MIPS tool finds code hot spots

Read the latest news from the 2008 Embedded Systems Conference, Silicon Valley


MIPS Technologies introduced what it claims is the first hot spot analyser (HSA) for Linux Kernel profiling today at the Embedded System Conference in Silicon Valley.

“As with most issues in software debug, the problem is not fixing the bug but finding it,” said MIPS v-p Rick Leatherman. “Because the stock Linux kernel is very complex and configurable, knowing exactly how it interacts with various applications is a challenge.”

MIPS HSA is a utility for its family of System Navigator EJTAG probes which the firm claims runs with no time overhead.

It does not post-process trace buffers, use intrusive instrumentation, or interrupts,” claimed MIPS: “The HSA builds on the zero overhead program counter sampling feature built into the MIPS 24K, 34K and 74K core families. The EJTAG probe can sample the processor PC register at extremely high data rates without impacting the real-time operation of the processor.”

In addition to profiling the Linux kernel, the HSA also supports profiling of loadable modules. “Most device drivers are built as loadable modules,” said the firm, “and the associated code can be highly complex when the driver is controlling a sophisticated peripheral.”

It can also profile any code running in the kernel space. “This includes ‘bare iron’ programs – those without a formal real-time operating system (RTOS) – or classic RTOS-based environments.”

Hot Spot Analyzer is available now, delivered as an Eclipse plug-in, and is also available with the Navigator IDE (integrated development environment).

(Picture “San Jose McEnery Convention Center” – cathleenemily, under Creative Commons Attribution Licence)

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