[llvm-dev] RFC: Adding "minidump" support to obj2yaml

James Henderson via llvm-dev llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org
Wed Mar 6 06:30:11 PST 2019

I'm all for anything that allows people to test without having to use
pre-canned binaries. I'm not particularly familiar with the minidump
format, so I'm not sure what the best place for code relating to it would
be, but I do agree that extending yaml2obj sounds like a good idea. From
what you say, minidumps don't sound like they'd fit the ObjectFile class
well, so I don't see an issue with a new MinidumpFile class, if it will
work well with how yaml2obj is currently written.


On Wed, 6 Mar 2019 at 14:00, Pavel Labath <labath at google.com> wrote:

> Hello all,
> yesterday I sent an email
> <http://lists.llvm.org/pipermail/lldb-dev/2019-March/014811.html> to
> lldb-dev proposing a new tool in lldb for yamlization of minidump files.
> It's been suggested to me that instead of a new tool it may be better to
> add support for that format to obj2yaml instead. Hence, this email. :)
> As I expect most people are unfamiliar with this format, I'm going to
> start off with a brief introduction.
> Minidump is the native "core file" format for windows systems. However,
> it is widely used on other systems too. Probably the most popular tools
> producing this format are the Google "breakpad" and "crashpad" crash
> reporting systems. LLDB has support for this format since 2016, when it
> was added as a GSoC project by Dimitar Vlahovski. It currently in active
> use and development by several lldb contributors.
> The format itself is fairly simple and extensible. The file starts of
> with a header containing some basic info and a collection of "streams".
> Each stream contains various types of information about the state of the
> process at the time when the snapshot (minidump) was taken. This
> includes information such as:
> - list of loaded modules
> - list of threads
> - chunks of process memory
> - etc.
> The problem I'm trying to solve right now is how to write tests for this
> functionality. We currently don't have any tool which could create
> minidump files from human-readable descriptions of them, so our tests
> are relying on checking in opaque binary blobs. This makes reviewing the
> changes hard and also complicates creating test cases (real-world
> minidumps tend to be large). In other words, we are missing a tool like
> yaml2minidump.
> === end of introduction ===
> While we could create an lldb tool for converting between minidump and
> yaml files, there is some appeal in making everything available from a
> single tool (i.e., yaml2obj). The main obstacle to that is that there is
> currently no support for parsing these files in llvm, and apart from
> yaml2obj, it's not clear to me whether any other llvm tool/project would
> benefit from this functionality being available in the main llvm
> project. For example tools, like llvm-readelf have support for elf core
> files, but this is mostly a byproduct of the fact that elf core files
> are similar to elf executables. However, there is no "executable" form
> of minidumps.
> So I am asking this question: Do you think having minidump parsing code
> in llvm is a good idea?
> To give you an idea of what this involves, the current minidump parser
> in lldb is about 2000 LOC. It's already fairly independent of the rest
> of lldb, though it would need to be cleaned up a bit to be up to llvm
> standards. My expectation is that the yaml conversion code would add
> another 1-2 kLOC.
> The natural place for this in llvm would seem to be the Object library,
> so I'd propose for this code to be placed there. The thing I'm not sure
> about is whether it makes sense to integrate this into the existing
> ObjectFile hierarchy. While the minidump "streams" could be represented
> as sections, I'm not sure we'd be doing anyone a favour by doing that.
> The ObjectFile sections assume they are referring to sections in regular
> object files, which have things like relocations, symbol lists, etc., and
> minidump streams have none of those. Therefore I'm leaning towards the
> option of just implementing this as a standalone MinidumpFile class.
> This would be kind of similar to the existing ELFFile class, only there
> wouldn't
> be an ELFObjectFile sitting on top of that.
> Please let me know what do you think,
> pavel
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