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This is a collection of tests for GDB.
The file gdb/README contains basic instructions on how to run the
testsuite, while this file documents additional options and controls
that are available. The GDB wiki may also have some pages with ideas
and suggestions.
Running the Testsuite
There are two ways to run the testsuite and pass additional parameters
to DejaGnu. The first is to do `make check' in the main build
directory and specifying the makefile variable `RUNTESTFLAGS':
make check RUNTESTFLAGS='GDB=/usr/bin/gdb gdb.base/a2-run.exp'
The second is to cd to the testsuite directory and invoke the DejaGnu
`runtest' command directly.
cd testsuite
make site.exp
runtest GDB=/usr/bin/gdb
(The `site.exp' file contains a handful of useful variables like host
and target triplets, and pathnames.)
Parallel testing
If not testing with a remote host (in DejaGnu's sense), you can run
the GDB test suite in a fully parallel mode. In this mode, each .exp
file runs separately and maybe simultaneously. The test suite ensures
that all the temporary files created by the test suite do not clash,
by putting them into separate directories. This mode is primarily
intended for use by the Makefile.
For GNU make, the Makefile tries to run the tests in parallel mode if
any -j option is given. For a non-GNU make, tests are not
If RUNTESTFLAGS is not empty, then by default the tests are
serialized. This can be overridden by either using the
`check-parallel' target in the Makefile, or by setting FORCE_PARALLEL
to any non-empty value:
make check-parallel RUNTESTFLAGS="--target_board=native-gdbserver"
make check RUNTESTFLAGS="--target_board=native-gdbserver" FORCE_PARALLEL=1
If you want to use runtest directly instead of using the Makefile, see
the description of GDB_PARALLEL below.
Racy testcases
Sometimes, new testcases are added to the testsuite that are not
entirely deterministic, and can randomly pass or fail. We call them
"racy testcases", and they can be bothersome when one is comparing
different testsuite runs. In order to help identifying them, it is
possible to run the tests several times in a row and ask the testsuite
machinery to analyze the results. To do that, you need to specify the
RACY_ITER environment variable to make:
make check RACY_ITER=5 -j4
The value assigned to RACY_ITER represents the number of times you
wish to run the tests in sequence (in the example above, the entire
testsuite will be executed 5 times in a row, in parallel). It is also
possible to check just a specific test:
make check TESTS='gdb.base/default.exp' RACY_ITER=3
One can also decide to call the Makefile rules by hand inside the
gdb/testsuite directory, e.g.:
make check-parallel-racy -j4
In which case the value of the DEFAULT_RACY_ITER variable (inside
gdb/testsuite/ will be used to determine how many
iterations will be run.
After running the tests, you shall see a file name 'racy.sum' in the
gdb/testsuite directory. You can also inspect the generated *.log and
*.sum files by looking into the gdb/testsuite/racy_ouputs directory.
If you already have *.sum files generated from previous testsuite runs
and you would like to analyze them without having to run the testsuite
again, you can also use the '' script directly.
It is located in the gdb/testsuite/ directory, and it expects a list
of two or more *.sum files to be provided as its argument. For
./gdb/testsuite/ testsuite-01/gdb.sum \
testsuite-02/gdb.sum testsuite-03/gdb.sum
The script will output its analysis report to the standard output.
Re-running Tests Outside The Testsuite
When running a test, the arguments used to run GDB are saved to gdb.cmd and
all commands sent to GDB are saved to As well as being a reference
of the commands run, they can be used to manually re-run a test by using
the file as a batch file to a GDB launched with the arguments in the
gdb.cmd file, for example:
$(cat outputs/gdb.base/store/gdb.cmd) -x outputs/gdb.base/store/
Tests that run GDB multiple times will append .1, .2, .3 etc to the end
of each .cmd and .in file.
When gdbserver is launched as part of a test, a gdbserver.cmd will be created.
To re-run these tests, run the contents of gdbserver.cmd in a separate
terminal before running gdb, for example:
$(cat outputs/gdb.base/store/gdbserver.cmd)
Alternatively, if the test is run with GDBSERVER_DEBUG="replay", then this
will create a gdbserver.replay file which can be used with the gdbreplay tool,
instead of launching gdbserver.
Running the Performance Tests
GDB Testsuite includes performance test cases, which are not run together
with other test cases, because performance test cases are slow and need
a quiet system. There are two ways to run the performance test cases.
The first is to do `make check-perf' in the main build directory:
make check-perf RUNTESTFLAGS="solib.exp SOLIB_COUNT=8"
The second is to cd to the testsuite directory and invoke the DejaGnu
`runtest' command directly.
cd testsuite
make site.exp
runtest GDB_PERFTEST_MODE=both GDB_PERFTEST_TIMEOUT=4000 --directory=gdb.perf solib.exp SOLIB_COUNT=8
Only "compile", "run" and "both" are valid to GDB_PERFTEST_MODE. They
stand for "compile tests only", "run tests only", and "compile and run
tests" respectively. "both" is the default. GDB_PERFTEST_TIMEOUT
specify the timeout, which is 3000 in default. The result of
performance test is appended in `testsuite/perftest.log'.
Testsuite Parameters
The following parameters are DejaGNU variables that you can set to
affect the testsuite run globally.
By default, the testsuite exercises the GDB in the build directory,
but you can set GDB to be a pathname to a different version. For
make check RUNTESTFLAGS=GDB=/usr/bin/gdb
runs the testsuite on the GDB in /usr/bin.
You can set GDBSERVER to be a particular GDBserver of interest, so for
make check RUNTESTFLAGS="GDB=/usr/bin/gdb GDBSERVER=/usr/bin/gdbserver"
checks both the installed GDB and GDBserver.
Command line options passed to all GDB invocations.
The default is "-nw -nx".
`-nw' disables any of the windowed interfaces.
`-nx' disables ~/.gdbinit, so that it doesn't interfere with
the tests.
This is actually considered an internal variable, and you
won't normally want to change it. However, in some situations,
this may be tweaked as a last resort if the testsuite doesn't
have direct support for the specifics of your environment.
The testsuite does not override a value provided by the user.
As an example, when testing an installed GDB that has been
configured with `--with-system-gdbinit', like by default,
you do not want ~/.gdbinit to interfere with tests, but, you
may want the system .gdbinit file loaded. As there's no way to
ask the testsuite, or GDB, to load the system gdbinit but
not ~/.gdbinit, a workaround is then to remove `-nx' from
INTERNAL_GDBFLAGS, and point $HOME at a directory without
a .gdbinit. For example:
cd testsuite
HOME=`pwd` runtest \
GDB=/usr/bin/gdb \
GDBSERVER=/usr/bin/gdbserver \
To use parallel testing mode without using the Makefile, set
GDB_PARALLEL on the runtest command line to "yes". Before starting
the tests, you must ensure that the directories cache, outputs, and
temp in the test suite build directory are either empty or have been
deleted. cache in particular is used to share data across invocations
of runtest, and files there may affect the test results. The Makefile
automatically does these deletions.
Setting FORCE_PARALLEL to any non-empty value forces parallel testing
mode even if RUNTESTFLAGS is not empty.
Setting FORCE_MI_SEPARATE_UI to 1 forces all MI testing to start GDB
in console mode, with MI running on a separate TTY, on a secondary UI
started with "new-ui".
For debugging parallel mode, it is handy to be able to see when a test
case writes to a file outside of its designated output directory.
If you have the inotify-tools package installed, you can set the
GDB_INOTIFY variable on the runtest command line. This will cause the
test suite to watch for parallel-unsafe file creations and report
them, both to stdout and in the test suite log file.
This setting is only meaningful in conjunction with GDB_PARALLEL.
This variable is used to specify which set of tests to run.
It is passed to make (not runtest) and its contents are a space separated
list of tests to run.
If using GNU make then the contents are wildcard-expanded using
GNU make's $(wildcard) function. Test paths must be fully specified,
relative to the "testsuite" subdirectory. This allows one to run all
tests in a subdirectory by passing "gdb.subdir/*.exp", or more simply
by using the check-gdb.subdir target in the Makefile.
If for some strange reason one wanted to run all tests that begin with
the letter "d" that is also possible: TESTS="*/d*.exp".
Do not write */*.exp to specify all tests (assuming all tests are only
nested one level deep, which is not necessarily true). This will pick up
.exp files in ancillary directories like "lib" and "config".
Instead write gdb.*/*.exp.
make -j10 check TESTS="gdb.server/[s-w]*.exp */x*.exp"
If not using GNU make then the value is passed directly to runtest.
If not specified, all tests are run.
This make (not runtest) variable is used to specify whether the
testsuite preloads the library into expect. Any non-empty
value means true. See "Race detection" below.
This variable can provide the hostname/address that should be used
when performing GDBserver-related tests. This is useful in some
situations, e.g., when you want to test the IPv6 connectivity of GDB
and GDBserver, or when using a different hostname/address is needed.
For example, to make GDB and GDBserver use IPv6-only connections, you
can do:
make check TESTS="gdb.server/*.exp" RUNTESTFLAGS='GDB_TEST_SOCKETHOST=tcp6:[::1]'
Note that only a hostname/address can be provided, without a port
This variable turns on the timestamp printing for each line of "make
check". Note that the timestamp will be printed on stdout output
only. In other words, there will be no timestamp output on either
gdb.sum and gdb.log files. If you would like to enable timestamp
printing, you can do:
make check TS=1
You can provide a custom format for timestamp printing with this
variable. The format must be a string compatible with "strftime".
This variable is only useful when the TS variable is also provided.
If you would like to change the output format of the timestamp, you
can do:
make check TS=1 TS_FORMAT='[%b %H:%S]'
When set gdb debug is sent to the file gdb.debug in the test output
directory. It should be set to a comma separated list of gdb debug
For example, to turn on debugging for infrun and target, you can do:
make check GDB_DEBUG="infrun,target"
When set gdbserver debug is sent to the a file in the test output directory.
It should be set to a comma separated list of the following options:
debug - write gdbserver debug to gdbserver.debug.
remote - write gdbserver remote debug to gdbserver.debug.
replay - write a replay log to the file gdbserver.replay for use
with gdbreplay.
Alternatively, it can be set to "all" to turn on all the above
For example, to turn on gdbserver debugging, you can do:
make check GDBSERVER_DEBUG="debug,replay"
Race detection
The testsuite includes a mechanism that helps detect test races.
For example, say the program running under expect outputs "abcd", and
a test does something like this:
expect {
"a.*c" {
"b" {
"a" {
Which case happens to match depends on what expect manages to read
into its internal buffer in one go. If it manages to read three bytes
or more, then the first case matches. If it manages to read two
bytes, then the second case matches. If it manages to read only one
byte, then the third case matches.
To help detect these cases, the race detection mechanism preloads a
library into expect that forces the `read' system call to always
return at most 1 byte.
To enable this, either pass a non-empty value in the READ1 make
variable, or use the check-read1 make target instead of check.
make -j10 check-read1 TESTS="*/paginate-*.exp"
If you've already built the read1 support code, either via a previous
'check-read1' run, or by using "make read1", you can use:
make -j10 check READ1="1"
Note: While the intention is to detect races and make otherwise passing tests
fail, it can also have the effect of making otherwise failing tests pass.
This happens f.i. if the test is trying to match a gdb prompt using an end of
input marker "${gdb_prompt} $" and there is output after the gdb prompt. This
may either pass or fail in normal operation, but using check-read1 will ensure
that it passes. Use check-readmore to detect this type of failure.
Testsuite Configuration
It is possible to adjust the behavior of the testsuite by defining
the global variables listed below, either in a `site.exp' file,
or in a board file.
Defining this variable changes the default timeout duration used
during communication with GDB. More specifically, the global variable
used during testing is `timeout', but this variable gets reset to
`gdb_test_timeout' at the beginning of each testcase, which ensures
that any local change to `timeout' in a testcase does not affect
subsequent testcases.
This global variable comes in handy when the debugger is slower than
normal due to the testing environment, triggering unexpected `TIMEOUT'
test failures. Examples include when testing on a remote machine, or
against a system where communications are slow.
If not specifically defined, this variable gets automatically defined
to the same value as `timeout' during the testsuite initialization.
The default value of the timeout is defined in the file
`testsuite/config/unix.exp' (at least for Unix hosts; board files may
have their own values).
Defining this variable changes the default timeout duration when tests
under gdb.reverse directory are running. Process record and reverse
debugging is so slow that its tests have unexpected `TIMEOUT' test
failures. This global variable is useful to bump up the value of
`timeout' for gdb.reverse tests and doesn't cause any delay where
actual failures happen in the rest of the testsuite.
Board Settings
DejaGNU includes the concept of a "board file", which specifies
testing details for a particular target (which are often bare circuit
boards, thus the name).
In the GDB testsuite specifically, the board file may include a
number of "board settings" that test cases may check before deciding
whether to exercise a particular feature. For instance, a board
lacking any I/O devices, or perhaps simply having its I/O devices
not wired up, should set `noinferiorio'.
Here are the supported board settings:
The board does not support inferior call, that is, invoking inferior
functions in GDB.
The board supports reverse execution.
The board does not support hardware watchpoints.
GDB is unable to intercept target file operations in remote and
perform them on the host.
The board is unable to provide I/O capability to the inferior.
A program will not return an exit code or result code (or the value
of the result is undefined, and should not be looked at).
The board does not support signals.
Skip time-consuming tests on the board with slow connection.
Skip tests related to floating point.
The board supports process record.
Commands to send to GDB every time a program is about to be run. The
first of these settings defines a single command as a string. The
second defines a TCL list of commands being a string each. The commands
are sent one by one in a sequence, first from `gdb_init_command', if any,
followed by individual commands from `gdb_init_command', if any, in this
list's order.
The location of GDBserver. If GDBserver somewhere other than its
default location is used in test, specify the location of GDBserver in
this variable. The location is a file name for GDBserver, and may be
either absolute or relative to the testsuite subdirectory of the build
The location of the in-process agent (used for fast tracepoints and
other special tests). If the in-process agent of interest is anywhere
other than its default location, set this variable. The location is a
filename, and may be either absolute or relative to the testsuite
subdirectory of the build directory.
GDB does not support argument passing for inferior.
The board does not support type long long.
The board is running the monitor Cygmon.
The tests are running with a GDB stub.
Set to true if GDB can assume that letting the program run to end
reliably results in program exits being reported as such, as opposed
to, e.g., the program ending in an infinite loop or the board
crashing/resetting. If not set, this defaults to $use_gdb_stub. In
other words, native targets are assumed reliable by default, and
remote stubs assumed unreliable.
The predefined trace state variables the board has.
The target doesn't support thread names.
The flag required to force the compiler to produce position-independent
The flag required to force the linker to produce position-independent
The flag required to force the compiler to produce non-position-independent
The flag required to force the linker to produce non-position-independent
When set gdb debug is sent to the file gdb.debug in the test output
directory. It should be set to a comma separated list of gdb debug
components. For example, to turn on debugging for infrun and target, set to
When set gdbserver debug is sent to the file gdbserver.debug in the test
output directory. For valid values see the entry for GDBSERVER_DEBUG.
Testsuite Organization
The testsuite is entirely contained in `gdb/testsuite'. The main
directory of the testsuite includes some makefiles and configury, but
these are minimal, and used for little besides cleaning up, since the
tests themselves handle the compilation of the programs that GDB will
The file `testsuite/lib/gdb.exp' contains common utility procs useful
for all GDB tests, while the directory testsuite/config contains
configuration-specific files, typically used for special-purpose
definitions of procs like `gdb_load' and `gdb_start'.
The tests themselves are to be found in directories named
'testsuite/gdb.* and subdirectories of those. The names of the test
files must always end with ".exp". DejaGNU collects the test files by
wildcarding in the test directories, so both subdirectories and
individual files typically get chosen and run in alphabetical order.
The following lists some notable types of subdirectories and what they
are for. Since DejaGNU finds test files no matter where they are
located, and since each test file sets up its own compilation and
execution environment, this organization is simply for convenience and
This is the base testsuite. The tests in it should apply to all
configurations of GDB (but generic native-only tests may live here).
The test programs should be in the subset of C that is both valid
ANSI/ISO C, and C++.
Language-specific tests for any language besides C. Examples are
gdb.cp for C++ and gdb.rust for Rust.
Non-portable tests. The tests are specific to a specific
configuration (host or target), such as eCos.
Architecture-specific tests that are (usually) cross-platform.
Tests that exercise a specific GDB subsystem in more depth. For
instance, gdb.disasm exercises various disassemblers, while
gdb.stabs tests pathways through the stabs symbol reader.
GDB performance tests.
Writing Tests
In many areas, the GDB tests are already quite comprehensive; you
should be able to copy existing tests to handle new cases. Be aware
that older tests may use obsolete practices but have not yet been
You should try to use `gdb_test' whenever possible, since it includes
cases to handle all the unexpected errors that might happen. However,
it doesn't cost anything to add new test procedures; for instance,
gdb.base/exprs.exp defines a `test_expr' that calls `gdb_test'
multiple times.
Only use `send_gdb' and `gdb_expect' when absolutely necessary. Even
if GDB has several valid responses to a command, you can use
`gdb_test_multiple'. Like `gdb_test', `gdb_test_multiple' recognizes
internal errors and unexpected prompts.
Do not write tests which expect a literal tab character from GDB. On
some operating systems (e.g. OpenBSD) the TTY layer expands tabs to
spaces, so by the time GDB's output reaches `expect' the tab is gone.
The source language programs do *not* need to be in a consistent
style. Since GDB is used to debug programs written in many different
styles, it's worth having a mix of styles in the testsuite; for
instance, some GDB bugs involving the display of source lines might
never manifest themselves if the test programs used GNU coding style
Some testcase results need more detailed explanation:
Use KFAIL for known problem of GDB itself. You must specify the GDB
bug report number, as in these sample tests:
kfail "gdb/13392" "continue to marker 2"
setup_kfail gdb/13392 "*-*-*"
kfail "continue to marker 2"
Short for "expected failure", this indicates a known problem with the
environment. This could include limitations of the operating system,
compiler version, and other components.
This example from gdb.base/attach-pie-misread.exp is a sanity check
for the target environment:
# On x86_64 it is commonly about 4MB.
if {$stub_size > 25000000} {
xfail "stub size $stub_size is too large"
You should provide bug report number for the failing component of the
environment, if such bug report is available, as with this example
referring to a GCC problem:
if {[test_compiler_info {gcc-[0-3]-*}]
|| [test_compiler_info {gcc-4-[0-5]-*}]} {
setup_xfail "gcc/46955" *-*-*
gdb_test "python print ttype.template_argument(2)" "&C::c"
Note that it is also acceptable, and often preferable, to avoid
running the test at all. This is the better option if the limitation
is intrinsic to the environment, rather than a bug expected to be
fixed in the near future.
Local vs Remote vs Native
It's unfortunately easy to get confused in the testsuite about what's
native and what's not, what's remote and what's not. The confusion is
caused by the overlap in vocabulary between DejaGnu and GDB.
From a DejaGnu point of view:
- native: the host or target board is considered native if the its
triplet is the same as the build system's triplet,
- remote: the host or target board is considered remote if it's
running on a different machine, and thus require ssh, for example,
to run commands, versus simply running commands directly.
Note that they are not mutually exclusive, as you can have a remote
machine that has the same triplet as the build machine.
From a GDB point of view:
- native: when GDB uses system calls such as ptrace to interact
directly with processes on the same system its running on,
- remote: when GDB speaks the RSP (Remote Serial Protocol) with
another program doing the ptrace stuff.
Note that they are mutually exclusive. An inferior can only be either
debugged with the native target, or with the remote target a specific
That means that there are cases where the target is not remote for
DejaGnu, but is remote for GDB (e.g. running GDBserver on the same
You can also have a remote target for DejaGnu, but native for GDB
(e.g. building on x86 a GDB that runs on ARM and running the
testsuite with a remote host).
Therefore, care must be taken to check for the right kind of remote.
Use [is_remote target] to check whether the DejaGnu target board is
remote. When what you really want to know is whether GDB is using the
remote protocol, because feature X is only available when GDB debugs
natively, check gdb_protocol instead.