Section: [FIXME: manual] (1)
Updated: 11/11/2010
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latrace - LD_AUDIT 2.4+ libc frontend  


latrace [-ltfsbcCpADaoyIiBdvTFELVh] command [arg ... ]  


latrace is able to run a command and display its dynamic library calls using a LD_AUDIT libc feature (available from libc version 2.4 onward - see the section called lqDISCUSSIONrq ). It is also capable to measure and display various statistics of dynamic calls.

If the config file is provided, latrace will display symbolcqs arguments with detailed output for structures. The config file syntax is similar to the C language, with several exceptions (see the section called lqCONFIGrq).

The latrace by default fully operates inside of the traced program. However another pipe mode is available, to move the main work to the latrace binary (see the section called lqPIPE moderq).

Its use is very similar to strace(1) and ltrace(1).  


-l, --libs lib1[,lib2,...]

audit from and to lib1, lib2 ...

-t, --libs-to lib1[,lib2,...]

audit to lib1, lib2 ...

-f, --libs-from lib1[,lib2,...]

audit from lib1, lib2 ...

-s, --sym sym1[,sym2,...]

audit symbols sym1, sym2 ...

-S, --timestamp

display timestamp for each symbol

-b, --flow-below sym1[,sym2,...]

display flow for sym1, sym2 ...

-c, --counts

display statistics counts of symbols - implies pipe mode (see the section called lqPIPE moderq) an no symbol output is displayed

-C, --sort-counts stat

implies -c, plus sort the statistics by stat with following values: time,per,call,ucall,lib,sym (default is call)

-p, --pipe

use pipe to latrace process to send audit data (see the section called lqPIPE moderq)

-o, --output file

store output to file

-A, --enable-args

enable arguments output (definitions from /etc/latrace.conf)

-D, --detail-args

display struct arguments in more detail

-a, --args file

specify arguments definition file, implies -A (without the default definition file of course)

-y, --framesize number

framesize for storing the stack before pltexit (default 100)

-I, --no-indent-sym

do no indent symbols based on the their stack depth

-i, --indent-sym indent_size

indent size specification in indent_size

-B, --braces

allways display { } for the around the symbol body

-d, --demangle

C++ demangle symbols on the output

-v, --verbose

verbose output

-T, --hide-tid

dont display thread id

-F, --not-follow-fork

dont follow fork calls (childs). This is just supressing the latrace output from new childs. The nature of the LD_AUDIT feature prevents to disable it completely.

-E, --not-follow-exec

dont follow exec calls

-R, --ctl-config

controled config feature

-q, --disable

run with disabled auditing (enabled -R)


* The simplest way to run latrace is like this:

* latrace cat**

* To see the argument values specified by default config file run:

* latrace -A cat**

* Same as above but using the pipe mode to get all the end symbols printed:

* latrace -Ap cat**

* To see the argument values specified by specified config file run:

* latrace -a latrace.conf cat**

* To get output only for specified symbol (eg. read and write) run:

* latrace -A -s read,write cat**

* To get flow under the specified symbol (eg. sysconf) run:

* latrace -b sysconf kill**

* To get output only for specified library (eg. libproc) run:

* latrace -Al libproc w**

* To get symbol statistics run:

* latrace -c ls**

* To get symbol statistics sorted by time run:

* latrace -C time ls**

* To get output stored to the text file run:

* latrace -o output.latrace ls**

* To change the dependency to the run one of these:

* latrace -L krava1%krava2 ex**

* latrace -L ex**

* latrace -L ex**




This is just a brief and vague description of the LD_AUDIT feature. For more information look to rtld-audit(7) man done by Petr Baudis or study the glibc/latrace source code. Very brief explanation follows.

The libc dynamic linker audit feature allows to trace/audit programcqs symbols/libraries. The feature is enabled by the LD_AUDIT environment variable. This variable must contain path to the audit shared library. This audit library needs to follow specific interface. The interface functions will be then called by the dynamic linker appropriatelly.

The audit library needs to export following symbols (the "la_PLTENTER" and "la_PLTEXIT" names are architecture dependent).



As for the latrace package the audit shared library is called  


The objsearch LD_AUDIT interface provide means for changing traced program shared object names/locations. The -L option argument should have following form:

-L s1[,s2,...] where sN is src [=%~] dst

The src is the source pattern/name and dst is the destination name/pattern.


Comparing src with the library name. If matched, replace the library name with dst.

library name         - /lib/
src                  - /lib/
dst                  - /lib/

final library name   - /lib/


Looking for the src in the library name. If found, replace the src with dst part.

library name         - /lib/
src                  - krava1
dst                  - krava2

final library name   - /lib/


Looking for the src in the library name. If found, replace the library name with dst.

library name         - /lib/
src                  - krava1
dst                  - /lib/

final library name   - /lib/


PIPE mode

The latrace can work in two modes. The first one native does does the output directly in the traced program process. The other one, pipe mode use the IPC fifo mechanism to send the data from the traced process to the latrace process. The latrace process is then responsible for the output. Using the pipe mode you loose the traced program standard output context with printed symbols.

By using the pipe mode, the latrace is not dependent on the trace program usage/manipulation of the standard output descriptor. Also the symbol statistics counts -c, -C options use the pipe mode to transfer symbol information to the latrace binary, and the latrace binary does the counts at the end.  


The latrace config file allows user to define symbols as an classic C functions with arguments. Argument names will be display together with values as the latrace output. The more arguments are defined, the more performance and memory penalties should be expected.

The package is delivered with several config files for the most commonly used functions. List of the glibc header files used follows (the list mostly follows the ltrace header files list, and author is willing to update it according to the needs.



The config file structure consists of /etc/latrace.conf file, which is the default one read by latrace. This config file includes other config files placed in the /etc/latrace.d directory. This directory contain all the config files for the above mentioned header files.

As already mentioned, the latrace config file syntax lightly follows the C language syntax. Following part describes the latrace config file language.

* Several POD types (plain old data), are hardcoded in latrace. Size of those arguments is determined by the sizeof macro. The list follows.

char    u_char
short   u_short
int     u_int
long    u_long
llong   u_llong  # (long long)
float   double

* The typedef keyword allows to specify new type based on the already existing one (POD or typedefed). Eventhough therecqs a way for multiple pointer layers in the type definition (*), only one is taken.

typedef base_type new_type;
typedef base_type * new_type;
typedef base_type ** new_type;


Comments follow the C style /\* \*/ logic.

/\* comments \*/

* The include keyword allows to include another config file.

#include "filename"

* The struct keyword allows to define the structure. The syntax folows following grammar rules.

START::         struct NAME { STRUCT_DEF };
DEF::           NAME NAME |
                NAME '*' NAME |
                struct NAME NAME |
                struct NAME '*' NAME
NAME::          [-0-9a-zA-Z_]+

* The function definition follows following syntax (DEF and NAME are the same as for struct definition).

START::         DEF '(' ARGS ')' ';'
ARGS::          ARGS ',' DEF | DEF | EMPTY

* The enum definition follows following syntax (NAME is same as for struct definition).

START::         ENUM NAME '{' ENUM_DEF '}' ';'

* Example of a simple latrace config file.

---[ cut here ]-----------------------------
enum krava {
        krava1 = 1,
        krava3 = 100

#include "krava.conf"

typedef u_int pid_t;

struct ex_st {
        pid_t   p;
        int     cnt;
        char   *name;

int f1(pid_t p, struct ex_st *k);
int f2(char* name, struct ex_st k, int k = krava);
struct ex_st* f3(pid_t *p, struct ex_st k);
---[ cut here ]-----------------------------

* Arrays are not supported yet, so therecqs no way to define some structures. For such a structures use void* type where the structure argu- ment is passed by pointer. If it is passed by value, therecqs no workaround so far (aside from filling the structure body with POD types up to the actual length of the structure :).

* Variable argument lists (va_list/...) are not supported yet. The function definition needs to stop before the first variable argument list argument.


Author is willing to port the latrace to any architecture, as long as he got an access to corresponding system. Currently functional ports are:






ok (contributed and maintained by Akos Pasztory)

LD_AUDIT related glibc bugs:


Bug 7055 (no longer reproducible) LD_AUDIT - gettimeofday function segfaults if called from interface m[blue][]


Bug 9893 (FIXED in 2.10) LD_AUDIT - misaligned _dl_call_pltexit parameter causing crash in audit library m[blue][]


Bug 3924 (FIXED in 2.7-2) LD_AUDIT implementation causing process segfaulting m[blue][]



MANY, plz report bugs to <m[blue][email protected]m[][1]>. You can also visit the page to see the latest release notes information.  


Jiri Olsa <m[blue][email protected]m[][1]>  


* Nix <m[blue][email protected]m[][2]>

* Akos Pasztory <m[blue][email protected]m[][3]>


This is free software, distributed under the GPLv3 license.  


strace(1), ltrace(1)  


[email protected]
mailto:[email protected]
[email protected]
mailto:[email protected]
[email protected]
mailto:[email protected]



PIPE mode

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Time: 05:29:05 GMT, December 24, 2015