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BACKTRACE(3)		   Linux Programmer's Manual		  BACKTRACE(3)

       backtrace, backtrace_symbols, backtrace_symbols_fd - support for appli‐
       cation self-debugging

       #include <execinfo.h>

       int backtrace(void **buffer, int size);

       char **backtrace_symbols(void *const *buffer, int size);

       void backtrace_symbols_fd(void *const *buffer, int size, int fd);

       backtrace() returns a backtrace for the calling program, in  the	 array
       pointed	to  by	buffer.	 A backtrace is the series of currently active
       function calls for the program.	Each item in the array pointed	to  by
       buffer  is  of  type  void *, and is the return address from the corre‐
       sponding stack frame.  The size argument specifies the  maximum	number
       of  addresses that can be stored in buffer.  If the backtrace is larger
       than size, then the addresses corresponding to  the  size  most	recent
       function	 calls	are  returned;	to obtain the complete backtrace, make
       sure that buffer and size are large enough.

       Given the set of addresses returned by  backtrace()  in	buffer,	 back‐
       trace_symbols()	translates the addresses into an array of strings that
       describe the addresses symbolically.  The size argument	specifies  the
       number  of  addresses  in  buffer.  The symbolic representation of each
       address consists of the function name (if this can  be  determined),  a
       hexadecimal offset into the function, and the actual return address (in
       hexadecimal).  The address of the array of string pointers is  returned
       as  the	function  result  of  backtrace_symbols().  This array is mal‐
       loc(3)ed by backtrace_symbols(), and must be freed by the caller.  (The
       strings	pointed to by the array of pointers need not and should not be

       backtrace_symbols_fd() takes the same  buffer  and  size	 arguments  as
       backtrace_symbols(),  but  instead  of returning an array of strings to
       the caller, it writes the strings, one per line, to the file descriptor
       fd.   backtrace_symbols_fd()  does  not	call  malloc(3), and so can be
       employed in situations where the latter function might fail.

       backtrace() returns the number of addresses returned in	buffer,	 which
       is  not greater than size.  If the return value is less than size, then
       the full backtrace was stored; if it is equal to size, then it may have
       been  truncated, in which case the addresses of the oldest stack frames
       are not returned.

       On success, backtrace_symbols() returns a pointer  to  the  array  mal‐
       loc(3)ed by the call; on error, NULL is returned.

       backtrace(),  backtrace_symbols(),  and backtrace_symbols_fd() are pro‐
       vided in glibc since version 2.1.

       These functions are GNU extensions.

       These functions make some assumptions about  how	 a  function's	return
       address is stored on the stack.	Note the following:

       *  Omission  of	the  frame  pointers  (as  implied  by any of gcc(1)'s
	  nonzero optimization levels) may cause these assumptions to be  vio‐

       *  Inlined functions do not have stack frames.

       *  Tail-call optimization causes one stack frame to replace another.

       The  symbol  names may be unavailable without the use of special linker
       options.	 For systems using the GNU linker, it is necessary to use  the
       -rdynamic linker option.	 Note that names of "static" functions are not
       exposed, and won't be available in the backtrace.

       The program  below  demonstrates	 the  use  of  backtrace()  and	 back‐
       trace_symbols().	  The  following shell session shows what we might see
       when running the program:

	   $ cc -rdynamic prog.c -o prog
	   $ ./prog 3
	   backtrace() returned 8 addresses
	   ./prog(myfunc3+0x5c) [0x80487f0]
	   ./prog [0x8048871]
	   ./prog(myfunc+0x21) [0x8048894]
	   ./prog(myfunc+0x1a) [0x804888d]
	   ./prog(myfunc+0x1a) [0x804888d]
	   ./prog(main+0x65) [0x80488fb]
	   /lib/ [0xb7e38f9c]
	   ./prog [0x8048711]

   Program source

       #include <execinfo.h>
       #include <stdio.h>
       #include <stdlib.h>
       #include <unistd.h>

	   int j, nptrs;
       #define SIZE 100
	   void *buffer[100];
	   char **strings;

	   nptrs = backtrace(buffer, SIZE);
	   printf("backtrace() returned %d addresses\n", nptrs);

	   /* The call backtrace_symbols_fd(buffer, nptrs, STDOUT_FILENO)
	      would produce similar output to the following: */

	   strings = backtrace_symbols(buffer, nptrs);
	   if (strings == NULL) {

	   for (j = 0; j < nptrs; j++)
	       printf("%s\n", strings[j]);


       static void   /* "static" means don't export the symbol... */

       myfunc(int ncalls)
	   if (ncalls > 1)
	       myfunc(ncalls - 1);

       main(int argc, char *argv[])
	   if (argc != 2) {
	       fprintf(stderr, "%s num-calls\n", argv[0]);


       gcc(1), ld(1), dlopen(3), malloc(3)

       This page is part of release 3.53 of the Linux  man-pages  project.   A
       description  of	the project, and information about reporting bugs, can
       be found at

GNU				  2008-06-14			  BACKTRACE(3)

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