When setting up the function_graph tracer in Linux (Ubuntu 18), the trace that is stored at /sys/kernel/debug/tracing/trace only stores a couple of seconds before overwriting itself.

As the period might be variable, I cannot be saving it with for example

cat /sys/kernel/debug/tracing/trace >> total_trace

Because it might produce duplicates which are not acceptable during postprocessing. Even worst, it might miss some information.

Is there a way I can open the file and just pipe all the new incoming info to another one?


2 Answers 2


From ftrace documentation:


    The output is the same as the "trace" file but this file is meant to be streamed with live tracing.  Reads from this file will block until new data is retrieved.  Unlike the "trace" file, this file is a consumer.  This means reading from this file causes sequential reads to display more current data.  Once data is read from this file, it is consumed, and will not be read again with a sequential read.  The "trace" file is static, and if the tracer is not adding more data, it will display the same information every time it is read.  This file will not disable tracing while being read.

Or use trace-cmd(1), and specifically trace-cmd-show.  From its man page:

-p                        (lower case 'P')

    Instead of displaying the contents of the "trace" file, use the "trace_pipe" file. The difference between the two is that the "trace" file is static. That is, if tracing is stopped, the "trace" file will show the same contents each time.

        The "trace_pipe" file is a consuming read, where a read of the file will consume the output of what was read and it will not read the same thing a second time even if tracing is stopped. This file als will block.  If no data is available, trace-cmd show will stop and wait for data to appear.

Also see Knio's answer to How to set the buffer size for trace_pipe in ftrace? (on Stack Overflow) to see how you can change the size and behavior of the trace file.



  1. cat trace_pipe
  2. cat trace_pipe | grep nfs
  3. cat trace_pipe > kernel_trace.txt
  • These are just (trivial) examples of how to use aviro’s answer.  Why do you believe that they will be useful?  Can you provide any context, explanation or discussion? … … … … … … … … And why nfs? Aug 25, 2022 at 17:04

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