This page collects useful notes on testing GDB, including running the GDB testsuite.

Caveat emptor

Jim Blandy had the following insight at the gdb-patches@ mailing list about analyzing testsuite results:

One unfortunate characteristic of the GDB testsuite is that, even if GDB is horribly broken, many tests will still pass.  You can't have much confidence that things are basically working with 356 failures. You should look through gdb.log and work through a bunch of them to get a feel for the state of things.

Running GDB under Valgrind in the testsuite

$ cd testsuite
$ runtest --tool gdb GDB="valgrind ../gdb"


$ make check RUNTESTFLAGS='"valgrind ../gdb"'

Suitably augment the Valgrind command line as desired.

Passing an option to GCC

Sometimes it is useful to pass a specific option to GCC. For example, you might want to run the test suite using -gdwarf-4:

make check RUNTESTFLAGS="--target_board=unix/gdb:debug_flags=-gdwarf-4"

Changing the compiler used to build the testcases

make check RUNTESTFLAGS='--target_board="unix/-m32" CC_FOR_TARGET="/path/to/some/other/gcc"'

Running massif

If you run massif (the valgrind memory profiler) on GDB, you will quickly see that GDB uses a number of wrapper functions when calling memory allocators. This list of massif options has proven useful to see what is really happening:


The Awk Regression Index (ARI)

The ARI stands for Awk Regression index and is a script (named that is run once a day by the machine on which the website is.

The result of this script is transformed into a web page:

Most used files are accessible at the bottom of the web page, in particular is at:

Testing gdbserver in a native configuration

To run gdbserver on your local machine:

  1. Create an empty file named site.exp.
  2. Create a directory named boards in the same location as site.exp.
  3. Create a file named native-gdbserver.exp in the boards directory (see below).
  4. Set the DEJAGNU environment variable to point to the empty site.exp.
  5. Run the testsuite with make check-gdb RUNTESTFLAGS="--target_board native-gdbserver".

Native Board File

# gdbserver running native.

load_generic_config "gdbserver"
process_multilib_options ""

# The default compiler for this target.
set_board_info compiler "[find_gcc]"

# This gdbserver can only run a process once per session.
set_board_info gdb,do_reload_on_run 1

# There's no support for argument-passing (yet).
set_board_info noargs 1

# Can't do input (or output) in the current gdbserver.
set_board_info gdb,noinferiorio 1

# gdbserver does not intercept target file operations and perform them
# on the host.
set_board_info gdb,nofileio 1

# Can't do hardware watchpoints, in general.
set_board_info gdb,no_hardware_watchpoints 1

set_board_info sockethost "localhost:"
set_board_info use_gdb_stub 1

# We will be using the standard GDB remote protocol.
set_board_info gdb_protocol "remote"
# Test the copy of gdbserver in the build directory.
set_board_info gdb_server_prog "../gdbserver/gdbserver"

proc ${board}_spawn { board cmd } {
  global board_info

  set baseboard [lindex [split $board "/"] 0]

  set board_info($baseboard,isremote) 0
  set result [remote_spawn $board $cmd]
  set board_info($baseboard,isremote) 1

  return $result

proc ${board}_download { board host dest } {
  return $host

proc ${board}_file { dest op args } {
    if { $op == "delete" } {
        return 0
    return [eval [list standard_file $dest $op] $args]

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