ADB(1) General Commands Manual ADB(1)
adb - debugger (2BSD)
adb [-w] [ -k ] [ -Idir ] [ objfil [ corfil ] ]
Adb is a general purpose debugging program. It may be used to examine files and to provide a controlled environment for the execution of
Objfil is normally an executable program file, preferably containing a symbol table; if not then the symbolic features of adb cannot be
used although the file can still be examined. The default for objfil is a.out. Corfil is assumed to be a core image file produced after
executing objfil; the default for corfil is core.
Requests to adb are read from the standard input and responses are to the standard output. If the -w flag is present then both objfil and
corfil are created if necessary and opened for reading and writing so that files can be modified using adb.
The -k option makes adb do UNIX kernel memory mapping; it should be used when core is a UNIX crash dump or /dev/mem.
The -I option specifies a directory where files to be read with $< or $<< (see below) will be sought; the default is /usr/share/adb.
Adb ignores QUIT; INTERRUPT causes return to the next adb command.
In general requests to adb are of the form
[address] [, count] [command] [;]
If address is present then dot is set to address. Initially dot is set to 0. For most commands count specifies how many times the command
will be executed. The default count is 1. Address and count are expressions.
The interpretation of an address depends on the context it is used in. If a subprocess is being debugged then addresses are interpreted in
the usual way in the address space of the subprocess. For further details of address mapping see ADDRESSES.
. The value of dot.
+ The value of dot incremented by the current increment.
^ The value of dot decremented by the current increment.
" The last address typed.
An octal number if integer begins with a 0; a hexadecimal number if preceded by #; otherwise a decimal number. This default inter-
pretation of integers may be changed via the $o and $d commands.
A 32 bit floating point number.
'cccc' The ASCII value of up to 4 characters. may be used to escape a '.
< name The value of name, which is either a variable name or a register name. Adb maintains a number of variables (see VARIABLES) named by
single letters or digits. If name is a register name then the value of the register is obtained from the system header in corfil.
The register names are those printed by the $r command.
symbol A symbol is a sequence of upper or lower case letters, underscores or digits, not starting with a digit. The backslash character
may be used to escape other characters. The value of the symbol is taken from the symbol table in objfil. An initial _ or ~ will
be prepended to symbol if needed. If the symbol is a text symbol and objfil is an overlay type, the default is ~symbol, which is
the subroutine itself, not the entry interface in the base segment.
In C, the `true name' of an external symbol begins with _. It may be necessary to utter this name to distinguish it from internal
or hidden variables of a program. For a subroutine in an overlay, ~symbol is the actual subroutine, and _symbol is the entry point
in the base segment (the "thunk"). Note that to explicitly specify the local name, the ~ must be preceeded by a backslash, since ~
is the bitwise complement operator: ~symbol must be typed.
The address of the variable name in the specified C routine. Both routine and name are symbols. If name is omitted the value is
the address of the most recently activated C stack frame corresponding to routine.
(exp) The value of the expression exp.
*exp The contents of the location addressed by exp in corfil.
@exp The contents of the location addressed by exp in objfil.
-exp Integer negation.
~exp Bitwise complement.
Dyadic operators are left associative and are less binding than monadic operators.
e1+e2 Integer addition.
e1-e2 Integer subtraction.
e1*e2 Integer multiplication.
e1%e2 Integer division.
e1&e2 Bitwise conjunction.
e1|e2 Bitwise disjunction.
e1#e2 E1 rounded up to the next multiple of e2.
Most commands consist of a verb followed by a modifier or list of modifiers. The following verbs are available. (The commands `?' and `/'
may be followed by `*'; see ADDRESSES for further details.)
?f Locations starting at address in objfil are printed according to the format f. dot is incremented by the sum of the increments for
each format letter (q.v.).
/f Locations starting at address in corfil are printed according to the format f and dot is incremented as for `?'.
=f The value of address itself is printed in the styles indicated by the format f. (For i format `?' is printed for the parts of the
instruction that reference subsequent words.)
A format consists of one or more characters that specify a style of printing. Each format character may be preceded by a decimal integer
that is a repeat count for the format character. While stepping through a format dot is incremented temporarily by the amount given for
each format letter. If no format is given then the last format is used. The format letters available are as follows.
o 2 Print 2 bytes in octal. All octal numbers output by adb are preceded by 0.
O 4 Print 4 bytes in octal.
q 2 Print in signed octal.
Q 4 Print long signed octal.
d 2 Print in decimal.
D 4 Print long decimal.
x 2 Print 2 bytes in hexadecimal.
X 4 Print 4 bytes in hexadecimal.
u 2 Print as an unsigned decimal number.
U 4 Print long unsigned decimal.
f 4 Print the 32 bit value as a floating point number.
F 8 Print double floating point.
b 1 Print the addressed byte in octal.
c 1 Print the addressed character.
C 1 Print the addressed character using the following escape convention. the standard escape convention where control characters
are printed as ^X and the delete character is printed as ^?.
s n Print the addressed characters until a zero character is reached.
S n Print a string using the ^X escape convention (see C above). n is the length of the string including its zero terminator.
Y 4 Print 4 bytes in date format (see ctime(3)).
i n Print as machine instructions. n is the number of bytes occupied by the instruction. This style of printing causes vari-
ables 1 and 2 to be set to the offset parts of the source and destination respectively.
a 0 Print the value of dot in symbolic form. Symbols are checked to ensure that they have an appropriate type as indicated
/ local or global data symbol
? local or global text symbol
= local or global absolute symbol
p 2 Print the addressed value in symbolic form using the same rules for symbol lookup as a.
t 0 When preceded by an integer tabs to the next appropriate tab stop. For example, 8t moves to the next 8-space tab stop.
r 0 Print a space.
n 0 Print a newline.
Print the enclosed string.
^ Dot is decremented by the current increment. Nothing is printed.
+ Dot is incremented by 1. Nothing is printed.
- Dot is decremented by 1. Nothing is printed.
If the previous command temporarily incremented dot, make the increment permanent. Repeat the previous command with a count of 1.
[?/]l value mask
Words starting at dot are masked with mask and compared with value until a match is found. If L is used then the match is for 4
bytes at a time instead of 2. If no match is found then dot is unchanged; otherwise dot is set to the matched location. If mask is
omitted then -1 is used.
[?/]w value ...
Write the 2-byte value into the addressed location. If the command is W, write 4 bytes. Odd addresses are not allowed when writing
to the subprocess address space.
[?/]m b1 e1 f1[?/]
New values for (b1, e1, f1) are recorded. If less than three expressions are given then the remaining map parameters are left
unchanged. If the `?' or `/' is followed by `*' then the last segment (b2,e2,f2) of the mapping is changed. If the list is termi-
nated by `?' or `/' then the file (objfil or corfil respectively) is used for subsequent requests. (So that, for example, `/m?'
will cause `/' to refer to objfil.)
>name Dot is assigned to the variable or register named.
! A shell (/bin/sh) is called to read the rest of the line following `!'.
Miscellaneous commands. The available modifiers are:
<f Read commands from the file f. If this command is executed in a file, further commands in the file are not seen. If f is
omitted, the current input stream is terminated. If a count is given, and is zero, the command will be ignored. The value
of the count will be placed in variable 9 before the first command in f is executed.
<<f Similar to < except it can be used in a file of commands without causing the file to be closed. Variable 9 is saved during
the execution of this command, and restored when it completes. There is a (small) finite limit to the number of << files
that can be open at once.
>f Append output to the file f, which is created if it does not exist. If f is omitted, output is returned to the terminal.
? Print process id, the signal which caused stoppage or termination, as well as the registers as $r. This is the default if
modifier is omitted.
r Print the general registers and the instruction addressed by pc. Dot is set to pc.
f Print the floating registers in single or double length. If the floating point status of ps is set to double (0200 bit) then
double length is used anyway.
b Print all breakpoints and their associated counts and commands.
a ALGOL 68 stack backtrace. If address is given then it is taken to be the address of the current frame (instead of r4). If
count is given then only the first count frames are printed.
c C stack backtrace. If address is given then it is taken as the address of the current frame instead of the contents of the
frame-pointer register. If C is used then the names and (16 bit) values of all automatic and static variables are printed
for each active function. If count is given then only the first count frames are printed.
e The names and values of external variables are printed.
w Set the page width for output to address (default 80).
s Set the limit for symbol matches to address (default 255).
o All integers input are regarded as octal.
d Reset integer input as described in EXPRESSIONS.
q Exit from adb.
v Print all non zero variables in octal.
m Print the address map.
Manage a subprocess. Available modifiers are:
bc Set breakpoint at address. If objfil is overlaid and address is in the overlay region, the breakpoint is set in the overlay
of the symbol mentioned if address was given symbolically, otherwise it is set in the current overlay (that in variable c).
The breakpoint is executed count-1 times before causing a stop. Each time the breakpoint is encountered the command c is
executed. If this command is omitted or sets dot to zero then the breakpoint causes a stop.
d Delete breakpoint at address.
r Run objfil as a subprocess. If address is given explicitly then the program is entered at this point; otherwise the program
is entered at its standard entry point. count specifies how many breakpoints are to be ignored before stopping. Arguments
to the subprocess may be supplied on the same line as the command. An argument starting with < or > causes the standard
input or output to be established for the command.
cs The subprocess is continued with signal s, see sigvec(2). If address is given then the subprocess is continued at this
address. If no signal is specified then the signal that caused the subprocess to stop is sent. Breakpoint skipping is the
same as for r.
ss As for c except that the subprocess is single stepped count times. If there is no current subprocess then objfil is run as a
subprocess as for r. In this case no signal can be sent; the remainder of the line is treated as arguments to the subpro-
k The current subprocess, if any, is terminated.
Adb provides a number of variables. Named variables are set initially by adb but are not used subsequently (except for c). Numbered vari-
ables are reserved for communication as follows.
0 The last value printed.
1 The last offset part of an instruction source.
2 The previous value of variable 1.
9 The count on the last $< or $<< command.
On entry the following are set from the system header in the corfil. If corfil does not appear to be a core file then these values are set
b The base address of the data segment.
c The current overlay. This is set from corfil, and in turn sets the overlay map. This variable and the map may be changed by refer-
ring to other overlays symbolically (e.g. by examining text in subroutines in other overlays), using the $r command (which resets c
from the core file), or explicitly (with the command >c).
d The data segment size.
e The entry point.
m The `magic' number (0405, 0407, 0410, 0411, 0430 or 0431). The object is overlaid if m is 0430 or 0431.
o The sum of the overlay segment sizes (if overlaid).
s The stack segment size.
t The text segment size.
The address in a file associated with a written address is determined by a mapping associated with that file. Each mapping is represented
by two or three triples (b1, e1, f1), (bo, eo, fo) for overlaid object files, and (b2, e2, f2) and the file address corresponding to a
written address is calculated as follows.
b1<=address<e1 => file address=address+f1-b1, otherwise,
bo<=address<eo => file address=address+fo-bo, otherwise,
b2<=address<e2 => file address=address+f2-b2,
otherwise, the requested address is not legal. In some cases (e.g. for programs with separated I and D space) the two segments for a file
may overlap. If a ? or / is followed by an * then only the last triple is used.
The initial setting of both mappings is suitable for normal a.out and core files. If the object file is not of the kind expected then, for
both files, b1 is set to 0, e1 is set to the maximum file size and f1 is set to 0; in this way the whole file can be examined with no
So that adb may be used on large files all appropriate values are kept as signed 32 bit integers.
cc(1), ptrace(2), a.out(5), core(5)
ADB - A Tutorial, S. R. Bourne
`Adb' when there is no current command or format. Comments about inaccessible files, syntax errors, abnormal termination of commands, etc.
Exit status is 0, unless last command failed or returned nonzero status.
When single stepping, system calls do not count as an executed instruction.
Local variables whose names are the same as an external variable may foul up the accessing of the external.
Local variables cannot be accessed in routines that are in overlays.
Since no shell is invoked to interpret the arguments of the :r command, the customary wild-card and variable expansions cannot occur.
3rd Berkeley Distribution October 21, 1996 ADB(1)