[lldb-dev] GDB RSPs non-stop mode capability in v5.0

Pavel Labath via lldb-dev lldb-dev at lists.llvm.org
Tue Apr 3 02:55:22 PDT 2018

On Mon, 2 Apr 2018 at 16:28, Greg Clayton via lldb-dev <
lldb-dev at lists.llvm.org> wrote:

> On Apr 2, 2018, at 6:18 AM, Ramana <ramana.venkat83 at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Thu, Mar 29, 2018 at 8:02 PM, Greg Clayton <clayborg at gmail.com> wrote:
>> On Mar 29, 2018, at 2:08 AM, Ramana via lldb-dev <lldb-dev at lists.llvm.org>
>> wrote:
>> Hi,
>> It appears that the lldb-server, as of v5.0, did not implement the GDB
>> RSPs non-stop mode (
>> https://sourceware.org/gdb/onlinedocs/gdb/Remote-Non_002dStop.html#Remote-Non_002dStop).
>> Am I wrong?
>> If the support is actually not there, what needs to be changed to enable
>> the same in lldb-server?
>> As Pavel said, adding support into lldb-server will be easy. Adding
>> support to LLDB will be harder. One downside of enabling this mode will be
>> a performance loss in the GDB remote packet transfer. Why? IIRC this mode
>> requires a read thread where one thread is always reading packets and
>> putting them into a packet buffer. Threads that want to send a packet an
>> get a reply must not send the packet then use a condition variable + mutex
>> to wait for the response. This threading overhead really slows down the
>> packet transfers. Currently we have a mutex on the GDB remote communication
>> where each thread that needs to send a packet will take the mutex and then
>> send the packet and wait for the response on the same thread. I know the
>> performance differences are large on MacOS, not sure how they are on other
>> systems. If you do end up enabling this, please run the "process plugin
>> packet speed-test" command which is available only when debugging with
>> ProcessGDBRemote. It will send an receive various packets of various sizes
>> and report speed statistics back to you.
> So, in non-stop mode, though we can have threads running asynchronously
> (some running, some stopped), the GDB remote packet transfer will be
> synchronous i.e. will get queued?
> In the normal mode there is no queueing which means we don't need a thread
> to read packets and deliver the right response to the right thread. With
> non-stop mode we will need a read thread IIRC. The extra threading overhead
> is costly.
> And this is because the packet responses should be matched appropriately
> as there typically will be a single connection to the remote target and
> hence this queueing cannot be avoided?
> It can't be avoided because you have to be ready to receive a thread stop
> packet at any time, even if no packets are being sent. With the normal
> protocol, you can only receive a stop packet in response to a continue
> packet. So there is never a time where you can't just sent the packet and
> receive the response on the same thread. With non-stop mode, there must be
> a thread for the stop reply packets for any thread that can stop at any
> time. Adding threads means ~10,000 cycles of thread synchronization code
> for each packet.
I think this is one of the least important obstacles in tackling the
non-stop feature, but since we're already discussing it, I just wanted to
point out that there are many ways we can improve the performance here. The
read thread *is* necessary, but only so that we can receieve asynchronous
responses when we're not going any gdb-remote work. If we are already
sending some packets, it is superfluous.

As one optimization, we could make sure that the read thread is disabled
why we are sending a packet. E.g., the SendPacketAndWaitForResponse could
do something like:
SendPacket(msg); // We can do this even while the read thread is doing work
SuspendReadThread(); // Should be cheap as it happens while the remote stub
is processing our packet
GetResponse(); // Happens on the main thread, as before
ResumeReadThread(); // Fast.

We could even take this further and have some sort of a RAII object which
disables the read thread at a higher level for when we want to be sending a
bunch of packets.

Of course, this would need to be implemented with a steady hand and
carefully tested, but the good news here is that the gdb-remote protocol is
one of the better tested aspects of lldb, with many testing approaches

However, I think the place for this discussion is once we have something
which is >90% functional..
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