linux/KernelCmdlineProcessing written at 13:44:54; Add Comment
How the Linux kernel command line is processed (more or less)
Because I just had to research this (right down to reading kernel source), here is how the Linux kernel handles its command line arguments.
(The kernel command line is set in the bootloader in various ways. Grub lets you edit it on the fly, assuming that you can interrupt grub in time before it autoboots your kernel.)
First, the kernel goes through all kernel options and handles them. In theory all of the kernel options are documented in Documentation/kernel-parameters.txt in the kernel source, but beware: on a modern system that boots using an initial ramfs, a number of these options are really handled by the initial boot process instead of the kernel.
For anything that is not a kernel option and does not have a '.' in
its name (these are assumed to be unhandled module parameters), one
of two things happen. If it is of the form 'a=b' or (I believe) 'a=',
it's placed in the environment that will be passed to the initial
user-level process (generally either
Generally the initial user-level process then immediately reads and
(I say 'pseudo-parses' because
Some but not all distributions make use of the initial environment
variables; for example, Fedora sets
Sidebar: what some distributions do with init command line arguments
All of these are for when you have an initial ramfs with its own
These days initial ramdisk images are gzip'd CPIO archives, so they can be extracted with:
mkdir /tmp/unpack cd /tmp/unpack zcat /boot/init<whatever>.img | cpio -id
solaris/DTraceProblemEffects written at 00:00:52; Add Comment
The effects of DTrace's problems
There are two answers to this.
The first answer is that DTrace is two things at once; it is both a way of diagnosing problems on Solaris and a potential way of attracting people to Solaris (and all its variants), to continue to use it, and to use it for more things. Let us focus on the latter thing for the moment. When and where DTrace is hard to use it becomes less attractive; at the limit, if you feel that you can't really use DTrace for anything it ceases to become an advantage for Solaris at all. If you want Solaris to succeed as an OS, this should matter.
(I think that the theoretical advantages of having DTrace may have been oversold in general. As a pragmatic matter I think that most people don't expect to have system problems (they expect the system to just work), so I suspect that they drastically discount the availability of good diagnosis tools because they expect to not need any. People who know that they are running at the ragged edge of performance will have a different opinion, but many people are not in this situation.)
The second answer, put simply, is yes; sysadmins are leaving system problems unsolved because DTrace is too hard to use. Not the big crippling problems, of course, because those are the problems you have no choice about solving. But smaller problems, the little glitches that happen sometimes or the relatively low impact performance degradations? Yes, some of them are going unsolved. Also going unsolved are the problems that people don't even know they have because they've never looked, the ones where people have no idea that something is actually wrong and their system could work better with some changes. DTrace being hard(er) to use is especially damaging to the latter because of course if you don't think you have a problem, the cost to benefit ratio of looking into your system appears infinite.
(I've argued that this is not actually the case, but I think it's at least a very hard thing to sell. Especially to overworked sysadmins with other issues to tackle when you are asking them to invest a significant chunk of time.)
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