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1 Overview of Stabs

Stabs refers to a format for information that describes a program to a debugger. This format was apparently invented by Peter Kessler at the University of California at Berkeley, for the pdx Pascal debugger; the format has spread widely since then.

This document is one of the few published sources of documentation on stabs. It is believed to be comprehensive for stabs used by C. The lists of symbol descriptors (see Symbol Descriptors) and type descriptors (see Type Descriptors) are believed to be completely comprehensive. Stabs for COBOL-specific features and for variant records (used by Pascal and Modula-2) are poorly documented here.

Other sources of information on stabs are Dbx and Dbxtool Interfaces, 2nd edition, by Sun, 1988, and AIX Version 3.2 Files Reference, Fourth Edition, September 1992, "dbx Stabstring Grammar" in the a.out section, page 2-31. This document is believed to incorporate the information from those two sources except where it explicitly directs you to them for more information.