gdb - The GNU Debugger
- [-help] [-nx] [-q] [-batch]
[-cd=dir] [-f] [-b bps]
[-tty=dev] [-s symfile] [-e
prog] [-se prog] [-c core] [-x
cmds] [-d dir] [prog
- [options] --args prog
The purpose of a debugger such as GDB is to allow you to see what is going on
``inside'' another program while it executes—or what another program was
doing at the moment it crashed.
GDB can do four main kinds of things (plus other things in support of these) to
help you catch bugs in the act:
- Start your program, specifying anything that might affect
- Make your program stop on specified conditions.
- Examine what has happened, when your program has stopped.
- Change things in your program, so you can experiment with
correcting the effects of one bug and go on to learn about another.
You can use GDB to debug programs written in C, C++, and Modula-2. Fortran
support will be added when a GNU Fortran compiler is ready.
GDB is invoked with the shell command gdb
. Once started, it reads
commands from the terminal until you tell it to exit with the GDB command
. You can get online help from gdb
itself by using the
You can run gdb
with no arguments or options; but the most usual way to
start GDB is with one argument or two, specifying an executable program as the
You can also start with both an executable program and a core file specified:
gdb program core
You can, instead, specify a process ID as a second argument, if you want to
debug a running process:
gdb program 1234
would attach GDB to process 1234
(unless you also have a file named
'; GDB does check for a core file first).
Here are some of the most frequently needed GDB commands:
- break [file:]function
- Set a breakpoint at function (in file).
- run [arglist]
- Start your program (with arglist, if
- Backtrace: display the program stack.
- print expr
- Display the value of an expression.
- Continue running your program (after stopping, e.g. at a
- Execute next program line (after stopping); step
over any function calls in the line.
- edit [file:]function
- look at the program line where it is presently
- list [file:]function
- type the text of the program in the vicinity of where it is
- Execute next program line (after stopping); step
into any function calls in the line.
- help [name]
- Show information about GDB command name, or general
information about using GDB.
- Exit from GDB.
For full details on GDB, see Using GDB: A Guide to the GNU Source-Level
, by Richard M. Stallman and Roland H. Pesch. The same text is
available online as the gdb
entry in the info
Any arguments other than options specify an executable file and core file (or
process ID); that is, the first argument encountered with no associated option
flag is equivalent to a `-se
' option, and the second, if any, is
equivalent to a `-c
' option if it's the name of a file. Many options
have both long and short forms; both are shown here. The long forms are also
recognized if you truncate them, so long as enough of the option is present to
be unambiguous. (If you prefer, you can flag option arguments with `+
rather than `-
', though we illustrate the more usual convention.)
All the options and command line arguments you give are processed in sequential
order. The order makes a difference when the `-x
' option is used.
- -b bps
- Set the line speed (baud rate or bits per second) of any
serial interface used by GDB for remote debugging.
- Run in batch mode. Exit with status 0 after
processing all the command files specified with `-x' (and
`.gdbinit', if not inhibited). Exit with nonzero status if an error
occurs in executing the GDB commands in the command files.
Batch mode may be useful for running GDB as a filter, for example to
download and run a program on another computer; in order to make this more
useful, the message
Program exited normally.
(which is ordinarily issued whenever a program running under GDB control
terminates) is not issued when running in batch mode.
- -c FILE, -core=FILE
- Use file file as a core dump to examine.
- Run GDB using directory as its working directory,
instead of the current directory.
- -d DIRECTORY, -directory=DIRECTORY
- Add directory to the path to search for source
- -e FILE, -exec=FILE
- Use file file as the executable file to execute when
appropriate, and for examining pure data in conjunction with a core dump.
- -f, -fullname
- Emacs sets this option when it runs GDB as a subprocess. It
tells GDB to output the full file name and line number in a standard,
recognizable fashion each time a stack frame is displayed (which includes
each time the program stops). This recognizable format looks like two
` 32' characters, followed by the file name, line number and
character position separated by colons, and a newline. The Emacs-to-GDB
interface program uses the two ` 32' characters as a signal
to display the source code for the frame.
- -h, -help
- List all options, with brief explanations.
- -n, -nx
- Do not execute commands from any `.gdbinit'
initialization files. Normally, the commands in these files are executed
after all the command options and arguments have been processed.
- -s FILE, -symbols=FILE
- Read symbol table from file file.
- Read symbol table from file file and use it as the
- q, -quiet
- ``Quiet''. Do not print the introductory and copyright
messages. These messages are also suppressed in batch mode.
- Run using device for your program's standard input
- Pass arguments after the program name to the program
when it is run.
- Run GDB using a text (console) user interface.
- Enable writing into executable and core files.
- -x FILE, -command=FILE
- Execute GDB commands from file file.
' entry in info
; Using GDB: A Guide to the GNU Source-Level
, Richard M. Stallman and Roland H. Pesch, July 1991.
Copyright (c) 1991, 2010 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this manual
provided the copyright notice and this permission notice are preserved on all
Permission is granted to copy and distribute modified versions of this manual
under the conditions for verbatim copying, provided that the entire resulting
derived work is distributed under the terms of a permission notice identical
to this one.
Permission is granted to copy and distribute translations of this manual into
another language, under the above conditions for modified versions, except
that this permission notice may be included in translations approved by the
Free Software Foundation instead of in the original English.