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Complex software packages, particularly systems software, often require substantial customization before being used. Small mistakes in configuration can lead to hard-to-diagnose error messages. The authors demonstrate how to build a map from each program point to the options that might cause an error at that point. This can aid users in troubleshooting these errors without any need to install or use additional tools. Their approach relies on static dataflow analysis, meaning all the analysis is done in advance. They evaluate their work in detail on two substantial systems, Hadoop and the JChord program analysis toolkit, using failure injection and also by using log messages as a source of labeled program points. When logs and stack traces are available, they can be incorporated into the analysis.
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