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 Post subject: Implementation of assert() in kernel space
PostPosted: Sat Jan 01, 2005 6:44 pm 
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I want to add some debugging & error-handling facilities to my kernel, and I'm curious about how other people have tackled assert().

For example, let's say some code in a low-level part of the kernel (like the kernel-mode C run-time library) detects a logic error in a debug build and wants to report it via assert(). Here are the choices as I see them (assuming the assertion failed):
  • 1. assert() prints out the file and line number, then panics.
  • 2. assert() tries to capture the current register contents and a kernel stack dump itself, then prints out the file and line number, then panics.
  • 3. assert() prints out the file and line number, then triggers one of the kernel's exception handlers (by executing int 3 maybe), which in turn dumps the machine state that it has already collected, and then panics.

Option 1 is easy to do, but doesn't include machine state in the output. Option 2 seems hard to do (at least to me... maybe I'm missing something?). Option 3 leverages the existing code I have for capturing the context of the current task, but are there any risks associated with this approach?

As an aside, how important is machine state for debugging anyway? My feeling is that it's less important for assert(), since you have file & line numbers available, but it's important for all other cases... If I could probably do without it, I may just go for option 1.
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 Post subject: Re:Implementation of assert() in kernel space
PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2005 6:17 am 
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register state may help you figuring out the value of some variable. Probably the result of the assert() computation makes more sense, though.

Eg:
Code:
kassert(ptr->next==p2->next,4,ptr,p2,ptr->next,p2->next);

that would output
"assertion failed at file.c:line X, 8004260, 8004280, 0, 8004280"

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 Post subject: Re:Implementation of assert() in kernel space
PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2005 12:40 pm 
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That makes sense, and should be easy to do...

I had another thought about making assert trigger a breakpoint exception -- would it be the right way to allow future integration with a remote kernel debugger?

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 Post subject: Re:Implementation of assert() in kernel space
PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 2005 12:57 am 
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I did a bit of research... In case anyone is interested, Linux takes the approach I mentioned in its BUG() macro (which is called from at least one version of assert()). It uses the reserved opcode ud2 to defer panicking to the central trap-dispatching mechanism.

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 Post subject: Re:Implementation of assert() in kernel space
PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2005 10:36 am 
i did a VERY basic assert():
Code:
#define assert(check, condition) if (check != condition) kSystem_Halt();


I'll put the full thing once it is tested ;P


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 Post subject: Re:Implementation of assert() in kernel space
PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2005 2:52 pm 
your assert has a problem (even as simple as it is...) in some cases it can break scoping.. like this:

Code:
   if (foo)
      assert( yabba, dabba );
   else
      something_else( );


this will expand to..

Code:
   if (foo)
      if(yabba != dabba)
         kSystem_Halt;;
      else
         something_else( );


and thus you have a dangling else problem...

to fix this is simple define your assert liek this:

Code:
#define assert(check, condition) do { if(check != condition) kSystem_Halt(); } while(0)


also.... another issue

you shoudl ALWAYS put params of a macro in parethesis to make sure it expands properly for example..suppose i do:

Code:
assert(a & 3, 0);


this will expand to:

Code:
if(a & 3 != 0) kSystem_Halt();


well != has higher priority than & so this acts like this...

Code:
if(a & (3 != 0)) kSystem_Halt();


no bueno...

best is like this:

Code:
#define assert(check, condition) do { if((check) != (condition)) kSystem_Halt(); } while(0)


if EVEN better :) is like this..

Code:
#define assert(check) do { if(!(check)) kSystem_Halt(); } while(0)


this way you can make any comparison you want (not just != ....)

good luck :)

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 Post subject: Re:Implementation of assert() in kernel space
PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2005 3:46 pm 
oh ya? I'll study that. Thanks.


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 Post subject: Re:Implementation of assert() in kernel space
PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2005 6:18 pm 
I think it's better to avoid do{...}while() blocks when you can avoid them. You can write a conditional in a macro in a way that it can be used inside anything, as long as you don't need loops. In fact, you can also do sequence of things if you want too. You can't loop without a block, but then again I don't think looping in macros is that good of a thing anyway, and you can always call a function that does loop.

Code:
#define assert(test) \
  ((test) \
    ? (kprint("assertion failed, " __FILE__ ":" __LINE__ ": " #test), panic()) \
    : 0)


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 Post subject: Re:Implementation of assert() in kernel space
PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2005 12:48 am 
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I think the loop in this case is necessary though -- as a safeguard in case kSystem_halt fails for some reason and doesn't actually halt the CPU.

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 Post subject: Re:Implementation of assert() in kernel space
PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2005 1:44 am 
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Erm... do { } while ( 0 ) does not loop!

The assert() implementation recommended by P.J. Plauger (author of the Dinkumware library and member of the C committee) is indeed the trinary operator though.

What follows is a ripaway from how I implemented assert() in the PDCLib, provided as Public Domain.

assert.h:

Code:
#ifndef _KERNEL_ASSERT
#define _KERNEL_ASSERT
#if __STDC_VERSION__ == 199901L
void _Kassert_99( char const * const, char const * const, char const * const );
#else
void _Kassert( char const * const );
#endif
#define __symbol2value( x ) #x
#define __symbol2string( x ) __symbol2value( x )
#endif

/* re-including assert.h results in assert() being redefined */
#undef assert

#ifdef NDEBUG
#define assert( ignore ) ( (void) 0 )
#else
#if __STDC_VERSION__ == 199901L
#define assert( expression ) ( ( expression ) ? (void) 0 \
        : _Kassert( "Assertion failed: " #expression \
                          ", function ", __func__, \
                          ", file " __FILE__ \
                          ", line " __symbol2string( __LINE__ ) \
                          "." ) )
#else
#define assert( expression ) ( ( expression ) ? (void) 0 \
        : _Kassert( "Assertion failed: " #expression \
                          ", file " __FILE__ \
                          ", line " __symbol2string( __LINE__ ) \
                          "." ) )
#endif
#endif


Implement _Kassert() and _Kassert_99() to do whatever you like. The char* contain e.g.:

"Assertion failed: x == 0, file mykernel.c, line 385." for _Kassert(), and

"Assertion failed: x == 0, function "
"mykernel_map_table"
", file mykernel.c, line 285." for _Kassert_99(), respectively.

Only C99 does have __func__ specified, hence the __STDC_VERSION__ check. Above implementation allows you to use this assert() in exactly the way described by the C standard (i.e., you may include assert.h multiple times, the macro is defined to nothing when NDEBUG is set etc.)

Hope this helps.

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 Post subject: Re:Implementation of assert() in kernel space
PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2005 9:52 am 
as solar mentioned the "do { } while(0)" is not ment to be a loop at all, it is ment to avoid scope issues (which i gave an example of...) keep in mind that the compiler (even older ones) is smart enough to know not to emit loop related code for this one. it is a VERY common way to properly implement assert.

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 Post subject: Re:Implementation of assert() in kernel space
PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2005 2:06 pm 
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0... 1... Damn those off-by-one errors. ;)

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