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While browsing LWN archives I found a thoughtful article introducing DTrace, written by filesystems developer Valerie Henson –
See also her book reviews in the Kernel Hackers Bookshelf series, such as –
While we’re on the topic of filesystems, I’d recommend Practical File System Design with the Be File System [pdf download ] by Dominic Giampaolo. As well as being totally free to download, this book is a delight to read with practical examples explaining all the ideas. Id read it cover to cover before diving into the internals of any of the current fs incarnations – EXT3/4, XFS, ZFS or the in-progress btrfs.
Back to DTrace – I believe Linux _needs_ DTrace. Purely on stylistic grounds, in the same way that any respectable unix needs ls, grep or strace.
DTrace has great style, in the best un*x tradition. If its unlikely that a _port_ of DTrace will get into the linux kernel due to legal reasons, then the only option is to embrace the ideas of DTrace, and implement something comparable [perhaps D language compatible]. I’ve read Bryan Cantrils heartfelt exhortations that a DTrace clone would either be a straight port or a feature-poor dead duck in the water [my paraphrase]… but you could say that about any great piece of unix code… yet the successful ones embrace the beauty, utility and ethos of the original and faithfully live up to it. I hope when this happens the authors of the original DTrace will give the linux clone their blessing, as a homage to their effort.