What packages SystemTap requires on Ubuntu 8.04 (and others)

August 26, 2009

For my own future reference and because the SystemTap wiki is not the clearest thing on this, here's what packages are required to be able to use SystemTap on various distributions.

We use the -server kernels on our Ubuntu 8.04 machines, so I needed to do:

apt-get install systemtap linux-image-debug-server linux-headers-server
ln -s /boot/vmlinux-debug-$(uname -r) /lib/modules/$(uname -r)/vmlinux

In the Ubuntu/Debian way, the linux- packages are generic ones that will pull in the necessary kernel version specific package. I believe that this adds about 60 MBytes of disk space usage.

(Mostly researched from here, which believes that you also need additional bits that I didn't.)

The Red Hat Enterprise 5 directions from the SystemTap wiki are accurate. Note that the necessary packages added up to over 600 MBytes (of installed space) on my x86_64 test system.

Although I haven't tested them, I believe that the Fedora directions are basically accurate. Current versions of Fedora don't need you to explicitly install the kernel-devel RPM, as the systemtap RPM already depends on it. (It does not on RHEL for some reason.)

I find it both unfortunate and a sign of a somewhat broken package system that both Ubuntu and Fedora/RHEL need extra steps to make SystemTap work; in a sensible world, simply installing SystemTap would install all of its dependencies. I understand why both Ubuntu and Fedora/RHEL are broken, I just don't think that they should be.

(Ubuntu is broken mostly because it has no fixed package name that means 'the current kernel, whatever that is', which I think is ultimately because the Debian package format lacks multi-arch support, although I haven't looked deeply into this. Fedora and RHEL are broken because they put the necessary kernel debugging packages into non-default repositories, possibly so that users aren't confused by a profusion of -debuginfo RPMs in various listings of available packages. Since the kernel debuginfo RPMs are huge, it would be nice to have smaller ones in the main repository that just had the data that SystemTap needs.)

Written on 26 August 2009.
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Last modified: Wed Aug 26 23:51:59 2009
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