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Method of Collecting Serviceability Data using an External Debugger

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000240784D
Publication Date: 2015-Feb-28
Document File: 2 page(s) / 58K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Disclosed is a method to use an external debugger to call a function in the process being debugged.

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This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 70% of the total text.

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Method of Collecting Serviceability Data using an External Debugger

Servicing a commercial product is typically based on logs, backtraces, and core files. Additional information can be useful to developers when debugging a problem. The signal handler that is called when a crash or software watchdog occurs can provide additional debugging information. Unfortunately, the design of signal handlers limits the types of functions and services that the handlers can utilize. For example, locking and memory allocation are forbidden.

The solution is a novel method to build on a mechanism used to collect an extended backtrace. This mechanism uses an external debugger to call a function in the process being debugged. This called process is free from the restrictions placed on signal handlers, and can thus collect any type of information needed.

The method utilizes a commercially available debugger that can attach to a running process, take a script of commands to execute once it attaches to a process, and then call and collect output from a function in the attached process . All threads in the running process are stopped when the debugger attaches to it, thereby removing the need for locks.

The signal handler signals a helper process that in turn launches an external debugger, which attaches to the failing process. The external debugger then executes a pre-defined command script. This command script makes use of a capability of a typical external debugger to call a function...