(gmp.info.gz) GMP Basics
Depending on the system, a segmentation violation or bus error
might be the only indication of stack overflow. See
`--enable-alloca' choices in Build Options, for how to
In new enough versions of GCC, `-fstack-check' may be able to
ensure an overflow is recognised by the system before too much
damage is done, or `-fstack-limit-symbol' or
`-fstack-limit-register' may be able to add checking if the system
itself doesn't do any ( Options for Code Generation
(gcc)Code Gen Options.). These options must be added to the
`CFLAGS' used in the GMP build ( Build Options), adding
them just to an application will have no effect. Note also
they're a slowdown, adding overhead to each function call and each
The most likely cause of application problems with GMP is heap
corruption. Failing to `init' GMP variables will have
unpredictable effects, and corruption arising elsewhere in a
program may well affect GMP. Initializing GMP variables more than
once or failing to clear them will cause memory leaks.
In all such cases a `malloc' debugger is recommended. On a GNU or
BSD system the standard C library `malloc' has some diagnostic
facilities, see Allocation Debugging (libc)Allocation
Debugging, or `man 3 malloc'. Other possibilities, in no
particular order, include
`http://www.perens.com/FreeSoftware/' (electric fence)
The GMP default allocation routines in `memory.c' also have a
simple sentinel scheme which can be enabled with `#define DEBUG'
in that file. This is mainly designed for detecting buffer
overruns during GMP development, but might find other uses.
On some systems the compiler options GMP uses by default can
interfere with debugging. In particular on x86 and 68k systems
`-fomit-frame-pointer' is used and this generally inhibits stack
backtracing. Recompiling without such options may help while
debugging, though the usual caveats about it potentially moving a
memory problem or hiding a compiler bug will apply.
GDB, the GNU Debugger
A sample `.gdbinit' is included in the distribution, showing how
to call some undocumented dump functions to print GMP variables
from within GDB. Note that these functions shouldn't be used in
final application code since they're undocumented and may be
subject to incompatible changes in future versions of GMP.
Source File Paths
GMP has multiple source files with the same name, in different
directories. For example `mpz', `mpq' and `mpf' each have an
`init.c'. If the debugger can't already determine the right one
it may help to build with absolute paths on each C file. One way
to do that is to use a separate object directory with an absolute
path to the source directory.
This works via `VPATH', and might require GNU `make'. Alternately
it might be possible to change the `.c.lo' rules appropriately.
The build option `--enable-assert' is available to add some
consistency checks to the library (see Build Options).
These are likely to be of limited value to most applications.
Assertion failures are just as likely to indicate memory
corruption as a library or compiler bug.
Applications using the low-level `mpn' functions, however, will
benefit from `--enable-assert' since it adds checks on the
parameters of most such functions, many of which have subtle
restrictions on their usage. Note however that only the generic C
code has checks, not the assembler code, so CPU `none' should be
used for maximum checking.
Temporary Memory Checking
The build option `--enable-alloca=debug' arranges that each block
of temporary memory in GMP is allocated with a separate call to
`malloc' (or the allocation function set with
This can help a malloc debugger detect accesses outside the
intended bounds, or detect memory not released. In a normal
build, on the other hand, temporary memory is allocated in blocks
which GMP divides up for its own use, or may be allocated with a
compiler builtin `alloca' which will go nowhere near any malloc
To summarize the above, a GMP build for maximum debuggability
./configure --disable-shared --enable-assert \
--enable-alloca=debug --host=none CFLAGS=-g
For C++, add `--enable-cxx CXXFLAGS=-g'.
The GCC checker (`http://savannah.gnu.org/projects/checker/') can
be used with GMP. It contains a stub library which means GMP
applications compiled with checker can use a normal GMP build.
A build of GMP with checking within GMP itself can be made. This
will run very very slowly. On GNU/Linux for example,
./configure --host=none-pc-linux-gnu CC=checkergcc
`--host=none' must be used, since the GMP assembler code doesn't
support the checking scheme. The GMP C++ features cannot be used,
since current versions of checker (0.9.9.1) don't yet support the
standard C++ library.
The valgrind program (`http://valgrind.org/') is a memory checker
for x86s. It translates and emulates machine instructions to do
strong checks for uninitialized data (at the level of individual
bits), memory accesses through bad pointers, and memory leaks.
Recent versions of Valgrind are getting support for MMX and
SSE/SSE2 instructions, for past versions GMP will need to be
configured not to use those, ie. for an x86 without them (for
instance plain `i486').
Any suspected bug in GMP itself should be isolated to make sure
it's not an application problem, see Reporting Bugs.
(gmp.info.gz) GMP Basics
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