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Intrusive GDB Symbol Lookup when debugging remotely


I'm trying to determine if there exists an alternative solution, or a patch for the following problem, or if someone familiar with the GDB source can estimate how much work it would be to implement a patch. Any advice would be welcome and appreciated.


GDB running on a Sun Solaris machine.
GDBServer running on a PowerPC Linux machine
The application is running on the target in GDBServer and GDB is connected to the target using "target remote x.x.x.x:y"


While the target is running, I don't think it is possible to examine the symbol table from within gdb without sending an interrupt signal to GDB. This is a problem because users (and frontends) don't seem to be able to look up symbols in the symbol table in GDB without interrupting the target.

In theory, it would be possible to stop the interrupt being propogated to the server and hence the target could remain running without interruption. One possible way of solving this would be to use a different signal as a "Non-intrusive interrupt" or "Local Interrupt". The symbol lookup can occur, and then gdb resumes. This would imply gdb would need to know if its running in "Local" or "Remote" mode to prevent operations trying to access the target.

An alternative mechanism could be to have a separate thread that runs and is signalled for non-intrusive operations.

You might ask why not just run a separate gdb instance to do this kind of look up? However, I am dealing with large executables where loading separate instances for the sake of a symbol lookup is neither efficient, timely or practical.

I would very much appreciate discussion on this topic with regard to feasibility, if its been done already or how much effort it would be to implement this type of functionality.

Dave Trollope

                Dave Trollope
             Lucent Technologies
           Tel/Fax: +1 630 713 9110

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