5i, ki, vi, qi - instruction simulators
SYNOPSISvi [ textfile ]
5i [ textfile ]
ki [ textfile ]
qi [ textfile ]
Vi simulates the execution of a MIPS binary in a Plan 9 environment.
It has two main uses: as a debugger and as a statistics gatherer. Pro‐
grams running under vi execute about two hundred times slower than nor‐
mal—but faster than single stepping under db. 5i, ki, and qi are simi‐
lar to vi but interpret ARM, SPARC, and PowerPC binaries. The follow‐
ing discussion refers to vi but applies to the others as well.
Vi will simulate the execution of a named textfile. It will also make
a copy of an existing process with process id pid and simulate its con‐
As a debugger vi offers more complete information than db(1). Tracing
can be performed at the level of instructions, system calls, or func‐
tion calls. Vi allows breakpoints to be triggered when specified
addresses in memory are accessed. A report of instruction counts, load
delay fills and distribution is produced for each run. Vi simulates
the CPU's caches and MMU to assist the optimization of compilers and
The command interface mirrors the interface to db; see db(1) for a
detailed description. Data formats and addressing are compatible with
db except for disassembly: vi offers only MIPS (db -mmipsco) mnemonics
for machine instructions. Ki offers both Plan 9 and Sun SPARC formats.
Several extra commands allow extended tracing and printing of statis‐
The t command controls tracing. Zero cancels all tracing
i Enable instruction tracing
c Enable call tracing
s Enable system call tracing
The i command prints statistics accumulated by all code run in
i Print instruction counts and frequency.
p Print cycle profile.
t (Vi only) Print TLB and cache statistics.
s Print memory reference, working set and size statistics.
Vi allows breakpoints to be set on any memory location. These
breakpoints monitor when a location is accessed, read, written,
or equals a certain value. For equality the compared value is
the count (see db(1)) supplied to the command.
SEE ALSOnm(1), db(1)BUGS
The code generated by the compilers is well supported, but some unusual
instructions are unimplemented. Some Plan 9 system calls such as rfork
cause simulated traps. The floating point simulation makes assumptions
about the interpreting machine's floating point support. The floating
point conversions performed by vi may cause a loss of precision.