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Debugging C or FORTRAN Programs with gdb

Some of our FORTRAN users needed a source code debugger, allowing them to step through their code, examine variables, etc. The following documentation on the GNU debugger should be a working introduction.

Compiling Programs with Debugging Symbols Included

You need to modify your gcc or g77 compile command to include the -g option. So, an example C program compile would be:

    gcc -o myprogram -g myprogram.c

An example FORTRAN program compile would be:

    g77 -o myprogram -g myprogram.f

Starting gdb

At the shell prompt, type gdb myprogram, where myprogram is the name of your C or FORTRAN executable. You should see several introductory lines of text including the gdb version number, and then a (gdb) prompt.

Setting a Breakpoint

The most common task in a debugger is to run your program as normal, until you get up to a predefined subroutine or section of code you want to examine in greater detail.

Setting a breakpoint at the top of your main program, in C:

    break main

Setting a breakpoint at the top of your main program, in FORTRAN:

    break main__

Setting a breakpoint at a particular line number in a particular file:

    break myprogram.f:mylinenumber

where myprogram.f and mylinenumber are the source file and line number where you want to set the breakpoint.

Clearing Breakpoints

To remove an existing breakpoint:

    clear myprogram.f:mylinenumber


To step through the next line of code, but skip over any detailed examination of subroutines:


To step through the next line of code, and also step through any subroutines line-by-line:


Examining variable values

To examine the value of an available variable at the current line of the program:

    print myvariable

where myvariable is the variable name you want to examine

Resuming Normal Program Execution

To step through all lines of code up to the next breakpoint, if any:



To exit gdb:


(Thanks to Barath Baburao for helping test out gdb.)

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