Oracle Is Aiming To Contribute An eBPF Backend To The GCC 10 Compiler
Written by Michael Larabel in Oracle on 30 May 2019 at 01:06 AM EDT. 7 Comments
ORACLE --
While Oracle has control of DTrace following their acquisition of Sun Microsystems, it turns out Oracle developers are quite interested in adding eBPF support to the GNU toolchain with GCC support as an alternative to the LLVM-focused path currently relied upon for targeting this in-kernel Linux virtual machine.

Last week I wrote about GNU Binutils seeing eBPF support for this modern and increasingly popular VM solution within the Linux kernel. That's not all Oracle is looking to contribute on the eBPF front but is also working on a GCC compiler back-end.

A Phoronix reader pointed out this Binutils mailing list thread from when Oracle's Jose Marchesi originally posted the patches. The work confirms they are working on further improvements, including adding eBPF support to the Gold linker. But most notably, "Next stop is GCC. An eBPF backend is on the works. We plan to upstream it before September."

Getting the eBPF back-end for targeting this in-kernel virtual machine done by September would make it a feature for the GCC 10 compiler release due out around early Q2'2020.

While eBPF can be viewed in some regards as a competitor to Oracle's DTrace, this move isn't entirely surprising. Last November we wrote about Oracle at the time exploring DTrace with an eBPF execution engine. Oracle is looking to leverage eBPF as part of their DTrace offering that to date is mostly a feature of their RHEL-derived Oracle Linux with their "Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel" and not widely used elsewhere considering these days there is SystemTap, LTTng, eBPF, and other Linux tracing/debug frameworks compared to a decade ago when DTrace for Linux was a coveted Sun feature.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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