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Building And Installing

Manuel Rego Casasnovas edited this page Aug 1, 2022 · 86 revisions

Dependencies installation


sudo dnf install \
  ccache cmake make gcc gcc-c++ gdb libgcc libgcc.i686 \
  glibc-devel glibc-devel.i686 libstdc++-devel libstdc++-devel.i686 libstdc++-devel.x86_64 \
  python3-pexpect man-pages ninja-build capnproto capnproto-libs capnproto-devel \


sudo apt-get install ccache cmake make g++-multilib gdb \
  pkg-config coreutils python3-pexpect manpages-dev git \
  ninja-build capnproto libcapnp-dev zlib1g-dev

On some old distros such as Ubuntu 14.04 libcapnp-dev doesn't include capnp.pc. To build rr on such distros, manually install capnproto using the instructions here.

Project building

rr uses the CMake build system, which is able to generate multiple build environments. This enables you to choose whichever build driver you prefer to use. The commands below show building rr in a separate obj directory. This is recommended because cmake generates a lot of auxiliary files. A fully optimized rr build requires the CMake parameter -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release. If you intend to work on rr this can be omitted, alternatively you can use -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=RelWithDebInfo if you want optimizations and debug info.:

git clone
mkdir obj && cd obj
cmake -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release ../rr

Then to use make and the system default compiler to build:

make -j8
sudo make install

Or to use clang and Ninja to build (faster!):

CC=clang CXX=clang++ cmake -G Ninja -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release ../rr
cmake --build .
sudo cmake --build . --target install

RHEL7/CentOS7 with EPEL requires installing python36-pexpect and running cmake3; it will only work with an updated kernel.

To use Eclipse:

mkdir obj && cd obj
cmake -G "Eclipse CDT4 - Unix Makefiles" -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release ../rr

Next, import the project into Eclipse. By default Eclipse will automatically build the project when files change. You can force Eclipse to rebuild the project by pressing Ctrl-B.

PaX kernel:

If your kernel is a PaX kernel (if these words don't mean anything to you, you can skip this paragraph), then you will need to disable MPROTECT on the built files bin/rr, bin/rr_exec_stub and bin/rr_exec_stub_32.

If you use PT header flags, for example, you should run:

paxctl -cm bin/rr bin/rr_exec_stub bin/rr_exec_stub_32

in your build directory.

Hardware/software configuration

For a quick check: Will rr work on my system?

Supported hardware

Supported microarchitectures are Intel architectures newer than Merom and Penryn, i.e. Nehalem and beyond.

OS configuration

Linux kernel 3.11 or higher is required (check with uname -r).

/proc/sys/kernel/perf_event_paranoid must be <= 1 for rr to work efficiently (i.e. be able to use perf counters). Some distros set it to 2 or higher, in which case you either need to set it to 1 or use rr record -n, which is slow. Temporarily change the setting by running

$ sudo sysctl kernel.perf_event_paranoid=1

Apply the setup automatically on startup by running

# echo 'kernel.perf_event_paranoid=1' | sudo tee '/etc/sysctl.d/51-enable-perf-events.conf'

Virtual machine guests

If you run rr in a virtual machine, MAKE SURE VIRTUALIZATION OF PERF COUNTERS IS ENABLED. Virtual machines that work with rr and the settings required are listed below.

  • VMWare Workstation/Fusion (Windows):
    • The default is for counter virtualization to be disabled. You have to enable it in the VM settings (advanced processor options).
    • Set the Preferred virtualization engine in the Advanced tab to Intel VT-x with EPT (it may default to Automatic).
    • Enable the code profiling applications in the Processors & Memory tab.
    • Add monitor_control.disable_hvsim_clusters = true to the VM's .vmx file (more information).
  • Qemu: On QEMU command line use
    -cpu host
  • Libvirt/KVM: Specify CPU passthrough in domain XML definition:
    <cpu mode='host-passthrough'/>
  • Hyper-V: Run the PowerShell command Set-VMProcessor MyVMName -Perfmon @("pmu")

VirtualBox does not work at this time because it doesn't support PMU virtualization. It would be great if someone contributed that to the open-source project...

Xen's PMU virtualization has bugs that prevent rr from working.

Apparently VMWare on MacOS Big Sur and later does not support performance counter virtualization, and therefore does not support rr. No other virtualization on Mac does either.

Cloud virtual guests

Some Digital Ocean instances have worked in the past.

Amazon EC2 instance types c5[d].9xlarge, c5[d].18xlarge, m5[d].12xlarge, and m5[d].24xlarge should work. All bare metal instance types should work. Some other instance types may work (those that use the "Nitro" hypervisor and where the instance occupies a whole CPU socket).


Make sure rr works on the machine outside of Docker, then follow the Docker-specific instructions.


If rr isn't working at all, run dmesg|grep PMU. If you get output like

[    0.311273] Performance Events: Fam15h core perfctr, Broken PMU hardware detected, using software events only.
[    0.311279] Failed to access perfctr msr (MSR c0010201 is 25c6c8c489)

then something is disabled in your BIOS, or perhaps you have a broken hardware configuration, or you're in a VM without PMU virtualization.


See this page.


Be sure to read the usage instructions before running tests.

Remember to set perf_event_paranoid to level 1 or lower, because otherwise many tests will fail.

rr has a suite of tests in $rr/src/test. To run them you first need to enter the build directory, and then, depending on the build system you chose, execute a ninja test or make -j$(nproc) test.

Alternatively, you can run them manually, by calling ctest. E.g. with minimal output:

ctest -j$(nproc)

or with full output:

ctest -j$(nproc) -VV

The video_capture test may briefly turn on an attached camera, if you have one --- do not be alarmed!

Running individual tests

Easiest way is ctest -R test_name. For example:

 $ ctest -R 64bit_child-no-syscallbuf
Test project /home/constantine/Projects/rr/build
    Start 3: 64bit_child-no-syscallbuf
1/1 Test #3: 64bit_child-no-syscallbuf ........   Passed    0.62 sec

100% tests passed, 0 tests failed out of 1

Total Test time (real) =   0.72 sec

This runs tests matching a regular expression. So for example, given tests pro-foo, foo, foo-2, foo-3, running a ctest -r foo will result in all of them running. If you want to run exactly the tests foo, bar, buzz, but not anything else like a foo-3, you can execute the following:

 $ ctest -R '^(foo|bar|buzz)$'

See also man ctest.

Alternatively, each test consists of a C source file and a .run file, which is a shell script. To run an individual basic test outside the harness:

cd $rr/src/test
bash $test

To run a non-basic test:

cd $rr/src/test
bash $

To run a non-basic test in 32-bit mode:

cd $rr/src/test
bash $ $test_32

Interpreting output of failing tests with verbose output


Watch out for a line like 171: timeout 120 exceeded. That means a single recording or replaying of a test controlled by test-monitor took longer than 120 seconds. This can happen if some tests are run at aged hardware. Or the test really got stuck - maybe compare it with the running time of a working git revision or system.

If test-monitor hits this timeout it appends a huge amount of information describing the current state of the current processes still running. And following is the attempt to kill the test processes and might lead to a rr crash, which is just caused by gdb inducing the force_close_record_session into rr being in an bad state for it. The maybe more helpful information is the backtraces that get written before the force_close_record_session.

Sometime the diagnostic process test-monitor use to print the status of the process may also hang which causes the whole test run to hang indefinitely. While this behavior may be useful for manually attaching a debugger to identify the problem, the environment variable RR_TEST_DIAGNOSE_TIMEOUT can be used to set a timeout (in seconds) for each of the diagnostic process and allow the whole test suite to proceed.