Kernel Crash Logs in Chromium OS


Chromium OS used to use a home grown "ramoops" method for storing crash logs in Chromium OS.  This has been replaced by a more friendly "pstore" format.  This change happened early in the 3.0 tree. 

Kernel crash logs in Chrome OS

Chromium OS crash logs are now stored in "text files" in /dev/pstore, under the filenames "/dev/pstore/dmesg-ramoops-number", with individual files holding the most recent system logs.

Ramoops in Chromium OS -- the old and busted technique (kernel version 2.6.x and early 3.0)

Details on how ramoops works in general can be found in Documentation/ramoops.txt in the kernel (which can be viewed online here).

Ramoops has replaced preserved and uses the same memory area as it did to preserve the crash log after a reboot. 
The current values are set in the config files under CONFIG_CHROMEOS_RAMOOPS_*. At the time of the writing of this article they are set by change I9b99d433.

As described in the Ramoops documentation, the module has uses a area of memory in which it writes records. Currently, the parameters for all platforms are as follows:
  • Memory size: 0x00100000 bytes (1MB)
  • Record size: 0x00020000 bytes (128KB)
The parameters can be read at runtime from /sys/module/ramoops/parameters/*

Ramoops is capable of writing multiple records in case of a multiple successive bugs, however the current behavior is to reset on a kernel oops or panic (set by panic_on_oops in sys-apps/baselayout/files/sysctl.conf). 
This leads to the fact that only 1 record will be used on a oops/panic (because the chromebook will restart after that and the counter will be reset).
Therefore, as long as the current behavior does not change, additional data can be stored and preserved in that area after the first record.

In light of this, ellyjones turned the amount of preserved space ramoops uses down from 1MB to 512KB in, freeing up 512KB for various sinister purposes. This memory starts at address CONFIG_CHROMEOS_RAMOOPS_RAM_START + CONFIG_CHROMEOS_RAMOOPS_RAM_SIZE, and is allocated as follows:

64 bytes at offset 0: keystash (kernel/keystash.c) /dev/keystash backing store.
524224 bytes at offset 64: unallocated