Breaking Eggs And Making Omelettes

Topics On Multimedia Technology and Reverse Engineering


Alphabet of Tracing

April 15th, 2010 by Multimedia Mike

So I’m sitting in the tracing discussion at this year’s Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit. One presenter discussed a tracing facility called utrace. This got me thinking of all the different _trace utilities I could name off the top of my head: dtrace, ptrace, strace, and utrace. Then I wondered how many letters of the English alphabet already serve as prefixes to the word ‘trace’ as software utilities. My cursory research indicates 21/26 24/26.

Oh yeah, I looked them all up (and thanks to all who helped me fill in the blanks):

  • atrace: astrange’s raytracer
  • btrace: Tracing for Java
  • ctrace: multi-threaded trace/debug library
  • dtrace: Sun’s comprehensive framework
  • etrace: The Embedded ELF tracer
  • ftrace: Fast traceroute for Win32; also ftrace: function tracer
  • gtrace: Graphical front-end to traceroute
  • htrace: apparently an extension to windbg
  • itrace: not Apple-related (see ktrace); this stands for instruction strace
  • jtrace: Java rewrite of a speech recognition technique called TRACE
  • ktrace: Kernel tracing for certain BSDs including Mac OS X
  • ltrace: Linux utility to monitor library calls
  • mtrace: Memory debugger in the GNU C library
  • ntrace: Tracing for .NET applications
  • otrace: Oracle database tracing
  • ptrace: Process tracing in Linux
  • qtrace: Another traceroute utility
  • rtrace: Ruby-Trace almost qualifies
  • strace: Tracing system calls
  • ttrace: Tracing facility for multithreaded processes
  • utrace: Linux tracing
  • vtrace: System-wide profiling of WinNT or Win2K
  • wtrace: Provides information to debug methods (pertains to Tivoli?)
  • xtrace: Tracing for X servers
  • ytrace: Nothing
  • ztrace: Win32 tracing utility

So, if you must make a new tracing utility, atrace, etrace, rtrace, ytrace, and ztrace all seem to be open.

Thanks for sitting through another of my pointless surveys. Oh, and thanks also to Google for providing Summit attendees with free, unlocked Nexus One phones. I haven’t seen many other mentions of this. Maybe Google does this so often that it barely counts as news anymore.

Posted in General | 6 Comments »

6 Responses

  1. astrange Says:

  2. whitetiger Says:


  3. whitetiger Says:


  4. Spathi Says:

    This reminds me of when I amused myself by thinking about other possible relatives of the Brothers Strong from “Homestar Runner”.

    The three brothers are Strong Bad, Strong Mad, and Strong Sad. (There’s also “Strong Dad”, which is how the H*R authors refer to their real-life father.)

    So, what are the lost cousins? Strong Ad, Strong Cad, Strong Fad, Strong Gad, Strong Had, etc.

  5. Multimedia Mike Says:

    @astrange: At first, I was going to accuse you of creating your own “astrange’s trace” for the purpose of this survey. But the source control dates tell a different story.

    I’ll update the list with a/e/ztrace. Thanks, all!

  6. clone2727 Says:

    Heh. This post is on the second page of Google listings for ytrace already.