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Re: [Qemu-devel] [RFC] reverse execution.

From: KONRAD Frédéric
Subject: Re: [Qemu-devel] [RFC] reverse execution.
Date: Fri, 17 May 2013 19:23:51 +0200
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:17.0) Gecko/20130311 Thunderbird/17.0.4

On 09/05/2013 19:54, Blue Swirl wrote:
On Tue, May 7, 2013 at 6:27 PM, KONRAD Frédéric
<address@hidden> wrote:

We are trying to find a way to do reverse execution happen with QEMU.

Actually, it is possible to debug the guest through the gdbstub, we want to
make the reverse execution possible with GDB as well.

How we are trying to make that working (basically without optimisation):

-QEMU takes regular snapshot of the VM:
    that can be done with the save vm code without optimisation first.

-When the VM is stopped and GDB requests a reverse-step:
    load the last snapshot and replay to one instruction before the current

There are one issue with that for now (for a basic running reverse
     -How to stop one instruction before the actual PC.
Add a special translation mode for reverse execution where the next PC
is checked after each instruction. Alternatively, you could make
temporary snapshots during this mode (first 1s intervals, then 0.1s
etc) which could be used to find the location. I think this way was
discussed briefly earlier in the list, please check the archives.

Hi, thanks for your answer!

I didn't find the discussion in the archive.. Do you have a clue? (Title or sender?)

For now we tried some other things which are not working very well,

It appeared that the replay is not deterministic even with icount:
- the whole icount mechanism is not saved with save_vm (which can be achieved by moving qemu_icount to TimerState according to Paolo) - replaying two times the same thing and stopping at a specific breakpoint show two differents vmclock, so replaying the
        same amount of time don't work, and we abandoned this idea.

We tried to count the amount of time tcg_qemu_tb_exec exited with having executed some TB and we stopped one before for the replay.
This is nearly working but:
- tcg_qemu_tb_exec exits a little more time during the first replay, seems the TB linked list is split dynamically? - this works with the next replay (reverse-stepi) but we can't stop at the exact PC instruction with this method.

So we will try to add an instruction counter in the CPUState and increments it after each instruction in the translation code,
which I think is approximately what you suggest.
Then when replaying the code from the snapshot, we will check the amount of executed instruction and stop one instruction before. Maybe we can re-use icount mechanism but this might be a lot more complicated as it is a de-counter?

Can this be working?

Maybe we will need to trace the PC from the snapshot to the exact location? Or use both mechanism to get the right location?


We though that using "-icount" and stop the guest a little time before the
actual position would give us the right behavior (We use a qemu_timer with
vm_clock to stop the vm at the good time), but it seems that it is not
deterministic, and not reproducable.

Is that normal?

We don't make any input during the replay, and we though that it can be
by some timer interruption but "-icount" is using a virtual timer as I

We have two other ideas:

     -Using TCI and count each instruction executed by the processor, then
         one instruction before the actual position. This seems slower.

     -Using single-step to count each instruction, then stop one instruction
         before the actual position.

Would that be better?

For now we can restore the VM from the last snapshot, when we do a
but we can't stop at the exact position.


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