collecting data from a coring process

Paul Marquess
Fri Aug 26 12:33:00 GMT 2016

From: vijay nag [] 
> Sent: 26 August 2016 13:02
> To: Paul Marquess <>
> Cc:
> Subject: Re: collecting data from a coring process
> On Fri, Aug 26, 2016 at 2:36 PM, Paul Marquess <> wrote:
> > I have an existing Linux application that uses gdb to collect data from a process if it cores. Currently I've been doing that with gdb after the core is written to disk. No problem there.
> >
> > The requirements have now changed and it won't be possible to allow the core file to be written to disk. That means I need a way to (somehow) get gdb to collect the data while the process is still in memory.
> >
> > My first thought was to add a script in /proc/sys/kernel/core_pattern 
> > to catch the process as it is coring. Then I get gdb to attach to the 
> > PID of the process that is about to core. Unfortunately, when I tried 
> > that, gdb gives me this error
> >
> >     Unable to attach: program terminated with signal SIGSEGV, Segmentation fault.
> >     No stack.
> >
> > That seems to imply that by the time /proc/sys/kernel/core_pattern kicks in it is too late to use the PID with gdb.
> >
> > Anyone know of a way to do this? Preferably one that doesn't involve changing the process itself.
> >
> > cheers
> > Paul
> You can do one of the following
> 1) Why not dump the information that you are looking for into a file in the process signal handler ?

Would love to, but I have no idea what state the process is in once the SEGV has been triggered. Just taking pointes as an example, once in the signal handler I'm in a situation where I can't trust that any pointer contains a valid value. A quick search suggests I can guard against that by using a signal handler. But I'm already in one! If there is some prior art that shows how to safely dump data from a process once a SEGV has been triggered it would make my day.

For now, using gdb means I'm isolated from the risk of the data collection crashing the process again inside the signal handler.

> 2) RTFM core file piping on linux (Probably you've done this already

Looked, but did not find anything.

> ?) - The idea may seem dangerous, but you can try inserting sleep in the script for sometime till you gather whatever information that is required.

Not sure what you mean by this. Can you elaborate please?


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