Getting started with Systemtap (Part 1)

I decided to write this up as a series of articles. I am really interested in the psychology of an individual becoming interested, using and hopefully participating in an open-source project.  So I decided to journal my experiences in a new project. I always like to dabble in side-projects as a hobby to my main job.  And Systemtap is so close to what I do,  so it became a natural choice.

So here is the first short journal of a newbie’s journey of getting involved with Systemtap.  I’ll keep the dispatches short. A dabbler’s use case, if you will. I’ve always wished that someone would do this for Frysk;  hackers – myself included – can sometimes lose the ground-level  perspective. I constantly worry that our projects are too technical, too complex and oblique to attract new developers. So as a new user of Systemtap, I thought, hey,  time to do what I ask for.

I’ll reproduce a lot of the instructions from the website with some small tweaks. The website for getting started is here:

http://sourceware.org/systemtap/getinvolved.html

Installing Systemtap from yum on Fedora 9

To install Systemtap from yum on Fedora, as a superuser (or sudo) do:

yum install systemtap kernel-devel

We’ll also need to install the kernel debuginfo packages. It is an important point to stress that  as your kernel updates, you also need to keep the debuginfo packages up to date as well. This caught me a few times, producing unreliable/inaccurate results when a mistmatch occured. To install the debuginfo:

 yum --enablerepo=updates-debuginfo install kernel-debuginfo

This is different than noted on the site. The yum command on the Getting Started Guide also enables my rawhide repo, and it installed the rawhide kernel debuginfo.  Your experience may vary.

And that is it. This will install the last release. And that’s ok. But … if I’m going to participate, I prefer to be at the leading edge. So I’ll be brave, and go straight to the source. Will need git for this, so install that  first:

yum install git

To get the source type this into a shell where you wish to fetch the Systemtap repo.

git clone git://sources.redhat.com/git/systemtap.git

Tomorrow I’ll write about building systemtap and running the examples

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