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Add tracing to a driver

This document describes how to add tracing to a driver in a Fuchsia system.


For an overview of tracing, see Fuchsia tracing system. However, drivers don't need to specify a trace provider. The driver host provides one for its drivers.

For a tutorial on tracing, see Adding tracing in your code. And for the tracing API reference, see Tracing: C and C++ macros.

Add trace records

To add tracing a driver, you need to update the driver's source code and file.

Source code update

To add trace records in a driver component, update the source code to invoke the TRACE_*() macros from lib/trace/event.h, for example:

#include <lib/trace/event.h>

void DoSomething(int a, std::string b) {
  TRACE_DURATION("example", "DoSomething", "a", a, "b", b);

  // Do something

The first two arguments to most macros are the trace category and the event name. In this example, they are example and DoSomething respectively.

Trace categories let you specify what types of data the tracing system collects. If a category is not requested, no data is collected. Categories don't need to be unique across the driver. One typically groups several events under the same category.

An event name is included in the trace to describe the event. It is typically unique for each event. update

To pick up tracing support, add the following target to your driver's

fuchsia_driver("my_driver") {
  deps = [

Build with tracing

To be able to trace drivers that are loaded during boot, set your Fuchsia build configuration with the additional --with-base=//bundles/packages/prod:tracing option, for example:

$ fx set workstation_eng.x64 --with-base=//bundles/packages/prod:tracing
$ fx build

Without this option, TraceManager is not present when the driver starts. Thus the driver is not be able to participate in tracing when TraceManager is started later.

For more information on fx set, see fx workflows (or run fx help set).

Boot with tracing

Fuchsia uses a kernel command-line flag to enable tracing in drivers during boot:


This is the default setting in Fuchsia devices.

To disable participation of drivers in Fuchsia tracing, boot the kernel with the following command-line flag:


For instructions on booting a specific Fuchsia device, see documentation for your hardware or QEMU. Tracing doesn't require anything special during boot.

Use tracing

Use ffx trace to record a trace and view the result with the Perfetto viewer.

The example command below uses the example category described in the Source code update section above:

$ ffx trace start --categories "example,kernel:sched,kernel:meta"

The kernel:sched,kernel:meta categories need to be present if you want to visualize the result. The visualizer wants to associate trace data with threads and processes, and it needs the data provided by the kernel through these categories.

For additional details, as well as instructions on tracing directly on a Fuchsia device without ffx, see Recording a Fuchsia trace.

Further reading

See Fuchsia tracing guides for more information.