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Re: Hardware watchpoints; dealing with false triggers?
- From: Eli Zaretskii <eliz at is dot elta dot co dot il>
- To: Orjan Friberg <orjan dot friberg at axis dot com>
- Cc: gdb-patches at sources dot redhat dot com
- Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2001 17:00:56 +0200 (IST)
- Subject: Re: Hardware watchpoints; dealing with false triggers?
On Thu, 29 Nov 2001, Orjan Friberg wrote:
> I'm wondering how/if gdb deals with false hardware watchpoint triggers.
In general, there shouldn't be any. If you have lots of false triggers,
you will be in trouble, since the higher-level code of GDB cannot cope
with that very well.
So the low-level watchpoint support should do whatever it takes to
eliminate the possibility of false hits.
> I've looked at the i386 hardware watchpoint implementation in gdb, and
> read chapter 15 of the Intel Architecture Software Developer's Manual
> Volume 3 about the debug registers, but I can't tell if it's susceptible
> to false triggers.
AFAIK, the x86 watchpoint support doesn't cause false triggers, except in
one case: if you use `rwatch'. x86 debug support doesn't support
read-only watchpoints, only read-write or write-only watchpoints. To
emulate rwatch, GDB's higher-level code has some kludgey work-arounds (it
checks whether the value changed or not), which I had hard time
convincing Michael Snyder to accept, and rightfully so.
> The i386 breakpoint registers can only deal with 1,
> 2, and 4-byte sized areas, so watching a 4-byte aligned 3-byte struct
> seems to use two of the i386's debug registers (watching 2 and 1 bytes,
> But consider the following: say your watchpoint registers can only watch
> 4-byte aligned areas of 4 bytes, but you want to rwatch (or awatch) an
> unaligned variable of size 4 bytes. You'd have to use two watchpoint
> registers, both covering too much, like this:
> Variable to watch: | 0 1 2 3 |
> Watchpoints: | 0 1 2 3 | 0 1 2 3 |
> wp1 wp2
This shouldn't happen, and it indeed does not happen with x86. x86 uses
2 debug registers in this case, like so:
Variable to watch: | 0 1 2 3 |
Watchpoints: | 0 1 | 0 1 |
If the variable is only single-byte aligned, x86 would use 3 debug
registers to cover it: the first one watching 1 byte, and two others
watching 2 bytes each.
> Now, say a there's a read of wp1's byte 0. The hardware would trigger,
> but it would be a false trigger. Gdb would somehow have to find out the
> actual address that was read and if it was found to be outside of the
> variable's range it would not trigger the watchpoint.
You can't do that, at least not with x86 debug registers: when a
watchpoint triggers, you don't know what byte of its covered memory was
written to. All you know is that memory covered by a specific register
was written. In other words, the Debug Status register has only one bit
for each of the 4 debug registers, to tell you which of the registers'
watchpoints triggered; but it doesn't tell you what bytes were modified.
> there any major obstacles for implementing such target-dependent false
> trigger handling in gdb?
IIRC, no. If you cannot do something similar to what x86 does, I think
you are in for a bumpy ride, as GDB doesn't handle such problems very
well. Your best bet would be to solve this in the target-specific
Do you really have such a strange target? Can you tell the details?