Oracle open-sources DTrace under the GPL

Which makes lots of sysadmins' fave tracing tool cool for Linux

By Simon Sharwood, APAC Editor

Posted in Software, 19th February 2018 08:28 GMT

Oracle appears to have open-sourced DTrace, the system instrumentation tool that Sun Microsystems created in the early 2000s and which has been beloved of many-a-sysadmin ever since.

As noted by developer Mark J. Wielaard, this commit by an Oracle developer shows that something is afoot.

Big Red recently listed DTrace as one of the open source projects it hosts and has also created a new mailing list for discussion of what it's called a "Linux port of the Solaris Dynamic Tracing Framework."

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The company has also revealed "The license for DTrace has changed over time. Versions before 0.6.1 include a CDDL kernel module and a proprietary userspace component; versions 0.6.1 and above have a GPL kernel component and a UPL userspace component. The UPL is generally held to be compatible with the GPL, so it therefore looks possible to include DTrace in Linux. As DTrace afficianado Brendan Gregg told us in 2016, Linux has only recently added tracing tools to compare with Sun's progeny. The prospect of bringing all of DTrace to Linux is therefore rather tantalising.

So is the possibility that DTrace's new licence re-opens an old, old argument. In this ancient Usenet thread DTrace co-creator Bryan Cantrill and a chap named David Miller fiercely debate the merits of Linux and Solaris. Miller is now the primary maintainer of networking for the Linux kernel, a role in which he'll have a say in whether DTrace makes it anywhere near the kernel.

The Register asked Oracle to comment on the project but has not yet received a reply. ®

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