Sun Studio 12: Debugging a Program With dbx

Using Runtime Checking

To use runtime checking, enable the type of checking you want to use before you run the program.

Turning On Memory Use and Memory Leak Checking

To turn on memory use and memory leak checking, type:

(dbx) check -memuse

When memory use checking or memory leak checking is turned on, the showblock command shows the details about the heap block at a given address. The details include the location of the block’s allocation and its size. For more information, see showblock Command.

Turning On Memory Access Checking

To turn on memory access checking only, type:

(dbx) check -access

Turning On All Runtime Checking

To turn on memory leak, memory use, and memory access checking, type:

(dbx) check -all

For more information, see check Command.

Turning Off Runtime Checking

To turn off runtime checking entirely, type:

(dbx) uncheck -all

For detailed information, see uncheck Command.

Running Your Program

After turning on the types of runtime checking you want, run the program being tested, with or without breakpoints.

The program runs normally, but slowly because each memory access is checked for validity just before it occurs. If dbx detects invalid access, it displays the type and location of the error. Control returns to you (unless the dbx environment variable rtc_auto_continue is set to on (see Setting dbx Environment Variables.)

You can then issue dbx commands, such as where to get the current stack trace or print to examine variables. If the error is not a fatal error, you can continue execution of the program with the cont command. The program continues to the next error or breakpoint, whichever is detected first. For detailed information, see cont Command.

If the rtc_auto_continue environment variable is set to on, runtime checking continues to find errors, and keeps running automatically. It redirects errors to the file named by the dbx environment variable rtc_error_log_file_name. (See Setting dbx Environment Variables.) The default log file name is /tmp/dbx.errlog.uniqueid.

You can limit the reporting of runtime checking errors using the suppress command. For detailed information, see suppress Command.

Below is a simple example showing how to turn on memory access and memory use checking for a program called hello.c.

% cat -n hello.c
     1 #include <stdio.h>
     2 #include <stdlib.h>
     3 #include <string.h>
     5 char *hello1, *hello2;
     7 void
     8 memory_use()
     9 {
    10      hello1 = (char *)malloc(32);
    11      strcpy(hello1, "hello world");
    12      hello2 = (char *)malloc(strlen(hello1)+1);
    13      strcpy(hello2, hello1);
    14 }
    16 void
    17 memory_leak()
    18 {
    19      char *local;
    20      local = (char *)malloc(32);
    21      strcpy(local, "hello world");
    22 }
    24 void
    25 access_error()
    26 {
    27      int i,j;
    29      i = j;
    30 }
    32 int
    33 main()
    34 {
    35      memory_use();
    36      access_error();
    37      memory_leak();
    38      printf("%s\n", hello2);
    39      return 0;
    40 }
% cc -g -o hello hello.c

% dbx -C hello

(dbx) check -access
access checking - ON
(dbx) check -memuse
memuse checking - ON
(dbx) run Running: hello
(process id 18306)
Enabling Error Checking... done
Read from uninitialized (rui):
Attempting to read 4 bytes at address 0xeffff068
     which is 96 bytes above the current stack pointer
Variable is ’j’
Current function is access_error
    29       i = j;
(dbx) cont
hello world
Checking for memory leaks...
Actual leaks report    (actual leaks:         1 total size:      32 bytes)
 Total      Num of  Leaked     Allocation call stack
 Size       Blocks  Block
==========  ====== ==========  =======================================
        32       1    0x21aa8  memory_leak < main

Possible leaks report  (possible leaks:       0  total size:      0 bytes)

Checking for memory use...
Blocks in use report   (blocks in use:        2  total size:      44 bytes

 Total     % of Num of  Avg    Allocation call stack
 Size      All  Blocks  Size
========== ==== ====== ======  =======================================
        32  72%      1     32  memory_use < main
        12  27%      1     12  memory_use < main

execution completed, exit code is 0

The function access_error() reads variable j before it is initialized. Runtime checking reports this access error as a Read from uninitialized (rui).

The function memory_leak() does not free the variable local before it returns. When memory_leak() returns, this variable goes out of scope and the block allocated at line 20 becomes a leak.

The program uses global variables hello1 and hello2, which are in scope all the time. They both point to dynamically allocated memory, which is reported as Blocks in use (biu).