Machine Code (Debugging with GDB)

From Get docs

9.6 Source and Machine Code

You can use the command info line to map source lines to program addresses (and vice versa), and the command disassemble to display a range of addresses as machine instructions. You can use the command set disassemble-next-line to set whether to disassemble next source line when execution stops. When run under GNU Emacs mode, the info line command causes the arrow to point to the line specified. Also, info line prints addresses in symbolic form as well as hex.

info line

info line location

Print the starting and ending addresses of the compiled code for source line location. You can specify source lines in any of the ways documented in Specify Location. With no location information about the current source line is printed.

For example, we can use info line to discover the location of the object code for the first line of function m4_changequote:

(gdb) info line m4_changequote
Line 895 of "builtin.c" starts at pc 0x634c <m4_changequote> and \
        ends at 0x6350 <m4_changequote+4>.

We can also inquire (using *addr as the form for location) what source line covers a particular address:

(gdb) info line *0x63ff
Line 926 of "builtin.c" starts at pc 0x63e4 <m4_changequote+152> and \
        ends at 0x6404 <m4_changequote+184>.

After info line, the default address for the x command is changed to the starting address of the line, so that ‘x/i’ is sufficient to begin examining the machine code (see Examining Memory). Also, this address is saved as the value of the convenience variable $_ (see Convenience Variables).

After info line, using info line again without specifying a location will display information about the next source line.


disassemble /m

disassemble /s

disassemble /r

This specialized command dumps a range of memory as machine instructions. It can also print mixed source+disassembly by specifying the /m or /s modifier and print the raw instructions in hex as well as in symbolic form by specifying the /r modifier. The default memory range is the function surrounding the program counter of the selected frame. A single argument to this command is a program counter value; GDB dumps the function surrounding this value. When two arguments are given, they should be separated by a comma, possibly surrounded by whitespace. The arguments specify a range of addresses to dump, in one of two forms:

the addresses from start (inclusive) to end (exclusive)
the addresses from start (inclusive) to start+length (exclusive).

When 2 arguments are specified, the name of the function is also printed (since there could be several functions in the given range).

The argument(s) can be any expression yielding a numeric value, such as ‘0x32c4’, ‘&main+10’ or ‘$pc - 8’.

If the range of memory being disassembled contains current program counter, the instruction at that location is shown with a => marker.

The following example shows the disassembly of a range of addresses of HP PA-RISC 2.0 code:

(gdb) disas 0x32c4, 0x32e4
Dump of assembler code from 0x32c4 to 0x32e4:
   0x32c4 <main+204>:      addil 0,dp
   0x32c8 <main+208>:      ldw 0x22c(sr0,r1),r26
   0x32cc <main+212>:      ldil 0x3000,r31
   0x32d0 <main+216>:      ble 0x3f8(sr4,r31)
   0x32d4 <main+220>:      ldo 0(r31),rp
   0x32d8 <main+224>:      addil -0x800,dp
   0x32dc <main+228>:      ldo 0x588(r1),r26
   0x32e0 <main+232>:      ldil 0x3000,r31
End of assembler dump.

Here is an example showing mixed source+assembly for Intel x86 with /m or /s, when the program is stopped just after function prologue in a non-optimized function with no inline code.

(gdb) disas /m main
Dump of assembler code for function main:
5       {
   0x08048330 <+0>:    push   %ebp
   0x08048331 <+1>:    mov    %esp,%ebp
   0x08048333 <+3>:    sub    $0x8,%esp
   0x08048336 <+6>:    and    $0xfffffff0,%esp
   0x08048339 <+9>:    sub    $0x10,%esp

6         printf ("Hello.\n");
=> 0x0804833c <+12>:   movl   $0x8048440,(%esp)
   0x08048343 <+19>:   call   0x8048284 <[email protected]>

7         return 0;
8       }
   0x08048348 <+24>:   mov    $0x0,%eax
   0x0804834d <+29>:   leave
   0x0804834e <+30>:   ret

End of assembler dump.

The /m option is deprecated as its output is not useful when there is either inlined code or re-ordered code. The /s option is the preferred choice. Here is an example for AMD x86-64 showing the difference between /m output and /s output. This example has one inline function defined in a header file, and the code is compiled with ‘-O2’ optimization. Note how the /m output is missing the disassembly of several instructions that are present in the /s output.


foo (int a)
  if (a < 0)
    return a * 2;
  if (a == 0)
    return 1;
  return a + 10;


#include "foo.h"
volatile int x, y;
main ()
  x = foo (y);
  return 0;
(gdb) disas /m main
Dump of assembler code for function main:
5   {

6     x = foo (y);
   0x0000000000400400 <+0>:   mov    0x200c2e(%rip),%eax # 0x601034 <y>
   0x0000000000400417 <+23>:  mov    %eax,0x200c13(%rip) # 0x601030 <x>

7     return 0;
8   }
   0x000000000040041d <+29>:  xor    %eax,%eax
   0x000000000040041f <+31>:  retq
   0x0000000000400420 <+32>:  add    %eax,%eax
   0x0000000000400422 <+34>:  jmp    0x400417 <main+23>

End of assembler dump.
(gdb) disas /s main
Dump of assembler code for function main:
5   {
6     x = foo (y);
   0x0000000000400400 <+0>:   mov    0x200c2e(%rip),%eax # 0x601034 <y>

4     if (a < 0)
   0x0000000000400406 <+6>:   test   %eax,%eax
   0x0000000000400408 <+8>:   js     0x400420 <main+32>

6     if (a == 0)
7       return 1;
8     return a + 10;
   0x000000000040040a <+10>:  lea    0xa(%rax),%edx
   0x000000000040040d <+13>:  test   %eax,%eax
   0x000000000040040f <+15>:  mov    $0x1,%eax
   0x0000000000400414 <+20>:  cmovne %edx,%eax

6     x = foo (y);
   0x0000000000400417 <+23>:  mov    %eax,0x200c13(%rip) # 0x601030 <x>

7     return 0;
8   }
   0x000000000040041d <+29>:  xor    %eax,%eax
   0x000000000040041f <+31>:  retq

5       return a * 2;
   0x0000000000400420 <+32>:  add    %eax,%eax
   0x0000000000400422 <+34>:  jmp    0x400417 <main+23>
End of assembler dump.

Here is another example showing raw instructions in hex for AMD x86-64,

(gdb) disas /r 0x400281,+10
Dump of assembler code from 0x400281 to 0x40028b:
   0x0000000000400281:  38 36  cmp    %dh,(%rsi)
   0x0000000000400283:  2d 36 34 2e 73 sub    $0x732e3436,%eax
   0x0000000000400288:  6f     outsl  %ds:(%rsi),(%dx)
   0x0000000000400289:  2e 32 00       xor    %cs:(%rax),%al
End of assembler dump.

Addresses cannot be specified as a location (see Specify Location). So, for example, if you want to disassemble function bar in file foo.c, you must type ‘disassemble 'foo.c'::bar’ and not ‘disassemble foo.c:bar’.

Some architectures have more than one commonly-used set of instruction mnemonics or other syntax.

For programs that were dynamically linked and use shared libraries, instructions that call functions or branch to locations in the shared libraries might show a seemingly bogus location—it’s actually a location of the relocation table. On some architectures, GDB might be able to resolve these to actual function names.

set disassembler-options option1[,option2…]

This command controls the passing of target specific information to the disassembler. For a list of valid options, please refer to the -M/--disassembler-options section of the ‘objdump’ manual and/or the output of objdump --help (see objdump in The GNU Binary Utilities). The default value is the empty string.

If it is necessary to specify more than one disassembler option, then multiple options can be placed together into a comma separated list. Currently this command is only supported on targets ARC, ARM, MIPS, PowerPC and S/390.

show disassembler-options

Show the current setting of the disassembler options.

set disassembly-flavor instruction-set

Select the instruction set to use when disassembling the program via the disassemble or x/i commands.

Currently this command is only defined for the Intel x86 family. You can set instruction-set to either intel or att. The default is att, the AT&T flavor used by default by Unix assemblers for x86-based targets.

show disassembly-flavor

Show the current setting of the disassembly flavor.

set disassemble-next-line

show disassemble-next-line

Control whether or not GDB will disassemble the next source line or instruction when execution stops. If ON, GDB will display disassembly of the next source line when execution of the program being debugged stops. This is in addition to displaying the source line itself, which GDB always does if possible. If the next source line cannot be displayed for some reason (e.g., if GDB cannot find the source file, or there’s no line info in the debug info), GDB will display disassembly of the next instruction instead of showing the next source line. If AUTO, GDB will display disassembly of next instruction only if the source line cannot be displayed. This setting causes GDB to display some feedback when you step through a function with no line info or whose source file is unavailable. The default is OFF, which means never display the disassembly of the next line or instruction.