0.0.3 • Public • Published



node-libdtrace is a Node.js addon that interfaces to libdtrace, allowing node programs to control DTrace enablings.


The primary objective is not to create a dtrace(1M) alternative in node, but rather to allow node programs to create and control programmatically useful DTrace enablings. That is, the goal is software-software interaction, and as such, DTrace actions related to controlling output (e.g., printf(), printa()) are not supported. Error handling is, for the moment, weak.


This should work on any platform that supports DTrace, and is known to work on Mac OS X (tested on 10.7.5) and illumos (tested on SmartOS).


As an addon, node-libdtrace is installed in the usual way:

  % npm install libdtrace


new libdtrace.Consumer()

Create a new libdtrace consumer, which will correspond to a new libdtrace state. If DTrace cannot be initalized for any reason, this will throw an exception with the message member set to the more detailed reason from libdtrace. Note that one particularly common failure mode is attempting to initialize DTrace without the necessary level of privilege; in this case, for example, the message member will be:

  DTrace requires additional privileges

(The specifics of this particular message should obviously not be programmatically depended upon.) If encountering this error, you will need to be a user that has DTrace privileges.


Compile the specified str as a D program. This is required before any call to consumer.go().


Instruments the system using the specified enabling. Before consumer.go() is called, the specified D program has been compiled but not executed; once consumer.go() is called, no further D compilation is possible.

consumer.setopt(option, value)

Sets the specified option (a string) to value (an integer, boolean, string, or string representation of an integer or boolean, as denoted by the option being set).

consumer.consume(function func (probe, rec) {})

Consume any DTrace data traced to the principal buffer since the last call to consumer.consume() (or the call to consumer.go() if consumer.consume() has not been called). For each trace record, func will be called and passed two arguments:

  • probe is an object that specifies the probe that corresponds to the trace record in terms of the probe tuple: provider, module, function and name.

  • rec is an object that has a single member, data, that corresponds to the datum within the trace record. If the trace record has been entirely consumed, rec will be undefined.

In terms of implementation, a call to consumer.consume() will result in a call to dtrace_status() and a principal buffer switch. Note that if the rate of consumption exceeds the specified switchrate (set via either #pragma D option switchrate or consumer.setopt()), this will result in no new data processing.

consumer.aggwalk(function func (varid, key, value) {})

Snapshot and iterate over all aggregation data accumulated since the last call to consumer.aggwalk() (or the call to consumer.go() if consumer.aggwalk() has not been called). For each aggregate record, func will be called and passed three arguments:

  • varid is the identifier of the aggregation variable. These IDs are assigned in program order, starting with 1.

  • key is an array of keys that, taken with the variable identifier, uniquely specifies the aggregation record.

  • value is the value of the aggregation record, the meaning of which depends on the aggregating action:

    • For count(), sum(), max() and min(), the value is the integer value of the aggregation action

    • For avg(), the value is the numeric value of the aggregating action

    • For quantize() and lquantize(), the value is an array of 2-tuples denoting ranges and value: each element consists of a two element array denoting the range (minimum followed by maximum, inclusive) and the value for that range.

Upon return from consumer.aggwalk(), the aggregation data for the specified variable and key(s) is removed.

Note that the rate of consumer.aggwalk() actually consumes the aggregation buffer is clamed by the aggrate option; if consumer.aggwalk() is called more frequently than the specified rate, consumer.aggwalk() will not induce any additional data processing.

consumer.aggwalk() does not iterate over aggregation data in any guaranteed order, and may interleave aggregation variables and/or keys.


Returns the version string, as returned from dtrace -V.


Hello world

The obligatory "hello world":

  var sys = require('sys');
  var libdtrace = require('libdtrace');
  var dtp = new libdtrace.Consumer();
  var prog = 'BEGIN { trace("hello world"); }';
  dtp.consume(function (probe, rec) {
          if (rec)

Using aggregations

A slightly more sophisticated example showing system calls aggregated and sorted by executable name:

  var sys = require('sys');
  var libdtrace = require('libdtrace');
  var dtp = new libdtrace.Consumer();
  var prog = 'syscall:::entry { @[execname] = count(); }'
  var syscalls = {};
  var keys = [];
  var pad = function (val, len)
          var rval = '', i, str = val + '';
          for (i = 0; i < Math.abs(len) - str.length; i++)
                  rval += ' ';
          rval = len < 0 ? str + rval : rval + str;
          return (rval);
  setInterval(function () {
          var i;
          sys.puts(pad('EXECNAME', -40) + pad('COUNT', -10));
          dtp.aggwalk(function (id, key, val) {
                  if (!syscalls.hasOwnProperty(key[0]))
                  syscalls[key[0]] = val;
          for (i = 0; i < keys.length; i++) {
                  sys.puts(pad(keys[i], -40) + pad(syscalls[keys[i]], -10));
                  syscalls[keys[i]] = 0;
  }, 1000);




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