Trace Driver#

This driver can be used to instantiate an xscope-based trace module in an RTOS application. The trace module currently supports both a demonstrative ASCII-mode and Percepio’s Tracealzyer on FreeRTOS. Both modes are dependent on RTOS-specific hooks/macros to handle the majority of RTOS event recording and integration.

For general usage of the FreeRTOS trace functionality please refer to FreeRTOS’ documentation here: RTOS Trace Macros

For basic information on printf debugging using xscope please refer to the tools guide here: XSCOPE debugging

Trace Configuration#

In order to use the trace driver module, the following common steps must be performed:

  1. Add rtos::drivers::trace as a linked library for the desired CMake target application.

  2. The target application’s compiler arguments must include the -fxscope option.

  3. The target application’s list of sources must include an .xscope file with the first probe specified as:

    <Probe name="freertos_trace" type="CONTINUOUS" datatype="NONE" units="NONE" enabled="true"/>
  4. Include xcore_trace.h at the end of the RTOS configuration file (i.e. FreeRTOSConfig.h).

  5. Enable both configUSE_TRACE_FACILITY and configGENERATE_RUN_TIME_STATS in FreeRTOSConfig.h.

  6. Continue reading the following sections based on which trace mode is to be used. Additional configuration steps are required.

Tracealyzer Mode#

The trace driver supports Percepio’s Tracealyzer, a feature rich tool for working with trace files. This implementation supports Tracealyzer’s streaming mode; currently, snapshot mode is not supported. The current underlying trace recording implementation interfaces with the xscope_core_bytes API function (on Probe 0).

To select Tracealyzer as the trace module’s event recorder, the following must be set. This can be applied at the CMake project level:



xcore_trace.h contains the definition for these modes.

Tracealyzer Initialization#

In addition to the configuration steps outlined above, Percepio’s Tracealyzer streaming mode needs additional function calls to start recording trace data. In the most basic use-case, the following functions should be called on the XCORE tile that is to record trace data:



xTraceInitialize must be called before any RTOS interaction (before any traced objects are being interacted with). It is advisable to call it as soon as possible in the application.

Tracealyzer Usage#

The Percepio’s Tracealzyer C-unit outputs to a stream-able file format called Percepio Streaming Format (PSF). The xscope2psf utility aids in the extraction of the PSF file from the underlying xscope communication (making it readily available on the host’s filesystem). This tool can be configured to read from a VCD (value change dump) file that is generated when specifying the xgdb option –xscope-port <ip:port>, or it can be configured as an xscope-endpoint when specifying the –xscope-port <ip:port> option. Both options can be processed by the Tracealyzer graphical tool either as a post processing step or live.


xscope2psf currently resides in a Tracealyzer example application here: example. This is likely to change in the future. Refer to either the README or the application’s help documentation for usage details.


Currently, the only supported PSF Streaming target connection type is File System. Ensure this connection type is specified under Tracealyzer’s Recording Settings.

For general usage of Tracealyzer please refer to the Percepio’s documentation here: Manual


The trace driver supports a basic ASCII mode that is primarily meant as an example for expanding support to other tracing tools/frameworks. In this mode, only the following FreeRTOS trace hooks are supported:



This implementation will produce xscope logs for the RTOS task switching. The underlying xscope API xscope_core_bytes is used for communicating this information.

To select ASCII mode as the trace module’s event recorder, the following must be set. This can be applied at the CMake project level:



xcore_trace.h contains the definition for these modes.

ASCII Mode Initialization#

No additional steps are required for ASCII mode to start recording trace events to xscope.

ASCII Mode Usage#

To begin capturing ASCII mode traces, run xgdb with the –xscope-file option. Task switching events will be recorded to the specified VCD (value change dump) file.