gdb is a command line debugger that provides a number of useful options for debugging Firefox OS applications. Other related tools are also available, such as
b2g-ps, which is a wrapper around the standard ps tool that shows app names for each process running on an instance of B2G. The article shows how to perform some common Firefox OS debugging tasks with these tools.
Starting the debugger in single-process mode
Note: Before running the debugger, you may want to set up a
.userconfig file to customize things. See Customization with the .userconfig file for details.
To restart Firefox OS and run it under gdb control, simply use the
Note: If you want to debug on the emulator, be sure there are no phones attached; this may conflict with gdb's ability to connect to the emulator.
If Firefox OS is already running and you want to attach to it without restarting it, you can do so like this:
Debugging out-of-process tasks
Because of the threaded nature of Firefox OS, you often need to be able to debug tasks other than the main B2G task. To do this, the simplest way is to use the
b2g-ps command to find out the PID of the process that you need to debug:
$ adb shell b2g-ps b2g root 106 1 189828 56956 ffffffff 40101330 S /system/b2g/b2g Browser app_0 4308 106 52688 16188 ffffffff 400db330 S /system/b2g/plugin-container
Here, Browser is the child process used as the "content process" for the browser application. So if you want to debug the content process, in this example, do:
$ ./run-gdb.sh attach 4308
Sometimes, it is useful to be notified immediately of any child process creation. This can be achieved by starting
run-gdb.sh with the
MOZ_DEBUG_CHILD_PROCESS environment variable:
Having done this, launching an OOP application on Firefox OS will output the PID of the plugin-container for the new task, and will sleep for 30 seconds, enough time for you to run the attach command we saw above:
$ ./run-gdb.sh attach 4308
If you are trying to debug something that occurs during boot, you have to launch the debugger instance for the new application fairly quickly. Once the new debugger is launched, you should immediately press "c" to continue running the new task.
Debugging core files
Warning: Core files contain the full memory contents of the process. This may include personal information that you entered in Firefox OS. As such, core files should be shared with caution.
By default, Firefox OS will not dump core files when a process crashes. You may enable them on debug builds with the following:
$ adb shell setprop persist.debug.coredump all $ adb reboot
A reboot is required for the change to take effect and will cause all processes to core dump if they crash once B2G has begun to initialize. For platforms using an older kernel (< 3.0, such as hamachi), or if you only desire core dumps from B2G-specific processes (i.e. b2g, plugin-container) and not Gonk, you may enable them with the following:
$ adb shell setprop persist.debug.coredump b2g $ adb reboot
Core files are saved to /data/core. You may open a core file produced by b2g with the following:
$ adb pull /data/core . $ ./run-gdb.sh core b2g.1286.1412337385.core
You may open a content process core file with the following:
$ adb pull /data/core . $ ./run-gdb.sh core plugin-container Camera.1329.1412617644.core
What level of functionality to expect
The following debugging features at least should definitely work. If they don't, it's likely that a simple tweak to your setup will make them work:
- Symbols for all libraries (except perhaps certain drivers on certain Android phones)
- Backtraces with full debug info (except for optimized-away argument values)
- Breakpoints: you should be able to break on a symbol, or on a file:line, or on an address. All should work.
- Single-stepping ('s' and 'n' should both work)
The following debugging features are not supported. Don't try to use them.
Here are a few things to try first whenever GDB is not working as described above.
Ensure that your B2G clone is up-to-date
Always keep in mind to that to update your B2G clone you must run these two commands:
git pull ./repo sync
git pull there is a typical reason why you'd end up with an old
run-gdb.sh and not benefit from recent improvements.
Ensure that you are attaching to the right process
Attaching to the wrong process (e.g. main B2G process versus Browser process) would explain why your breakpoints don't get hit.
Ensure that symbols are correctly read
info sharedto check that symbols are correctly read:
(gdb) info shared From To Syms Read Shared Object Library 0xb0001000 0xb0006928 Yes out/target/product/otoro/symbols/system/bin/linker 0x40051100 0x4007ed74 Yes /hack/b2g/B2G/out/target/product/otoro/symbols/system/lib/libc.so 0x401ab934 0x401aba2c Yes /hack/b2g/B2G/out/target/product/otoro/symbols/system/lib/libstdc++.so ...
Syms Readcolumn should say
Yeseverywhere. Maybe on some android phone you would see
Yes (*)for some system libraries or drivers; that would be OK. You should not see any
- If you do see a
No, that is your first problem and you must solve it before looking at anything else.
- Look for any error messages in the terminal output just after you typed your
- Also check in that terminal output that the GDB command is sane. In particular, its last command line argument should be the path to your b2g executable. Here is a sane example:
prebuilt/linux-x86/toolchain/arm-linux-androideabi-4.4.x/bin/arm-linux-androideabi-gdb -x /tmp/b2g.gdbinit.bjacob /hack/b2g/B2G/objdir-gecko/dist/bin/b2g
- Check the value of these GDB variables:
(gdb) show solib-search-path The search path for loading non-absolute shared library symbol files is /hack/b2g/B2G/objdir-gecko/dist/bin:out/target/product/otoro/symbols/system/lib:out/target/product/otoro/symbols/system/lib/hw:out/target/product/otoro/symbols/system/lib/egl:out/target/product/otoro/symbols/system/bin:out/target/product/otoro/system/lib:out/target/product/otoro/system/lib/egl:out/target/product/otoro/system/lib/hw:out/target/product/otoro/system/vendor/lib:out/target/product/otoro/system/vendor/lib/hw:out/target/product/otoro/system/vendor/lib/egl. (gdb) show solib-absolute-prefix The current system root is "out/target/product/otoro/symbols".
Note: If you need more help, try the #b2g IRC channel. If you think you found a bug, report it on the B2G issue tracker.