[cfe-dev] r222220 causes real debug-info bloat

Robinson, Paul Paul_Robinson at playstation.sony.com
Mon May 4 09:51:10 PDT 2015

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Frédéric Riss [mailto:friss at apple.com]
> Sent: Friday, May 01, 2015 6:34 PM
> To: Robinson, Paul
> Cc: cfe-dev at cs.uiuc.edu Developers (cfe-dev at cs.uiuc.edu)
> Subject: Re: r222220 causes real debug-info bloat
> Hi!
> > On May 1, 2015, at 5:29 PM, Robinson, Paul
> <Paul_Robinson at playstation.sony.com> wrote:
> >
> > We were doing some size analysis and noticed some ridiculous numbers
> > related to debug-info size.  Investigation showed that essentially all
> > of the bloat came from DW_TAG_imported_declaration pointing to
> > DW_TAG_subprogram and the associated DW_TAG_formal_parameter DIEs.
> > We tracked this to r222220, which basically caused every 'using' decl
> > of a function or variable to have a forward declaration emitted to the
> > DWARF, whether or not that 'using' decl itself was used in the CU.
> >
> > #include <stdlib.h>
> > using ::abort
> >
> > In Clang 3.5, this produces a pretty minimal .debug_info section (just
> > the DW_TAG_compile_unit).
> > In Clang 3.6, we see an additional DW_TAG_subprogram for abort() and
> then
> > a DW_TAG_imported_declaration pointing to that declaration.
> >
> > #include <cstdlib>
> >
> > on Linux, Clang 3.5 wrote a .debug_info of 185 bytes, 3.6 was 1458.
> >
> > Multiply this by more headers and again by hundreds to thousands
> > of modules and pretty soon you're talking multiple megabytes.
> > Getting away from the benchmarks, a real game saw .debug_info increase
> > by 13% (6 MB).
> >
> > r222220 basically causes a 'using' declaration of a function or global
> > variable to conjure up a forward declaration, if we haven't already
> > seen a declaration or definition.  The commentary talks about how this
> > will be RAUW'd later on.  But I'm not sure what motivated this in the
> > first place, and it clearly can have a huge adverse effect.
> The whole story is that I was working on getting debug info emitted
> for function argument default values (which I haven’t gotten back to
> yet BTW), and that my implementation didn’t work if the default value
> was a call to a forward declared function. Our decl tracking didn’t
> handle forward declarations at all, and David pointed out that this
> was why we were also missing some DW_TAG_imported_declaration. I
> then implemented support for forward declarations and tested it using
> the the only current user that cared about forward decls, that is the
> imported_declaration stuff.
> > I don't mind having a DW_TAG_imported_declaration for something that
> > actually gets used in the CU, but a 'using' declaration all by itself
> > should not count as "used" for purposes of emitting debug info.
> It’s not that the using clause counts as a ‘use’, it’s just a
> question of source fidelity.

Source fidelity is not about emitting every declaration you see.
It's about, *if* you're going emit something, do it in a way that is
faithful to the source-as-written.

> Your above example isn’t really
> compelling. By changing it a little bit to:
> #include <stdlib.h>
> namespace A {
> using ::abort;
> }
> The goal of the imported_declaration information is to inform
> the debugger that in this CU, A::abort is the same thing as
> ::abort. It’s just a matter of describing aliased name to
> the debugger so that it can correctly evaluate source
> expressions.

Consider this:

void abort();
namespace A {
  using ::abort();
  void abort();

In the not-USING case, Clang emits nothing but the CU DIE, because
neither abort() declaration is used.
In the USING case, we see the imported_declaration and the associated
subprogram.  In both cases, the set of declared names is the same, and
there are no *actual* uses of either name.
Therefore, I argue, this is not about source fidelity but about
declining to produce declarations not useful to the consumer.

> > Can somebody describe how these extra forward declarations fit into
> > the Grand Scheme of Things in a beneficial way, and can we do something
> > about unused 'using' declarations?
> I totally get your point about the size, and according to past
> conversations, I gather that the use described above isn’t maybe
> relevant to your debugger (which maybe points to something that
> can be tuned depending on the target debugger? I’m sorry, but I
> just came back from a long leave and I’m so much behind on list
> reading that I have no idea of the status of that idea).
> IMO, it has nothing to do with the fact that the function/variable
> is used or not. The using directives create new names and the only
> way for the debugger(s) to understand these names is to have them
> described in the debug info.

By that argument you should emit every name you see in every header,
whether it is used or not.  That's not what we do, because it's not
useful to anyone and unnecessarily bloats the debug info.  The case of
used-only-by-'using' is no different because there's no *actual* use.

I found it instructive to add this to my not-USING example:

void foo() { ::abort(); A::abort(); }

which naively I would expect to induce subprogram DIEs for abort() and
A::abort(), but in fact it doesn't, even with -fstandalone-debug.  That
seems sub-optimal too.  But, it just further illustrates the discrepancy
between the 'using' declarations and non-'using' declarations.

Also that there's a deeper problem here, which might or might not be
what David Blaikie was getting at.

The missing DIEs in the non-USING case, along with memories of trying
to do something else with used/non-used declarations some while ago,
make me think that even though abort() and A::abort() are (probably)
being flagged, debug-info generation isn't going back through those
non-defining declarations to see which ones ought to be emitted after

It looks like CGDebugInfo::finalize() does a post-pass for types, to
some extent; maybe that needs to be done for other decls as well?

> > Given how the patch works, it looks we can just short-circuit the
> > creation of these forward declarations with no harm done, but I have to
> > wonder whether we're shooting ourselves in the foot in some situation
> > that isn't immediately obvious.
> If the git commit message is still accurate regarding the use of that
> function, then you’ll just go back to the previous state which you
> liked better. If the function grows new callers, you might lose
> more stuff, but IIUC it should mostly be stuff that you don’t care
> about anyway.
> Fred
> > Thanks,
> > --paulr
> >

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