Trace Compass is a Java tool for viewing and analyzing any type of logs or traces. Its goal is to provide views, graphs, metrics, etc. to help extract useful information from traces, in a way that is more user-friendly and informative than huge text dumps.

About Tracing

Tracing is a troubleshooting technique used to understand the behavior of an instrumented application by collecting information on its execution path. A tracer is the software used for tracing. Tracing can be used to troubleshoot a wide range of bugs that are otherwise extremely challenging. These include, for example, performance problems in complex parallel systems or real-time systems.

Tracing is similar to logging: it consists in recording events that happen in a system at selected execution locations. However, compared to logging, it is generally aimed at developers and it usually records low-level events at a high rate. Tracers can typically generate thousands of events per second. The generated traces can easily contain millions of events and have sizes from many megabytes to tens of gigabytes. Tracers must therefore be optimized to handle a lot of data while having a small impact on the system.

Traces may include events from the operating system kernel (IRQ handler entry/exit, system call entry/exit, scheduling activity, network activity, etc). They can also consists of application events (a.k.a UST - User Space Tracing) or a mix of the two.

For the maximum level of detail, tracing events may be viewed like a log file. However, trace analyzers and viewers are available to derive useful information from the raw data coupled with knowledge of the traced program. These programs must be specially designed to handle quickly the enormous amount of data a trace may contain.

Warning: Please be aware tracing is a powerful tool. It can extract information and make problems obvious, it can do the same with user information. The user is responsible for making sure the data provided to Trace Compass is used responsibly. Trace Compass can read whatever is provided to it. This can mean in the context of tracing certain identifiable fields e.g.: user names, IP addresses, file names, file access patterns, and web access patterns can be seen. The user needs to apply caution with the data it is providing the tool, as well as remembering to delete old data regularly and when a user requests it.


Trace Compass has a number of features to allow efficient handling of very large traces (and sets of large traces):

There is also support for the integration of non-LTTng trace types:

Trace Compass provides the following main views:

These views can be extended or tailored for specific trace types (e.g. kernel, HW, user app).

LTTng integration

One of the main features of Trace Compass is the LTTng integration. LTTng (Linux Trace Toolkit, next generation) is a highly efficient tracing tool for Linux that can be used to track down kernel and application performance issues as well as troubleshoot problems involving multiple concurrent processes and threads. It consists of a set of kernel modules, daemons - to collect the raw tracing data - and a set of tools to control, visualize and analyze the generated data. It also provides support for user space application instrumentation. For more information about LTTng, refer to the project site

Note: This User Guide covers the integration of the latest LTTng (up to v2.4) in Eclipse.

The LTTng plug-ins provide an integration for the control of the LTTng tracer as well as fetching and visualization of the traces produced. It also provides the foundation for user-defined analysis tools.

At present, the LTTng plug-ins support the following kernel-oriented views:

Also, the LTTng plug-ins supports the following User Space traces views:

Finally, the LTTng plug-ins supports the following Control views:

Although the control and fetching parts are targeted at the LTTng tracer, the underlying framework can also be used to process any trace that complies with the Common Trace Format ( CTF). CTF specifies a very efficient and compact binary trace format that is meant to be application-, architecture-, and language-agnostic.