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Working With Signals


This chapter describes how to use dbx to work with signals. dbx supports a command named catch, which instructs dbx to stop a program when dbx detects any of the signals appearing on the catch list.

The dbx commands cont, step, and next support the -sig signal_name option, which allows you to resume execution of a program with the program behaving as if it had received the signal specified in the cont -sig command.

This chapter is organized into the following sections.

Understanding Signal Events

page 185

Catching Signals

page 187

Sending a Signal in a Program

page 188

Automatically Handling Signals

page 189

Understanding Signal Events

When a signal is to be delivered to a process that is being debugged, the signal is redirected to dbx by the kernel. When this happens, you usually get a prompt. You then have two choices:

1. "Cancel" the signal when the program is resumed--the default behavior of cont--facilitating easy interruption and resumption with SIGINT (Control-C).

2. "Forward" the signal to the process using:

cont -sig sig

In addition, if a certain signal is received frequently, you can arrange for dbx to automatically forward the signal because you do not care to see it displayed:

ignore sig # "ignore" 

However, the sig is still forwarded to the process. A default set of signals is automatically forwarded in this manner, see ignore.

Catching Signals

By default, the catch list contains many of the more than 33 detectable signals. (The numbers depend upon the operating system and version.) You can change the default catch list by adding signals to or removing them from the default catch list.

To see the list of signals currently being trapped:

   Type catch with no signal-name argument:

(dbx) catch

To see a list of the signals currently being ignored by dbx when the program detects them.

   Type ignore with no signal-name argument:

(dbx) ignore

Changing the Default Signal Lists

You control which signals cause the program to stop by moving the signal names from one list to the other. To move signal names:

   Supply a signal-name argument that currently appears on one list as an argument to the other list.

For example, to move the QUIT and ABRT signals from the catch list to the ignore list:

(dbx) ignore QUIT ABRT

Trapping the FPE Signal

Often programmers working with code that requires floating point calculations want to debug exceptions generated in a program. When a floating point exception like overflow or divide by zero occurs, the system returns a reasonable answer as the result for the operation that caused the exception. Returning a reasonable answer allows the program to continue executing quietly. Solaris implements the IEEE Standard for Binary Floating Point Arithmetic definitions of reasonable answers for exceptions.

Since a reasonable answer for floating point exceptions is returned, exceptions do not automatically trigger the signal SIGFPE.

To find the cause of an exception, you need to set up a trap handler in the program so that the exception triggers the signal SIGFPE. (See ieee_handler(3m) for an example of a trap handler.) When you set up a trap handler using ieee_handler, the trap enable mask in the hardware floating point status register is set. This trap enable mask causes the exception to raise SIGFPE at run time.

Once you have compiled the program with the trap handler, load the program into dbx. Before you can catch the SIGFPE, you must add FPE to the dbx signal catch list, using the command:

(dbx) catch FPE

By default, FPE is on the ignore list.

After adding FPE to the catch list, run the program in dbx. When the exception you are trapping occurs, SIGFPE is raised and dbx stops the program. Now you can trace the call stack using the dbx where command to help find the specific line number of the program where the exception occurs.

For more discussion and examples, see the floating point manual, Numerical Computation Guide, which comes with the Sun Compiler documentation.

Sending a Signal in a Program

The dbx cont command supports the -sig signal_name option, which allows you to resume execution of a program with the program behaving as if it had received the system signal signal_name.

For example, if a program has an interrupt handler for SIGINT (^C), you can type ^C to stop the application and return control to dbx. If you issue a cont command by itself to continue program execution, the interrupt handler never executes. To execute the interrupt handler, send the signal, sigint, to the program:

(dbx) cont -sig int

The stop, next, and detach commands accept -sig as well.

Automatically Handling Signals

The event management commands can also deal with signals as events. These tow commands have the same effect:

(dbx) stop sig signal
(dbx) catch signal

Having the signal event is more useful if you need to associate some pre-programmed action:

(dbx) when sig SIGCLD {echo Got $sig $signame;}

In this case make sure to first move SIGCLD to the ignore list:

(dbx) ignore SIGCLD

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