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13.1 Commands to Set Tracepoints

Before running such a trace experiment, an arbitrary number of tracepoints can be set. A tracepoint is actually a special type of breakpoint (see Set Breaks), so you can manipulate it using standard breakpoint commands. For instance, as with breakpoints, tracepoint numbers are successive integers starting from one, and many of the commands associated with tracepoints take the tracepoint number as their argument, to identify which tracepoint to work on.

For each tracepoint, you can specify, in advance, some arbitrary set of data that you want the target to collect in the trace buffer when it hits that tracepoint. The collected data can include registers, local variables, or global data. Later, you can use gdb commands to examine the values these data had at the time the tracepoint was hit.

Tracepoints do not support every breakpoint feature. Ignore counts on tracepoints have no effect, and tracepoints cannot run gdb commands when they are hit. Tracepoints may not be thread-specific either.

Some targets may support fast tracepoints, which are inserted in a different way (such as with a jump instead of a trap), that is faster but possibly restricted in where they may be installed.

Regular and fast tracepoints are dynamic tracing facilities, meaning that they can be used to insert tracepoints at (almost) any location in the target. Some targets may also support controlling static tracepoints from gdb. With static tracing, a set of instrumentation points, also known as markers, are embedded in the target program, and can be activated or deactivated by name or address. These are usually placed at locations which facilitate investigating what the target is actually doing. gdb's support for static tracing includes being able to list instrumentation points, and attach them with gdb defined high level tracepoints that expose the whole range of convenience of gdb's tracepoints support. Namely, support for collecting registers values and values of global or local (to the instrumentation point) variables; tracepoint conditions and trace state variables. The act of installing a gdb static tracepoint on an instrumentation point, or marker, is referred to as probing a static tracepoint marker.

gdbserver supports tracepoints on some target systems. See Tracepoints support in gdbserver.

This section describes commands to set tracepoints and associated conditions and actions.