[Letux-kernel] [PATCH] Kernel debugging: omap: print warning if CONFIG_DEBUG_LL is enabled

Russell King - ARM Linux linux at armlinux.org.uk
Thu Nov 9 18:35:33 CET 2017

Hi Nikkylos,

On Thu, Nov 09, 2017 at 06:16:29PM +0100, H. Nikolaus Schaller wrote:
> Hi Russel,
> > Am 09.11.2017 um 17:58 schrieb Russell King - ARM Linux <linux at armlinux.org.uk>:
> > 
> > On Thu, Nov 09, 2017 at 06:44:49AM +0100, H. Nikolaus Schaller wrote:
> >> Hi Russel,
> > 
> > Nikolus,
> > 
> >>> Am 08.11.2017 um 23:38 schrieb Russell King - ARM Linux <linux at armlinux.org.uk>:
> >>> 
> >>> On Wed, Nov 08, 2017 at 10:36:04PM +0000, Russell King - ARM Linux wrote:
> >>>> We don't need a compiler warning there, we probably need better help
> >>>> text against DEBUG_LL and against EARLY_PRINTK.
> >>> 
> >>> Actually, this is already clearly stated against DEBUG_LL:
> >>> 
> >>>         Note that selecting this option will limit the kernel to a single
> >>>         UART definition, as specified below. Attempting to boot the kernel
> >>>         image on a different platform *will not work*, so this option should
> >>>         not be enabled for kernels that are intended to be portable.
> >>> 
> >>> and since EARLY_PRINTK depends on DEBUG_LL... I guess people don't
> >>> read help texts anymore.
> >> 
> >> Yes, we read, but we face a situation where it doesn't help that it is a
> >> well known problem *for you* or anyone else and that it is described in
> >> the help.
> > 
> > Personally, I'd like early_printk not to be re-using this, but others
> > disagree.  It's all about knowledge and compromise.
> Sure, we have to make a lot of compromises...
> > 
> > What we don't want is more warnings in the kernel - it's already
> > hard enough for people to spot the "bad" warnings that they need to
> > fix to have a working system (such as wrong printf specifiers) that
> > (a) they're not going to spot this #warning and (b) it's just going
> > to be more noise for those who do try to spot the warnings.
> > 
> >> Do you expect anybody to remember after 3 years of *not* changing DEBUG_LL
> >> what was written in a help message? Or to understand that DEBUG_LL has
> >> anything to do with the mysteriously appearing boot problem? Which can't
> >> easily be debugged since there are no messages despite playing with
> > 
> > Do you expect people to read the build log of their kernel and spot
> > the additional warning?
> I am doing it and I rarely see warnings by the compiler. Maybe sometimes
> during the -rc phase but not in stable.

The warnings you see are compiler specific, and I hardly ever see builds
that are fully clean.

> >  You might be on the ball enough to do that,
> > but not everyone does, or is.  Not everyone logs the output of the
> > kernel build so they can review it later.  I suspect that many just
> > set the build going in a terminal, walk away and come back sometime
> > later when they think it's done.
> In this case they would have a good trigger and reason to look into the
> build log: the kernel they just built isn't booting and doesn't tell
> anything. Then I guess for many of us the next logical step would be to
> look trough the build log (but not through a defconfig that wasn't touched
> for ages).
> Well, I have to admit that if someone doesn't try a clean build, it
> will not see it again if the initial log wasn't captured somewhere...
> So it should more be an #error than a #warning. Then people must notice.
> But I don't know if there are situations where this would be too strict.

There are - it's perfectly valid to have your kernel, but with DEBUG_LL
enabled and configured correctly so it outputs to a real UART on your
platform.  As I've explained already, DEBUG_LL exists as a way of last
resort to solve the "it doesn't boot" problem, because it gives a
way for the early assembler to be instrumented and debugged before
anything else is up, through the kernel boot sequence and into the C

That is its primary purpose.  Adding a #error or #warning is going to
turn people who most need the infrastructure to solve the "it silently
doesn't boot" away.

Unfortunately, DEBUG_LL is one of those things that is platform specific,
it has to be to guarantee output, so situations such as missing DT can
still produce output.  Unfortunately, it got used for early_printk
because it was easier to add early_printk rather than telling people
to add a printascii() call in kernel/printk/printk.c (which is what I
used to tell people, and what I _still_ do today.)

DEBUG_LL has always been intended for this purpose, and it's under the
"debugging" menus, because it's really not meant to be enabled for
production.  If you have folk who have enabled DEBUG_LL in your
configurations, and then left it enabled beyond this level of debugging,
I have to question the competence of that.

DEBUG_LL may be an extreme example of a config option that can land
your kernel in a non-bootable situation, but there are plenty of other
configuration options that will severely degrade the performance of
your kernel.  Should we go around adding #warning's for those as well?

I know that the kernel configuration is hard - and it's hard because
it's large, but it is worth reviewing the options that you have in
your config from time to time, especially the debug options, and
question whether the debug options that are enabled are appropriate
for the phase of development.

So, if you're doing new development, you should have all the options
that add extra checks enabled (such as lockdep, hang checks, etc).
If you're moving towards the end of the development phase, and you
care about performance, then you need to start turning these options
off, because many of them will slow the kernel down.

The configuration of debug options is not something that should be

I suspect that you probably have a lot of debug options enabled in your
kernel that affect it's performance... maybe you're due to review them
as a whole?

RMK's Patch system: http://www.armlinux.org.uk/developer/patches/
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