GDB Debugging

Mostly notes for the Cppcon talk of Greg Law in 2023.

Time Travel

Basically, use the command record and run the program. After crashing, you can then use reverse-* commands like reverse-stepi (rsi) to step backwards through the execution.


To hunt down an undeterminstic bug, Greg makes a program run repeatedly until it crashes, by executing the following sequence.

So, when main is called, recording starts. When _exit is called (i.e. normal termination), gdb restarts the program.

When the program crashed, the “time travel” records allow to inspect the execution before the crash.


The project GDB Dashboard provides a .gdbinit that provides an interesting TUI mode, when executed.

It can be explicitly executed: gdb -x path/to/gdb-dashboard/.gdbinit Or put it in your home directory, to automatically load it.

Somewhat related: There is a built-in TUI mode, that can be toggled with Ctrl-x a.

Breakpoint on Exceptions

Unrelated to the mentioned Cppcon talk, I often want to get a stack trace when an exception was raised. Unfortunately when the exception triggered abort, the original stack trace can’t be accessed anymore.

catch throw [regexp] stops the program when an exception matching the regexp is thrown. The regexp part hasn’t yet worked for me though. So the program is stopped at any exception.

Another solution is to set a breakpoint on *__cxa_throw*: b __cxa_throw