debugging arm executuble with gdb


I have compiled linux kernel with arm-eabi toolchain on Ubuntu. The kernel is working. Now I'd like to debug it with gdb. I tried this command: arm-eabi-gdb vmlinux

My questions: Which gdb should I use? There is a gdb in the arm-eabi (downloaded with android) toolchain. This will good? I have tried that but I have got Don't know how to run. Try "help target" error message. I tried to set breakpoint to __init_begin, this works but when I tried to start the debug with *start, run, cont* I have got this error message. attila@attila-desktop:~/Upload$ arm-eabi-gdb vmlinux GNU gdb (GDB) 7.1-android-gg2 This GDB was configured as "--host=x86_64-linux-gnu --target=arm-elf-linux". Reading symbols from /home/attila/Upload/vmlinux...(no debugging symbols found)...done. (gdb) break __init_begin Breakpoint 1 at 0xc0008000 (gdb) load vmlinux You can't do that when your target is `exec' (gdb) start Function "main" not defined. Make breakpoint pending on future shared library load? (y or [n]) n Starting program: /home/attila/Upload/vmlinux Don't know how to run. Try "help target". (gdb) cont The program is not being run. (gdb) run Starting program: /home/attila/Upload/vmlinux Don't know how to run. Try "help target".

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Kernel in not a normal executable. It needs special techniques to debug. One of them is the kernel debugger, kgdb.

Please google for 'linux kernel debugging'. There are plenty of hits.


Tauno Voipio
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Tauno Voipio




The kernel is not runnable as a classical userland executable is (that is why you cannot run it from GDB), even if the binary formats are the same (that is why you can open it in GDB, and even put a breakpoint on a symbol).

You must debug a running kernel, be it on your target hardware or an emulator, and use the proposed documentation reference.

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