Retrieving symbol information from crash dump on Mac OS X

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Old 02-04-2010
Retrieving symbol information from crash dump on Mac OS X

I am initiating the discussion.Hope everyone will add on to this.
Whenever any application crashes the system's crash reporter(/System/Library/CoreServices/Crash creates a crash dump.A crash dump is the image of the state of the kernel that was in physical memory when the system failed.The crash log contains a stack trace with whatever program symbol information found in the application.And if the application has stripped of its debugginginformation(release build),no usefull information about the application's stack will be logged.In such situations we can use the atos("address to symbol") tool to convert these addresses back to their symbolic names. It may help us to diagnose and fix the underlying problem causing the crash. Because the TempConverter executable has no symbol information, program locations in the TempConverter code segment are listed as hexadecimal offsets. If enough debugging information is available, the tool also supplies the source file name and line number for the address.


Last edited by pludi; 02-04-2010 at 04:08 AM.. Reason: removed link
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expand_dump(8)						      System Manager's Manual						    expand_dump(8)

expand_dump - Produces a non-compressed kernel crash dump file SYNOPSIS
/usr/sbin/expand_dump input-file output-file DESCRIPTION
By default, kernel crash dump files (vmzcore.#) are compressed during the crash dump. Compressed core files can be examined by the latest versions of debugging tools that have been recompiled to support compressed crash dump files. However, not all debugging tools may be upgraded on a given system, or you may want to examine a crash dump from a remote system using an older version of a tool. The expand_dump utility produces a file that can be read by tools that have not been upgraded to support compressed crash dump files. This non-compressed version can also be read by any upgraded tool. This utility can only be used with compressed crash dump files, and does not support any other form of compressed file. You cannot use other decompression tools such as compress, gzip, or zip on a compressed crash dump file. Note that the non-compressed file will require significantly more disk storage space as it is possible to achieve compression ratios of up to 60:1. Check the available disk space before running expand_dump and estimate the size of the non-compressed file as follows: Run tests by halting your system and forcing a crash as described in the Kernel Debugging manual. Use an upgraded debugger to determine the value of the variable dumpsize. Multiply this vale by the 8Kb page size to approximate the required disk space of the non-compressed crash-dump. Run expand_dump and pipe the output file to /dev/null, noting the size of the file that is printed when expand_dump completes its task. RETURN VALUES
Successful completion of the decompression. The user did not supply the correct number of command line arguments. The input file could not be read. The input file is not a compressed dump, or is corrupted. The output file could not be created or opened for writing and truncated. There was some problem writing to the output file (probably a full disk). The input file is not formated consistantly. It is probably corrupted. The input file could not be correctly decompressed. It is probably corrupted. EXAMPLES
expand_dump vmzcore.4 vmcore.4 SEE ALSO
Commands: dbx(1), kdbx(8), ladebug(1), savecore(8) Kernel Debugging System Administration expand_dump(8)

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