gdb doesn't work very well with dynamic linked binaries

Mark Kettenis
Thu Sep 7 03:09:00 GMT 2000

   Date: Thu, 7 Sep 2000 04:55:38 -0400
   From: James Cownie <>

   Mark Kettenis wrote :-
     I'm not sure whether the debug registers are
     per-thread or per-VM-space in Linux.  I'll probably need to look into
     the kernel source.

   To save you the time, they are per-thread, just like all the 
   other process' registers.

Thanks, that was what I suspected from looking at the code.

   They are conceptually saved and restored on process scheduling
   events (which for linuxthreads is the same thing as thread 
   scheduling events, since linuxthreads _are_ processes as far as
   the scheduler is concerned).

Yep.  This means that getting HW watchpoints working for
multi-threaded processes is a bit difficult, since GDB expects them to
be process-wide.  So any HW watchpoints will have to be inserted in
*all* threads, not just one as we do now.

Eli, this probably means that adding the debugging registers to GDB's
register cache isn't a good idea.  Something more specialized is
needed, i.e. a native-dependent interface that updates the address and
control register in all threads.  This might implicate that keeping
the actual HW watchpoint support a native-only thing is a good idea.

   The bug I mentioned previously is exactly that they're getting
   cleared by the kernel and then not getting restored on return
   to user space, leaving them wrong until the next reschedule :-(

I think I understand the problems now.  It basically means that one
cannot reliably watch area's that are somehow used in system calls.

I suspect that Linux isn't the only kernel with this bug.  AFAICS
FreeBSD also simply disables any (user-space) watchpoints triggered
from within the kernel.  I don't know what the various x86 System V's
(Solaris, SCO Open Server 5) do, but I wouldn't be surprised if it is
broken there too.


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