[lldb-dev] [RFC] LLDB Reproducers

Jim Ingham via lldb-dev lldb-dev at lists.llvm.org
Wed Sep 19 11:31:04 PDT 2018

Yes, I think that would be pretty cool.  It is along the same lines we've been talking about with using "ProcessMock", "ThreadMock" etc. plugins.  However, I think you need both.  For instance if we bobble a gdb-remote packet, you will see that in a bad state of one of these higher level state descriptions, but without the actual packet traffic you wouldn't have that much help figuring out what actually went wrong.  OTOH, things like packet level recording will likely be much less stable than capturing state at a higher level.


> On Sep 19, 2018, at 11:10 AM, Zachary Turner via lldb-dev <lldb-dev at lists.llvm.org> wrote:
> By the way, several weeks / months ago I had an idea for exposing a debugger object model.  That would be one very powerful way to create reproducers, but it would be a large effort.  The idea is that if every important part of your debugger is represented by some component in a debugger object model, and all interactions (including internal interactions) go through the object model, then you can record every state change to the object model and replay it.
> On Wed, Sep 19, 2018 at 10:59 AM Zachary Turner <zturner at google.com> wrote:
> I assume that reproducing race conditions is out of scope?
> Also, will it be possible to incorporate these reproducers into the test suite somehow?  It would be nice if we could create a tar file similar to a linkrepro, check in the tar file, and then have a test where you don't have to write any python code, any Makefile, any source code, or any anything for that matter.  It just enumerates all of these repro tar files in a certain location and runs that test.
> On Wed, Sep 19, 2018 at 10:48 AM Leonard Mosescu via lldb-dev <lldb-dev at lists.llvm.org> wrote:
> Great, thanks. This means that the lldb-server issues are not in scope for this feature, right?
> On Wed, Sep 19, 2018 at 10:09 AM, Jonas Devlieghere <jdevlieghere at apple.com> wrote:
>> On Sep 19, 2018, at 6:49 PM, Leonard Mosescu <mosescu at google.com> wrote:
>> Sounds like a fantastic idea. 
>> How would this work when the behavior of the debugee process is non-deterministic?
> All the communication between the debugger and the inferior goes through the
> GDB remote protocol. Because we capture and replay this, we can reproduce
> without running the executable, which is particularly convenient when you were
> originally debugging something on a different device for example. 
>> On Wed, Sep 19, 2018 at 6:50 AM, Jonas Devlieghere via lldb-dev <lldb-dev at lists.llvm.org> wrote:
>> Hi everyone,
>> We all know how hard it can be to reproduce an issue or crash in LLDB. There
>> are a lot of moving parts and subtle differences can easily add up. We want to
>> make this easier by generating reproducers in LLDB, similar to what clang does
>> today.
>> The core idea is as follows: during normal operation we capture whatever
>> information is needed to recreate the current state of the debugger. When
>> something goes wrong, this becomes available to the user. Someone else should
>> then be able to reproduce the same issue with only this data, for example on a
>> different machine.
>> It's important to note that we want to replay the debug session from the
>> reproducer, rather than just recreating the current state. This ensures that we
>> have access to all the events leading up to the problem, which are usually far
>> more important than the error state itself.
>> # High Level Design
>> Concretely we want to extend LLDB in two ways:
>> 1.  We need to add infrastructure to _generate_ the data necessary for
>>     reproducing.
>> 2.  We need to add infrastructure to _use_ the data in the reproducer to replay
>>     the debugging session.
>> Different parts of LLDB will have different definitions of what data they need
>> to reproduce their path to the issue. For example, capturing the commands
>> executed by the user is very different from tracking the dSYM bundles on disk.
>> Therefore, we propose to have each component deal with its needs in a localized
>> way. This has the advantage that the functionality can be developed and tested
>> independently.
>> ## Providers
>> We'll call a combination of (1) and (2) for a given component a `Provider`. For
>> example, we'd have an provider for user commands and a provider for dSYM files.
>> A provider will know how to keep track of its information, how to serialize it
>> as part of the reproducer as well as how to deserialize it again and use it to
>> recreate the state of the debugger.
>> With one exception, the lifetime of the provider coincides with that of the
>> `SBDebugger`, because that is the scope of what we consider here to be a single
>> debug session. The exception would be the provider for the global module cache,
>> because it is shared between multiple debuggers. Although it would be
>> conceptually straightforward to add a provider for the shared module cache,
>> this significantly increases the complexity of the reproducer framework because
>> of its implication on the lifetime and everything related to that.
>> For now we will ignore this problem which means we will not replay the
>> construction of the shared module cache but rather build it up during
>> replaying, as if the current debug session was the first and only one using it.
>> The impact of doing so is significant, as no issue caused by the shared module
>> cache will be reproducible, but does not limit reproducing any issue unrelated
>> to it.
>> ## Reproducer Framework
>> To coordinate between the data from different components, we'll need to
>> introduce a global reproducer infrastructure. We have a component responsible
>> for reproducer generation (the `Generator`) and for using the reproducer (the
>> `Loader`). They are essentially two ways of looking at the same unit of
>> repayable work.
>> The Generator keeps track of its providers and whether or not we need to
>> generate a reproducer. When a problem occurs, LLDB will request the Generator
>> to generate a reproducer. When LLDB finishes successfully, the Generator cleans
>> up anything it might have created during the session. Additionally, the
>> Generator populates an index, which is part of the reproducer, and used by the
>> Loader to discover what information is available.
>> When a reproducer is passed to LLDB, we want to use its data to replay the
>> debug session. This is coordinated by the Loader. Through the index created by
>> the Generator, different components know what data (Providers) are available,
>> and how to use them.
>> It's important to note that in order to create a complete reproducer, we will
>> require data from our dependencies (llvm, clang, swift) as well. This means
>> that either (a) the infrastructure needs to be accessible from our dependencies
>> or (b) that an API is provided that allows us to query this. We plan to address
>> this issue when it arises for the respective Generator.
>> # Components
>> We have identified a list of minimal components needed to make reproducing
>> possible. We've divided those into two groups: explicit and implicit inputs.
>> Explicit inputs are inputs from the user to the debugger.
>> -   Command line arguments
>> -   Settings
>> -   User commands
>> -   Scripting Bridge API
>> In addition to the components listed above, LLDB has a bunch of inputs that are
>> not passed explicitly. It's often these that make reproducing an issue complex.
>> -   GDB Remote Packets
>> -   Files containing debug information (object files, dSYM bundles)
>> -   Clang headers
>> -   Swift modules
>> Every component would have its own provider and is free to implement it as it
>> sees fit. For example, as we expect to have a large number of GDB remote
>> packets, the provider might choose to write these to disk as they come in,
>> while the settings can easily be kept in memory until it is decided that we
>> need to generate a reproducer.
>> # Concerns, Implications & Risks
>> ## Performance Impact
>> As the reproducer functionality will have to be always-on, we have to consider
>> performance implications. As mentioned earlier, the provider gives the freedom
>> to be implemented in such a way that works best for its respective component.
>> We'll have to measure to know how big the impact is.
>> ## Privacy
>> The reproducer might contain sensitive user information. We should make it
>> clear to the user what kind of data is contained in the reproducer. Initially
>> we will focus on the LLDB developer community and the people already filing
>> bugs.
>> ## Versions
>> Because the reproducer works by replaying a debug session, the versions of the
>> debugger generating an replaying the session will have to match. Not only is
>> this important for the serialization format, but more importantly a different
>> LLDB might ask different questions in a different order.
>> # Implementation
>> I've put up a patch (<https://reviews.llvm.org/D50254>) which contains a minimal
>> implementation of the reproducer framework as well as the GDB remote provider.
>> It records the GDB packets and writes them to a YAML file (we can switch to a
>> more performant encoding down the road). When invoking the LLDB driver and
>> passing the reproducer directory to `--reproducer`, this file is read and a
>> dummy server replies with the next packet from this file, without talking to
>> the executable.
>> It's still pretty rudimentary and only works if you enter the exact same
>> commands (so the server receives the exact same requests form the client).
>> The next steps are (in broad strokes):
>> 1.  Capturing the debugged binary.
>> 2.  Record and replay user commands and SB-API calls.
>> 3.  Recording the configuration of the debugger.
>> 4.  Capturing other files used by LLDB.
>> Please let me know what you think!
>> Thanks,
>> Jonas 
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