MirBSD manpage: ddb(4)

DDB(4)                     BSD Programmer's Manual                      DDB(4)


     ddb - kernel debugger


     The ddb debugger provides a means for debugging the kernel, and analysing
     the kernel after a system crash ("panic"), with a gdb(1)-like syntax.

     ddb is only available if the kernel was configured with the DDB option.
     ddb will be invoked upon a kernel panic when the sysctl(8) name ddb.panic
     is set to 1. ddb may be invoked from the console by the key sequence Ctl-
     Alt-Esc or by sending a BREAK if using a serial console, when the
     sysctl(8) name ddb.console is set to 1.

     ddb prompts for commands on the console with:


     The general syntax of a ddb command is:

           command [/modifiers] [address][,count]

     To save typing, ddb makes use of a context inferred from previous com-
     mands. In this context, the current location is called dot. The examine,
     search, and write commands update dot to be that of the last address ex-
     amined or the last location modified, and have intuitive effects on next
     and prev. All the other commands do not change dot, and set next to be
     the same. (See VARIABLES.)

     An expression can be used in place of address (see EXPRESSIONS). Omitting
     address in a command uses the last value of dot. A missing count is taken
     to be 1 for printing commands or Infinity for stack traces. Entering a
     blank line causes the last command to be repeated using next in place of
     address, a count of 1, and no modifiers.

     ddb has a feature like more(1) for the output. If the number of lines
     output in response to one command exceeds the number set in the $lines
     variable, it displays the message '--db_more--' and waits for a response.

     The valid responses are:

                One more page.
                One more line.
           q    Abort the current command, and return to the command input

     The following command line editing keys are provided:

           ^b   back one character
           ^f   forward one character
           ^a   beginning of line
           ^e   end of line
           ^w   erase word back
           ^h | <del>
                erase previous character
           ^d   erase next character
           ^k   delete to end of line
           ^u   delete line
           ^p   previous in command history
           ^n   next in command history
           ^r   redraw line


     The following commands may be typed at the 'ddb>' prompt. Some commands
     consist of more than one word, and if only the first word or words are
     entered, the possible alternatives to complete the command are displayed
     and no other action is performed.

          List the available commands.

     [e]x[amine] [/bhlaAxzodurcsmiI] [addr][,count]
          Display the contents at address addr according to the formats in the
          modifier. Multiple modifier formats display multiple locations. If
          no format is specified, the last formats specified for this command
          are used.

          The format characters are:

          /b    look at by bytes (8 bits)
          /h    look at by half words (16 bits)
          /l    look at by long words (32 bits) (default)
          /a    print the location being displayed
          /A    print the location with a line number if possible
          /x    display in unsigned hex
          /z    display in signed hex
          /o    display in unsigned octal
          /d    display in signed decimal
          /u    display in unsigned decimal
          /r    display in current radix, signed
          /c    display low 8 bits as a character. Non-printing characters are
                displayed as an octal escape code (e.g., '\000').
          /s    display the null-terminated string at the location. Non-
                printing characters are displayed as octal escapes.
          /m    display in unsigned hex with character dump at the end of each
                line. The location is also displayed in hex at the beginning
                of each line.
          /i    display as an instruction
          /I    display as an alternate format instruction depending on the

                vax       Don't assume that each external label is a procedure
                          entry mask.
                i386      Don't round to the next long word boundary.
                mips      Print register contents.

          The value of next is set to the addr plus the size of the data exam-

     xf   Examine forward. Execute an examine command with the last specified
          parameters to it except that the next address displayed by it is
          used as the start address.

     xb   Examine backward. Execute an examine command with the last specified
          parameters to it except that the last start address subtracted by
          the size displayed by it is used as the start address.

     print [/axzodurc] [addr [addr ...]]
          Print each addr according to the modifier character. The valid
          modifiers are a subset of those from the examine command, and act as
          described there. If no modifier is specified, the last one specified
          in a previous use of print is used. The addr argument can be a
          string, and it is printed as a literal.

          For example,

                print/x "eax = " $eax "\necx = " $ecx "\n"

          will print something like this:

                eax = xxxxxx
                ecx = yyyyyy

     w[rite] [/bhl] [addr] expr [expr ...]
          Write the value of each expr expression at succeeding locations
          start at addr. The write unit size can be specified using one of the

                /b    byte (8 bits)
                /h    half word (16 bits)
                /l    long word (32 bits) (default)

          The value of next is set to addr plus the size of values written.

          Warning: since there is no delimiter between expressions, the com-
          mand may not parse as you expect. It is best to enclose each expres-
          sion in parentheses.

     set $name [=] expr
          Set the named variable or register with the value of expr. Valid
          variable names are described below.

     boot how
          Reboot the machine depending on how:

          boot sync      Sync disks and reboot.
          boot crash     Dump core and reboot.
          boot dump      Sync disks, dump core and reboot.
          boot halt      Just halt.
          boot reboot    Just reboot.
          boot poweroff  Power down the machine whenever possible; if it
                         fails, just halt.

     break [/u] [addr][,count]
          Set a break point at addr. If count is supplied, ddb allows the
          breakpoint to be silently hit (count - 1) times before stopping at
          the break point.

          If the break point is successfully set, a break point number is
          displayed, in the form #number. This can later be used in deleting
          the break point or for adding conditions to it.

          When the /u modifier is specified, addr is taken as a user space ad-
          dress. Without it, the address is considered as a kernel space ad-
          dress. Wrong space addresses are rejected with an error message. The
          /u modifier can be used only if it is supported by machine dependent

          Warning: if a user text is shadowed by a normal user space debugger,
          user space break points may not work correctly. Setting a breakpoint
          at the low-level code paths may also cause strange behavior.

     d[elete] [addr | #number]
          Delete the break point set with the break command.

     s[tep] [/p] [,count]
          Single step count times. If the /p modifier is specified, print each
          instruction at each step. Otherwise, only print the last instruc-

          Warning: depending on machine type, it may not be possible to
          single-step through some low-level code paths or user space code. On
          machines with software-emulated single-stepping (e.g., pmax), step-
          ping through code executed by interrupt handlers will probably do
          the wrong thing.

     call name(expr [, expr ...] )
          Call the function named by name with the argument(s) listed in
          parentheses. Parentheses may be omitted if the function takes no ar-
          guments. The number of arguments is currently limited to 10.

     c[ontinue] [/c]
          Continue execution until a breakpoint or watchpoint. If the /c
          modifier is given, instructions are counted while executing. Some
          machines (e.g., pmax) also count loads and stores.

          Warning: when counting with /c, ddb is really silently single-
          stepping. This means that single-stepping on low-level code may
          cause strange behavior.

     watch addr [,size]
          Set a watchpoint for the region starting at addr. Execution stops
          and control returns to ddb when an attempt is made to modify a
          watched region. The size argument defaults to 4.

          If you specify a wrong space address, the request is rejected with
          an error message.

          Warning: attempts to watch wired kernel memory may cause an unrecov-
          erable error on some systems (e.g., i386). Watchpoints on user ad-
          dresses work best.

     dwatch addr
          Delete the watchpoint at address addr that was previously set with a
          watch command.

     hangman [/s[0-9]]
          This is a tiny and handy tool for random kernel hangs analysis, of
          which its depth is controlled by the optional argument of the de-
          fault value of five. It uses some sophisticated heuristics to spot
          the global symbol that caused the hang. Since the discovering algo-
          rithm is a probabilistic one, you may spend substantial time to fig-
          ure the exact symbol name. This smart thing requires a little of
          your attention, the input it accepts is mostly of the same format as
          that of the famous hangman(6) game, to which it, apparently, is ob-
          liged by the name. Hint: the nm(1) utility might help.

     until [/p]
          Stop at the next "call" or "return" instruction. If the /p modifier
          is specified, ddb prints the call nesting depth and the cumulative
          instruction count at each call or return. Otherwise, it stays silent
          until the matching return is hit.

     match [/p]
          Stop at the next matching return instruction. If the /p modifier is
          specified, ddb prints the call nesting depth and the cumulative in-
          struction count at each call or return. Otherwise, it remains mostly

     next [/p]
          The next command is a synonym for match.

     trace [/u] [frameaddr][,count]
          Show the stack trace. The /u modifier shows the stack trace of user
          space; if omitted, the kernel stack is traced instead. The count ar-
          gument is the limit on the number of frames to be followed. If count
          is omitted, all frames are printed.

          Warning: user space stack trace is valid only if the machine depen-
          dent code supports it.

     search [/bhl] [addr] value [mask] [,count]
          Search memory for a value beginning at addr. This command might fail
          in interesting ways if it doesn't find the searched-for value. This
          is because ddb doesn't always recover from touching bad memory. The
          optional count argument limits the search. The modifiers are the
          same as those of the write command.

          The next address is set to the address where value is found, or just
          after where the search area finishes.

     show what
          Displays various things, depending on what:

          show breaks
                Prints a list of all breakpoints that have been set with the
                break command.

          show extents
                Prints a detailed list of all extents.

          show malloc [addr]
                Prints malloc debugging information if available. If an op-
                tional address is specified, only information about that ad-
                dress is printed.

          show map [/f] addr
                Prints the vm_map at addr. If the /f modifier is specified the
                complete map is printed.

          show object [/f] addr
                Prints the vm_object at addr. If the /f modifier is specified
                the complete object is printed.

          show page [/f] addr
                Prints the vm_page at addr. If the /f modifier is specified
                the complete page is printed.

          show pool [/clp] addr
                Prints the pool at addr. Valid modifiers:
                /c   Print the cachelist and its statistics for this pool.
                /l   Print the log entries for this pool.
                /p   Print the pagelist for this pool.

          show proc [addr]
                Prints the struct proc at addr. If an optional address is not
                specified curproc is assumed.

          show registers [/u]
                Display the register set. If the /u modifier is specified, it
                displays user registers (or the currently saved registers) in-
                stead of the kernel's. Note: The /u modifier is not supported
                on every machine, in which case incorrect information may be

          show uvmexp
                Displays a selection of uvm counters and statistics.

          show watches
                Displays all watchpoints set with the watch command.

          show all procs [/anw]
                Display information on all processes.

                /n   (Default) Show process information in a ps(1)-like for-
                     mat. Information printed includes process ID, parent pro-
                     cess ID, process group, UID, process status, process
                     flags, process command name, and process wait channel
                /a   Shows the kernel virtual addresses of each process' proc
                     structure, u-area, and vmspace structure. The vmspace ad-
                     dress is also the address of the process' vm_map struc-
                     ture and can be used in the show map command.
                /w   Shows each process' PID, command, system call emulation,
                     wait channel address, and wait channel message.

          show all callout
                Display the contents of the callout table.

          A synonym for the show all callout command.

     ps [/anw]
          A synonym for show all procs.


     ddb denotes registers and variables by $name. Register names can be found
     with the show registers command.

     Some variable names are suffixed with numbers, and some may have a modif-
     ier following a colon immediately after the variable name. For example,
     register variables can have the ':u' modifier to indicate a user register
     (e.g., '$eax:u').

     Built-in debugger variables currently supported are:
                Input and output radix.
                Addresses are printed as symbol+offset unless offset is
                greater than $maxoff.
                The width of the displayed lines.
                The number of lines to page. This is used by the "more"
                Tab stop width.
                Work variables. The suffix xx is a number from 0 to 31.


     Almost all expression operators in C are supported except for '~', '^',
     and unary '&'. Special rules for expressions in ddb are:
                The name of a symbol. It is translated to the address (or
                value) of the symbol. '.' and ':' can be used in the identif-
                ier. The following can be accepted as an identifier, if sup-
                ported by an object format dependent routine:
                      [filename:]func [:linenumber]
                      [filename:] variable
                      filename [:linenumber]
                The symbol may be prefixed with 'symboltablename::' (e.g.,
                'emulator::mach_msg_trap') to specify other than kernel sym-
                The radix is determined by the first two letters: '0x': hex,
                '0o': octal, '0t': decimal, otherwise, the value of $radix is
           .    dot: the current address.
           +    next: the next address.
           ..   The address of the start of the last line examined. Unlike dot
                or next, this is only changed by the examine or write command.
           '    The last address explicitly specified.
                The value of a register or variable. The name may be followed
                by a ':' and modifiers as described above with identifier.
           expr # expr
                A binary operator which rounds up the left hand side to the
                next multiple of right hand side.
                Indirection. It may be followed by a ':' and modifiers as
                described above.


     gdb(1), nm(1), sysctl.conf(5), hangman(6), kgdb(7), crash(8), sysctl(8),
     extent(9), pool(9), uvm(9)


     This kernel facility first appeared in MACH 2 operating system developed
     by CMU. Hangman (which stands for "hangs maniacal analyzer") first ap-
     peared in OpenBSD 1.2.

MirBSD #10-current            November 30, 1993                              6

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