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» Heaptrack - Attaching to Running Process

Tue, 12/09/2014 - 23:02

Hello all,

I’m happy to be back so soon with a status update on heaptrack: It is now possible to attach to an already running process!

Thanks to the great help from Celelibi on StackOverflow, I managed to achieve this important goal. Once you know what to do, it is actually extremely simple to patch a running process. I use GDB to attach to the process, then call dlopen to load a special heaptrack library for runtime-injection. Then I call an initialization function which takes the desired output file as a parameter, and then detach GDB. To actually overwrite malloc & friends, one can leverage dl_iterate_phdr and the public ELF API on Linux systems to find dynamic sections that reference one of our target symbols in their global offset table (GOT). This can then be rewritten to point to our custom hooks. Some refactoring later, which stabilized the shutdown sequence to allows multiple heaptrack attach/detach sequences, we can now do this:

  1. heaptrack -p $(pidof <yourapp>)
  2. # wait
  3. ^C
  4. heaptrack_print heaptrack.<yourapp>.$$.gz | less

This is a great help when you want to investigate why the memory consumption of your application suddenly rises. No need to restart the app, just attach heaptrack and wait for some, then kill it and heaptrack_print the outputfile.

Please try this new feature and send me bug reports and feedback.

Cheers

» Heaptrack - A Heap Memory Profiler for Linux

Tue, 12/02/2014 - 19:25

Hello everyone,

with a tingly feeling in my belly, I’m happy to announce heaptrack, a heap memory profiler for Linux. Over the last couple of months I’ve worked on this new tool in my free time. What started as a “what if” experiment quickly became such a promising tool that I couldn’t stop working on it, at the cost of neglecting my physics masters thesis (who needs that anyways, eh?). In the following, I’ll show you how to use this tool, and why you should start using it.

» An optimization kata - profiling 101 at Akademy 2014

Tue, 09/09/2014 - 15:43

Yesterday my Profiling 101 workshop took place at this years Akademy in Brno. The room was packed and I got good feedback, so I hope you all learned something new :)

During my workshop, I showed you how to improve the performance of a word-count application which also creates a word histogram and finds the longest word of a file. I tried to put as many performance bottlenecks as possible into the original code base, which you can find here:

  1. git clone git@git.kde.org:scratch/mwolff/akademy-2014.git

Instead of uploading my useless slides full of meme images, instead I’m now pushing my optimized code branch. I urge everyone to review the commits I did and read the individual commit messages (Note: read this log from bottom to top). There are many useful tips and tricks in there. I furthermore plan to create a techbase article with the most important notes on how to use profilers for a given job. I’ll write another blog post once I’m done with that.

Furthermore, if you want to learn profiling, I think my scratch repo up there is a good coding kata. Branch off from the master branch and create your own optimized one. Use profilers such as Valgrind callgrind and Linux perf for CPU runtime. Try out Massif and heaptrack for memory.

I hope together we can make KDE software much faster. There are probably many low-hanging fruit throughout our large codebase. If you have any question, please do ask me.

Cheers, enjoy the rest of Akademy. Many thanks to the organizers, sponsors and the KDE e.V.!