Home Home > GIT Browse
summaryrefslogtreecommitdiff
blob: 65b97e1dbf70cabf7a92dee53831f191f16b4015 (plain)
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
57
58
59
60
61
62
63
64
65
66
67
68
69
70
71
72
73
74
75
76
77
78
79
80
81
82
83
84
85
86
87
88
89
90
91
92
93
94
95
96
97
98
99
100
101
102
103
104
105
106
107
108
109
110
111
112
113
114
115
116
117
118
119
120
121
122
123
124
125
126
127
128
129
130
131
132
133
134
135
136
137
138
139
140
141
142
143
144
145
146
147
148
149
150
151
152
153
154
155
156
157
158
159
160
161
162
163
164
165
166
167
168
169
170
171
172
173
174
175
176
177
178
179
180
181
182
183
184
185
186
187
188
189
190
191
192
193
194
195
196
197
198
199
200
201
202
203
204
205
Table of contents
=================

Last updated: 20 December 2005

Contents
========

- Introduction
- Devices not appearing
- Finding patch that caused a bug
-- Finding using git-bisect
-- Finding it the old way
- Fixing the bug

Introduction
============

Always try the latest kernel from kernel.org and build from source. If you are
not confident in doing that please report the bug to your distribution vendor
instead of to a kernel developer.

Finding bugs is not always easy. Have a go though. If you can't find it don't
give up. Report as much as you have found to the relevant maintainer. See
MAINTAINERS for who that is for the subsystem you have worked on.

Before you submit a bug report read REPORTING-BUGS.

Devices not appearing
=====================

Often this is caused by udev. Check that first before blaming it on the
kernel.

Finding patch that caused a bug
===============================



Finding using git-bisect
------------------------

Using the provided tools with git makes finding bugs easy provided the bug is
reproducible.

Steps to do it:
- start using git for the kernel source
- read the man page for git-bisect
- have fun

Finding it the old way
----------------------

[Sat Mar  2 10:32:33 PST 1996 KERNEL_BUG-HOWTO lm@sgi.com (Larry McVoy)]

This is how to track down a bug if you know nothing about kernel hacking.  
It's a brute force approach but it works pretty well.

You need:

        . A reproducible bug - it has to happen predictably (sorry)
        . All the kernel tar files from a revision that worked to the
          revision that doesn't

You will then do:

        . Rebuild a revision that you believe works, install, and verify that.
        . Do a binary search over the kernels to figure out which one
          introduced the bug.  I.e., suppose 1.3.28 didn't have the bug, but 
          you know that 1.3.69 does.  Pick a kernel in the middle and build
          that, like 1.3.50.  Build & test; if it works, pick the mid point
          between .50 and .69, else the mid point between .28 and .50.
        . You'll narrow it down to the kernel that introduced the bug.  You
          can probably do better than this but it gets tricky.  

        . Narrow it down to a subdirectory

          - Copy kernel that works into "test".  Let's say that 3.62 works,
            but 3.63 doesn't.  So you diff -r those two kernels and come
            up with a list of directories that changed.  For each of those
            directories:

                Copy the non-working directory next to the working directory
                as "dir.63".  
                One directory at time, try moving the working directory to
                "dir.62" and mv dir.63 dir"time, try 

                        mv dir dir.62
                        mv dir.63 dir
                        find dir -name '*.[oa]' -print | xargs rm -f

                And then rebuild and retest.  Assuming that all related
                changes were contained in the sub directory, this should 
                isolate the change to a directory.  

                Problems: changes in header files may have occurred; I've
                found in my case that they were self explanatory - you may 
                or may not want to give up when that happens.

        . Narrow it down to a file

          - You can apply the same technique to each file in the directory,
            hoping that the changes in that file are self contained.  
            
        . Narrow it down to a routine

          - You can take the old file and the new file and manually create
            a merged file that has

                #ifdef VER62
                routine()
                {
                        ...
                }
                #else
                routine()
                {
                        ...
                }
                #endif

            And then walk through that file, one routine at a time and
            prefix it with

                #define VER62
                /* both routines here */
                #undef VER62

            Then recompile, retest, move the ifdefs until you find the one
            that makes the difference.

Finally, you take all the info that you have, kernel revisions, bug
description, the extent to which you have narrowed it down, and pass 
that off to whomever you believe is the maintainer of that section.
A post to linux.dev.kernel isn't such a bad idea if you've done some
work to narrow it down.

If you get it down to a routine, you'll probably get a fix in 24 hours.

My apologies to Linus and the other kernel hackers for describing this
brute force approach, it's hardly what a kernel hacker would do.  However,
it does work and it lets non-hackers help fix bugs.  And it is cool
because Linux snapshots will let you do this - something that you can't
do with vendor supplied releases.

Fixing the bug
==============

Nobody is going to tell you how to fix bugs. Seriously. You need to work it
out. But below are some hints on how to use the tools.

To debug a kernel, use objdump and look for the hex offset from the crash
output to find the valid line of code/assembler. Without debug symbols, you
will see the assembler code for the routine shown, but if your kernel has
debug symbols the C code will also be available. (Debug symbols can be enabled
in the kernel hacking menu of the menu configuration.) For example:

    objdump -r -S -l --disassemble net/dccp/ipv4.o

NB.: you need to be at the top level of the kernel tree for this to pick up
your C files.

If you don't have access to the code you can also debug on some crash dumps
e.g. crash dump output as shown by Dave Miller.

>    EIP is at ip_queue_xmit+0x14/0x4c0
>     ...
>    Code: 44 24 04 e8 6f 05 00 00 e9 e8 fe ff ff 8d 76 00 8d bc 27 00 00
>    00 00 55 57  56 53 81 ec bc 00 00 00 8b ac 24 d0 00 00 00 8b 5d 08
>    <8b> 83 3c 01 00 00 89 44  24 14 8b 45 28 85 c0 89 44 24 18 0f 85
>
>    Put the bytes into a "foo.s" file like this:
>
>           .text
>           .globl foo
>    foo:
>           .byte  .... /* bytes from Code: part of OOPS dump */
>
>    Compile it with "gcc -c -o foo.o foo.s" then look at the output of
>    "objdump --disassemble foo.o".
>
>    Output:
>
>    ip_queue_xmit:
>        push       %ebp
>        push       %edi
>        push       %esi
>        push       %ebx
>        sub        $0xbc, %esp
>        mov        0xd0(%esp), %ebp        ! %ebp = arg0 (skb)
>        mov        0x8(%ebp), %ebx         ! %ebx = skb->sk
>        mov        0x13c(%ebx), %eax       ! %eax = inet_sk(sk)->opt

Another very useful option of the Kernel Hacking section in menuconfig is
Debug memory allocations. This will help you see whether data has been
initialised and not set before use etc. To see the values that get assigned
with this look at mm/slab.c and search for POISON_INUSE. When using this an
Oops will often show the poisoned data instead of zero which is the default.

Once you have worked out a fix please submit it upstream. After all open
source is about sharing what you do and don't you want to be recognised for
your genius?

Please do read Documentation/SubmittingPatches though to help your code get
accepted.