DWARF 2[/3] the most advanced debugging format?

Les hlhowell at pacbell.net
Sun Jul 20 19:38:25 UTC 2008

On Sat, 2008-07-19 at 11:51 -0700, Michael Eager wrote:
> Robert P. J. Day wrote:
> >   a friend who's just getting into development on linux was reading
> > the gcc manual and ran across the variety of available debugging
> > formats here:
> > 
> > http://gcc.gnu.org/onlinedocs/gcc-4.3.0/gcc/Debugging-Options.html
> > 
> > and asked me, out of all those formats, which was the "best" one to
> > start working with.
> > 
> >   i suggested he'd be best off getting familiar with the DWARF 2
> > format, since fedora already comes with a yum-installable "dwarves"
> > package containing various DWARF-related examination utilities.
> > 
> >   that seemed like an easy answer at the time, but is there a better
> > choice?  i realize stabs is still common but, in terms of being
> > technically advanced, is DWARF 2 the most informative and most useful
> > of the formats?  thanks.
> Well, DWARF version 3 was released a few years ago.  :-)
> DWARF is an extensible, block structured debugging format.  It has
> a significant user community which is involved in upgrading and
> extending it.  Other formats, such as stabs or coff debug, are either
> not block structured, difficult to extend, limited to specific
> architectures, poorly documented, antiquated, or moribund.
> DWARF is the default debugging format for most GCC compilers,
> including those on Linux on x86 and PowerPC.  Linux migrated away
> from stabs some time ago.
> You can find an Introduction to DWARF article which I wrote a
> couple years ago on the DWARF website:  http://dwarfstd.org
> -- 
> Michael Eager	 Chair, DWARF Standards Committee   eager at eagercon.com
> 1960 Park Blvd., Palo Alto, CA 94306  650-325-8077
Thank you Michael, For a very well written paper.  I had dug into COFF
before, but had stumbled upon some of its limitations.  DWARF seems very
well thought out.  Do you think it will become as widely implemented as

Which debuggers use it effectively?

Les H

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