the address space corresponding to the pointers you intend to use.

For example, if you use the syscall provider to instrument entry to a system call that takes a pointer to an integer or array of integers as an argument (for example, pipe(2)), it would not be valid to dereference that pointer or array using the * or [] operators because the address in question is an address in the address space of the user process that performed the system call. Applying the * or [] operators to this address in D would result in a kernel address space access, which would result in an invalid address error or in returning unexpected data to your D program depending upon whether the address happened to match a valid kernel address.

To access user process memory from a DTrace probe, you must apply one of the copyin(), copyinstr(), or copyinto() functions described in Chapter 10, Actions and Subroutines to the user address space pointer. Take care when writing your D programs to name and comment variables storing user addresses appropriately to avoid confusion. You can also store user addresses as uintptr_t so you don't accidentally compile D code that dereferences them. Techniques for using DTrace on user processes are described in Chapter 33, User Process Tracing.