Saturday, October 3, 2009


Over the summer, Jacob did a lot of important contributory work to make NetWatch run on AMD64 and to add a GDB slave to NetWatch. Back at CMU, I've spent the last few hours reanimating NetWatch on ICH2. I now have pushed changes to the Git repository; it should build again! Of note, NetWatch can now display all of the registers that SMM provides, and the backtrace is now quite a bit more robust. I have not integrated the GDB support into the ICH2 build yet.

Also on an exciting note, NetWatch had its first application as a real debugger recently. Sully, in the progress of his 15-412 project (a network driver for Pebbles), found a case in which the driver worked in QEMU but instantly grenaded on hardware. Luckily, his 412 test system is the same as the NetWatch test system, so we booted his kernel in NetWatch, and got a backtrace when the fireworks came. Sure enough, the backtrace pointed exactly to where the system blew up! Sully shook my hand for producing a useful tool, and punched me for doing it with System Management Mode.

On a final note, I am considering writing a paper on NetWatch. Stay tuned.

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