gdb – Powerful Program Debugger

GDB is a powerful program debugger that allows developers to analyze and debug programs written in various programming languages such as C, C++, Ada, Objective-C, and more. It allows developers to trace the execution of their programs, monitor variables, and detect errors that may cause the program to crash or behave unexpectedly.


To use GDB, you must first compile your program with debugging symbols. This can be done by adding the -g flag to your compiler command. Once your program is compiled with debugging symbols, you can use GDB to analyze and debug it.

To start GDB, simply type gdb followed by the name of your program. For example, gdb myprogram. This will start GDB and load your program into memory.

Once GDB is running, you can use various commands to analyze and debug your program. Here are some common commands:

  • run: starts the execution of your program
  • break: sets a breakpoint at a specific line or function
  • next: executes the current line and moves to the next line
  • step: executes the current line and steps into any function calls
  • print: displays the value of a variable
  • backtrace: displays a backtrace of the function calls leading up to the current point in the program

Here is an example of using GDB to debug a simple C program:

#include <stdio.h>

int main() {
    int x = 5;
    int y = 10;
    int z = x + y;
    printf("z is %d\n", z);
    return 0;

Compile the program with debugging symbols using the command gcc -g -o myprogram myprogram.c. Then, start GDB by typing gdb myprogram. Set a breakpoint at the line int z = x + y; using the command break 6. Finally, run the program using the command run. GDB will stop at the breakpoint, and you can use the print command to display the values of x, y, and z.


Here are some common options for the GDB command:

Option Description
-q quiet mode (suppresses some output)
-batch batch mode (exits GDB after executing commands)
-ex execute a command in GDB (e.g. gdb -ex 'run' myprogram)
-core specifies a core dump file to analyze

Troubleshooting Tips

Here are some tips for troubleshooting common issues with GDB:

  • If GDB crashes or behaves unexpectedly, try updating to the latest version.
  • If GDB is unable to load your program, make sure it is compiled with debugging symbols using the -g flag.
  • If you are unable to set a breakpoint, make sure the line or function you are trying to set the breakpoint on is actually being executed.


  • GDB can be used to analyze and debug programs written in various programming languages.
  • GDB can be used in conjunction with other tools such as Valgrind for more comprehensive debugging.
  • GDB has a steep learning curve and may take some time to master.