/ (slash) command : fast way to temporarily change setting(s) to run a command

Philippe Waroquiers philippe.waroquiers@skynet.be
Mon Apr 15 07:33:00 GMT 2019

GDB has a lot of settings related to how commands behaves and/or print things.
There is however currently no easy way to temporarily change a setting
for a command.

The proposed new / command allows to temporarily change
the settings in order to execute another command.
A simple example:
 By default, 'set print pretty on|off' is off.
 To temporarily pretty
print something, today, you have to do:
   (gdb) set print pretty on
   (gdb) print
   (gdb) set print pretty off
 With the / command:
   (gdb) /p print something

The objective for this / command is to be fast to type, so it uses
1 or 2 letters codes to identify which settings(s) to temporarily set.
See the proposed user manual at
and the patch at

Several settings can be changed at once:
   (gdb) /lAai print some_array
is the equivalent of:
   (gdb) set language ada
   (gdb) set print array on
   (gdb) set print array-indexes on
   (gdb) print some_array
   (gdb) set language auto
   (gdb) set print array off
   (gdb) set print array-indexes off

An advantage of this approach is that the same options
are usable for all commands.
For example, you can use:
   (gdb) /lAai backtrace full
so that what backtrace prints is temporarily using
the settings identified by /lAai.

The full list of currently changeable settings is given
in the 'help /' below.

Feedback/comments/... welcome


(gdb) help /
Temporarily changes settings according to SETTING, run COMMAND,
and then restore the settings to their previous values.
Each temporarily changeable setting is identified by a unique sequence
of one or more letters.
A boolean setting is temporarily activated (set to "on") by giving
its sequence of letters.  If the boolean sequence of letters is prefixed
by !, the boolean setting is deactivated (set to "off").
An integer setting is temporarily changed by using its sequence of letters
optionally prefixed by the temporary value desired.
If no prefix value is given before the integer setting letters,
the integer setting is temporarily changed to an unlimited value.
An enum setting is temporarily changed by giving its sequence of letters
followed by a letter designating the chosen enum value.
  /100e!ai print some_array
is equivalent to:
  # save current values of the settings set print elements/array/array-index.
  set print elements 100
  set print array off
  set print array-index on
  print some_array
  # restore the saved values of the changed settings.
The temporarily changeable settings are:
/Be       set backtrace past-entry       Boolean on|off
/Bl       set backtrace limit            Unsigned integer (0 means unlimited)
/Bm       set backtrace past-main        Boolean on|off
/Co       set print object               Boolean on|off
/Cs       set print static-members       Boolean on|off
/Cv       set print vtbl                 Boolean on|off
/Pa       set print address              Boolean on|off
/Ps       set print symbol               Boolean on|off
/Rf       set print raw frame-arguments  Boolean on|off
/a        set print array                Boolean on|off
/e        set print elements             Unsigned integer (0 means unlimited)
/f[asn]   set print frame-arguments      Enum, a = all, s = scalars, n = none
/i        set print array-indexes        Boolean on|off
/l[aluAscCdfgmMOo] set language          Enum, a = auto, l = local,
                                u = unknown, A = ada, s = asm, c = c, C = c++,
                                d = d, f = fortran, g = go, m = minimal,
                                M = modula-2, O = objective-c, o = opencl
/n        set print null-stop            Boolean on|off
/p        set print pretty               Boolean on|off
/r        set print repeats              Unsigned integer (0 means unlimited)
/u        set print union                Boolean on|off
/v        set varsize-limit              Unsigned integer (0 means unlimited)

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