A core(4) file contains an image of memory at the time of software failure and is used by programmers to find the reason for the failure.
To see which program produced a core(4) file, run either the file(1) command or the adb(1) command. The following examples show the output of the file(1) and adb(1) commands on a core file from the dtmail program.
$ file core core: ELF 32-bit MSB core file SPARC Version 1, from `dtmail'
$ adb core core file = core -- program `dtmail' SIGSEGV 11: segmentation violation ^D (use Control-d to quit the program)
Some signals, such as SIGQUIT, SIGBUS, and SIGSEGV, produce a core dump. See the signal(5) man page for a complete list.
If you have the source code for the program, you can try compiling it with cc -g, and debugging it yourself using dbx or a similar debugger. The where directive of dbx provides a stack trace.
On mixed networks, it can be difficult to discern which machine architecture produced a particular core dump, since adb(1) on one type of system generally cannot read a core(4) file from another type of system and can produce an unrecognized file message. Run adb(1) on various machine architectures until you find the right one.
For information on saving and viewing crash information, see the System Administration Guide, Volume 2. If you are using AnswerBook online documentation, "system crash" is a good search string.