frame unwinding patches

Ulf Hermann
Tue Apr 11 10:16:00 GMT 2017

> I do agree with Jan that frame pointer unwinding is notoriously
> untrustworthy. Even with some sanity checks it is hard to know whether
> you are doing a correct unwind. gdb gets away with it through pretty
> advanced frame sniffers, which take a lot of low-level compiler
> generation knowledge to get correct (and even then...). You only restore
> the pc, stack and frame pointer registers (maybe incorrectly). So
> afterwards, even if you got valid CFI data you might be stuck.

Yes, especially with mixed stack traces, where part of the stack has CFI and part of it doesn't, we quickly run into guesswork. I've regenerated the binaries as suggested, with the result being that raise() from libc actually has CFI, but doesn't set a frame pointer. So, the frame pointer unwinder can find raise() in the link register, but it sets up the FP register with the wrong value. Then raise() is unwound using CFI, which mixes up the registers some more. At that point we're lost. I don't see an easy way out of this.

I will keep a version of the frame unwinding for perfparser as it's still better than not unwinding at all, but I do understand that it's not really suitable for mainline elfutils.


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