24.2. Implementation Differences

While the DTrace in FreeBSD is similar to that found in Solaris™, differences do exist. The primary difference is that in FreeBSD, DTrace is implemented as a set of kernel modules and DTrace can not be used until the modules are loaded. To load all of the necessary modules:

# kldload dtraceall

Beginning with FreeBSD 10.0-RELEASE, the modules are automatically loaded when dtrace is run.

FreeBSD uses the DDB_CTF kernel option to enable support for loading CTF data from kernel modules and the kernel itself. CTF is the Solaris™ Compact C Type Format which encapsulates a reduced form of debugging information similar to DWARF and the venerable stabs. CTF data is added to binaries by the ctfconvert and ctfmerge build tools. The ctfconvert utility parses DWARF ELF debug sections created by the compiler and ctfmerge merges CTF ELF sections from objects into either executables or shared libraries.

Some different providers exist for FreeBSD than for Solaris™. Most notable is the dtmalloc provider, which allows tracing malloc() by type in the FreeBSD kernel. Some of the providers found in Solaris™, such as cpc and mib, are not present in FreeBSD. These may appear in future versions of FreeBSD. Moreover, some of the providers available in both operating systems are not compatible, in the sense that their probes have different argument types. Thus, D scripts written on Solaris™ may or may not work unmodified on FreeBSD, and vice versa.

Due to security differences, only root may use DTrace on FreeBSD. Solaris™ has a few low level security checks which do not yet exist in FreeBSD. As such, the /dev/dtrace/dtrace is strictly limited to root.

DTrace falls under the Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL) license. To view this license on FreeBSD, see /usr/src/cddl/contrib/opensolaris/OPENSOLARIS.LICENSE or view it online at http://opensource.org/licenses/CDDL-1.0. While a FreeBSD kernel with DTrace support is BSD licensed, the CDDL is used when the modules are distributed in binary form or the binaries are loaded.

All FreeBSD documents are available for download at https://download.freebsd.org/ftp/doc/

Questions that are not answered by the documentation may be sent to <freebsd-questions@FreeBSD.org>.
Send questions about this document to <freebsd-doc@FreeBSD.org>.