Manual browser: ktrace(2)

KTRACE(2) System Calls Manual KTRACE(2)


ktraceprocess tracing


Standard C Library (libc, -lc)


#include <sys/types.h>
#include <sys/uio.h>
#include <sys/ktrace.h>

ktrace(const char *tracefile, int ops, int trpoints, pid_t pid);

fktrace(int fd, int ops, int trpoints, pid_t pid);


The ktrace() function enables or disables tracing of one or more processes. Users may only trace their own processes. Only the super-user can trace setuid or setgid programs.

The tracefile gives the pathname of the file to be used for tracing. The file must exist and be writable by the calling process. All trace records are always appended to the file, so the file must be truncated to zero length to discard previous trace data. If tracing points are being disabled (see KTROP_CLEAR below), tracefile may be NULL. If using fktrace() then instead of passing a filename as tracefile, a file descriptor is passed as fd and behaviour is otherwise the same.

The ops parameter specifies the requested ktrace operation. The defined operations are:

KTROP_SET Enable trace points specified in trpoints.
KTROP_CLEAR Disable trace points specified in trpoints.
KTROP_CLEARFILE Stop all tracing.
KTRFLAG_DESCEND The tracing change should apply to the specified process and all its current children.

The trpoints parameter specifies the trace points of interest. The defined trace points are:

KTRFAC_SYSCALL Trace system calls.
KTRFAC_SYSRET Trace return values from system calls.
KTRFAC_NAMEI Trace name lookup operations.
KTRFAC_GENIO Trace all I/O (note that this option can generate much output).
KTRFAC_PSIG Trace posted signals.
KTRFAC_CSW Trace context switch points.
KTRFAC_EMUL Trace emulation changes.
KTRFAC_INHERIT Inherit tracing to future children.

Each tracing event outputs a record composed of a generic header followed by a trace point specific structure. The generic header is:

struct ktr_header { 
	int	ktr_len;		/* length of buf */ 
	short	ktr_type;		/* trace record type */ 
	pid_t	ktr_pid;		/* process id */ 
	char	ktr_comm[MAXCOMLEN+1];	/* command name */ 
	struct	timeval ktr_time;	/* timestamp */ 
	caddr_t	ktr_buf; 

The ktr_len field specifies the length of the ktr_type data that follows this header. The ktr_pid and ktr_comm fields specify the process and command generating the record. The ktr_time field gives the time (with microsecond resolution) that the record was generated. The ktr_buf is an internal kernel pointer and is not useful.

The generic header is followed by ktr_len bytes of a ktr_type record. The type specific records are defined in the <sys/ktrace.h> include file.


On successful completion a value of 0 is returned. Otherwise, a value of -1 is returned and errno is set to show the error.


ktrace() will fail if:
A component of the path prefix is not a directory.
The pathname contains a character with the high-order bit set.
A component of a pathname exceeded 255 characters, or an entire path name exceeded 1023 characters.
The named tracefile does not exist.
Search permission is denied for a component of the path prefix.
Too many symbolic links were encountered in translating the pathname.
An I/O error occurred while reading from or writing to the file system.


kdump(1), ktrace(1)


A ktrace function call first appeared in 4.4BSD.
June 4, 1993 NetBSD 7.0