Utilities for debugging
Part of my daily job involves getting dirty at the assembler level, generally to debug segfaults, FPE, deadlocks and similar stuff. It's a fascinating challenge which makes me feel extremely powerful and in control of the hard, low-level technicalities of the OS, libraries and hardware I use. Most of my effort, however, would be impossible without a few tools I learned to appreciate and love through hours of solid dependency. I'm posting them here, and while the list is certainly not exhaustive, it's a starting kit for the hardcore debugger.
This nifty utility converts C++ mangled symbols into the unmangled form. A simple example is the following
$ c++filt _ZNK3MPI4File19Get_position_sharedEv MPI::File::Get_position_shared() const
More complex symbols can become unreadable in the mangled form,
especially when they arise from template instantiation. A quick pass
c++filt will make everything much clearer.
Another nifty utility in the Linux arsenal, this easy program reports the VM layout of a running process.
$ pmap 21102 21102: cat 0000000000400000 44K r-x-- /bin/cat 000000000060a000 4K r---- /bin/cat 000000000060b000 4K rw--- /bin/cat 0000000001969000 132K rw--- [ anon ] 00007f3b98aa9000 7068K r---- /usr/lib/locale/locale-archive 00007f3b99190000 1748K r-x-- /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libc-2.15.so 00007f3b99345000 2048K ----- /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libc-2.15.so 00007f3b99545000 16K r---- /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libc-2.15.so 00007f3b99549000 8K rw--- /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libc-2.15.so 00007f3b9954b000 20K rw--- [ anon ] 00007f3b99550000 136K r-x-- /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/ld-2.15.so 00007f3b99749000 12K rw--- [ anon ] 00007f3b99770000 8K rw--- [ anon ] 00007f3b99772000 4K r---- /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/ld-2.15.so 00007f3b99773000 8K rw--- /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/ld-2.15.so 00007fff18ae9000 136K rw--- [ stack ] 00007fff18bff000 4K r-x-- [ anon ] ffffffffff600000 4K r-x-- [ anon ] total 11404K
To achieve the same with a post-mortem core file, the gdb commands "info files" and "maintenance info sections" are your friends. When running, "info proc mappings" can achieve the same.
lddtree is like
ldd, but it traverses the full hierarchy, building a
tree diagram of all dependencies. It is available on Ubuntu in the
$ lddtree /bin/ls ls => /bin/ls (interpreter => /lib64/ld-linux-x86-64.so.2) libselinux.so.1 => /lib/i386-linux-gnu/libselinux.so.1 libdl.so.2 => /lib/i386-linux-gnu/libdl.so.2 ld-linux.so.2 => /lib/i386-linux-gnu/ld-linux.so.2 librt.so.1 => /lib/i386-linux-gnu/librt.so.1 libpthread.so.0 => /lib/i386-linux-gnu/libpthread.so.0 libacl.so.1 => /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libacl.so.1 libattr.so.1 => /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libattr.so.1 libc.so.6 => /lib/i386-linux-gnu/libc.so.6
I am not a Windows person, but I build and debug on it rather often. With time, I gathered a few essential tools to understand the source of your problems during build, deployment and execution.
Reports events of different nature from all the processes in your system, such as disk access, registry access, and so on. I found this utility fundamental to track a strange crash that occurred in a third party closed-source library. The problem turned out to be an attempt to write to a directory that was not writable. From the website:
Process Monitor is an advanced monitoring tool for Windows that shows real-time file system, Registry and process/thread activity. It combines the features of two legacy Sysinternals utilities, Filemon and Regmon, and adds an extensive list of enhancements including rich and non-destructive filtering, comprehensive event properties such session IDs and user names, reliable process information, full thread stacks with integrated symbol support for each operation, simultaneous logging to a file, and much more. Its uniquely powerful features will make Process Monitor a core utility in your system troubleshooting and malware hunting toolkit.
An equivalent of
fuser on Linux. From the website:
Ever wondered which program has a particular file or directory open? Now you can find out. Process Explorer shows you information about which handles and DLLs processes have opened or loaded.
Extremely useful tool to see the Virtual Memory layout. It is precious to check potential fragmentation scenarios that could lead to invalid allocations.
From the website:
VMMap is a process virtual and physical memory analysis utility. It shows a breakdown of a process's committed virtual memory types as well as the amount of physical memory (working set) assigned by the operating system to those types. Besides graphical representations of memory usage, VMMap also shows summary information and a detailed process memory map.
Performs more or less the task of
lddtree on Linux and
otool on Mac.
It's invaluable to figure our which libraries or symbols are
unresolved. I soon discovered that Windows is not very verbose when it
comes to unresolved dependencies at startup. From the website:
Dependency Walker is a free utility that scans any 32-bit or 64-bit Windows module (exe, dll, ocx, sys, etc.) and builds a hierarchical tree diagram of all dependent modules. For each module found, it lists all the functions that are exported by that module, and which of those functions are actually being called by other modules. Another view displays the minimum set of required files, along with detailed information about each file including a full path to the file, base address, version numbers, machine type, debug information, and more.
Provided on a standard windows 7 installation. Another invaluable tool to understand what's going on in your program, reports error and anomalous conditions that prevent an application to start, and much more.