Help getting started debugging Emacs on macOS Sierra

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Help getting started debugging Emacs on macOS Sierra

Itai Berli
Hello.

I'm new to Emacs development.

I'm interesting in exploring the Emacs bidi feature, which is coded in the files bidi.c and xdisp.c.

To get my feet wet, I'd like to set a breakpoint in the beginning of one of the functions in one of these files, I don't care which one, and step through the function in a debugger.

Not only am I new to Emacs development, I'm also new to developing C programs. Ideally, I'd like to do this in the Eclipse IDE for C/C++ Developers (Oxygen Release 4.7.0). However, I'm also willing to try another debugger, such as a command-line one, if it's easier to get started.

My operating system is macOS Sierra Version 10.12.6 (the latest version). My LLVM version is 8.1.0 (clang-802.0.42).

I'll appreciate it if someone can walk me through the steps needed to get up and running.

I have downloaded Emacs from git by running


I then compiled and installed it by running the following sequence of scripts.

> ./autogen.sh
> ./autogen.sh git
> ./configure
> make
> make install

All the scripts finished successfully. In the end I was able to start the Emacs GUI from the command line by running

> open nextstep/Emacs.app

The Emacs version that displayed was GNU Emacs 26.0.50 (build 1, x86_64-apple-darwin16.7.0, NS appkit-1504.83 Version 10.12.6 (Build 16G29)).

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Re: Help getting started debugging Emacs on macOS Sierra

Paul Eggert
Itai Berli wrote:
> I'll appreciate it if someone can walk me through the steps needed to get
> up and running....

> All the scripts finished successfully. In the end I was able to start the
> Emacs GUI from the command line by running
>
>> open nextstep/Emacs.app

You've gotten up and running, so it sounds like all you need to do is to learn
how to debug.

I normally use gdb under Emacs to debug Emacs. To do that, I run Emacs in the
source directory, type the command "M-x gud-gdb RET bootstrap-emacs RET" to get
GDB running on a subsidiary instance of Emacs, type the GDB command "b
Fexpand_file_name" to plant a breakpoint in (say) Fexpand_file_name, and then
type the GDB command "r" to run the Emacs being debugged.

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Re: Help getting started debugging Emacs on macOS Sierra

Itai Berli
Thanks, Paul. Do you use macOS? I read that Macs don't use gdb natively, but instead an alternative called LLVM. At any rate, gdb is not installed on my system. I can download and install it, but I'm a little hesitant, as I'm afraid it might clash with LLVM.

On Fri, Aug 11, 2017 at 6:04 AM, Paul Eggert <[hidden email]> wrote:
Itai Berli wrote:
I'll appreciate it if someone can walk me through the steps needed to get
up and running....

All the scripts finished successfully. In the end I was able to start the
Emacs GUI from the command line by running

open nextstep/Emacs.app

You've gotten up and running, so it sounds like all you need to do is to learn how to debug.

I normally use gdb under Emacs to debug Emacs. To do that, I run Emacs in the source directory, type the command "M-x gud-gdb RET bootstrap-emacs RET" to get GDB running on a subsidiary instance of Emacs, type the GDB command "b Fexpand_file_name" to plant a breakpoint in (say) Fexpand_file_name, and then type the GDB command "r" to run the Emacs being debugged.

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Re: Help getting started debugging Emacs on macOS Sierra

Eli Zaretskii
In reply to this post by Itai Berli
> From: Itai Berli <[hidden email]>
> Date: Fri, 11 Aug 2017 02:25:17 +0300
>
> I'm interesting in exploring the Emacs bidi feature, which is coded in the files bidi.c and xdisp.c.
>
> To get my feet wet, I'd like to set a breakpoint in the beginning of one of the functions in one of these files, I
> don't care which one, and step through the function in a debugger.
>
> Not only am I new to Emacs development, I'm also new to developing C programs. Ideally, I'd like to do this in
> the Eclipse IDE for C/C++ Developers (Oxygen Release 4.7.0). However, I'm also willing to try another
> debugger, such as a command-line one, if it's easier to get started.
>
> My operating system is macOS Sierra Version 10.12.6 (the latest version). My LLVM version is 8.1.0
> (clang-802.0.42).
>
> I'll appreciate it if someone can walk me through the steps needed to get up and running.

I don't use macOS, and so cannot tell you how to use lldb to debug
Emacs.  Some advice is in etc/DEBUG, but its most useful parts are
heavily skewed towards GDB.  So if possible, I suggest to install GDB
for macOS, I'm sure some version of it is available.  That would allow
more people here to help you with specific commands and features of
the debugger.  Debugging support in src/.gdbinit is also GDB-specific,
and I don't know how well does lldb emulate GDB for the commands
defined on .gdbinit to work in lldb.

> I have downloaded Emacs from git by running
>
> > git clone git://git.savannah.gnu.org/emacs.git
>
> I then compiled and installed it by running the following sequence of scripts.
>
> > ./autogen.sh
> > ./autogen.sh git
> > ./configure
> > make
> > make install

The default build uses optimization switches, which make debugging
harder.  So I suggest to rebuild Emacs without optimizations and with
better debugging info:

  CFLAGS='-O0 -g3' ./configure
  make
  make install

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Re: Help getting started debugging Emacs on macOS Sierra

Itai Berli
Eli wrote:

I suggest to rebuild Emacs without optimizations and with better debugging info:
>
>  CFLAGS='-O0 -g3' ./configure
> make
> make install

Thank you, Eli. Do I also need to run './autogen.sh' and './autogen.sh git' again?

On Fri, Aug 11, 2017 at 9:28 AM, Eli Zaretskii <[hidden email]> wrote:
> From: Itai Berli <[hidden email]>
> Date: Fri, 11 Aug 2017 02:25:17 +0300
>
> I'm interesting in exploring the Emacs bidi feature, which is coded in the files bidi.c and xdisp.c.
>
> To get my feet wet, I'd like to set a breakpoint in the beginning of one of the functions in one of these files, I
> don't care which one, and step through the function in a debugger.
>
> Not only am I new to Emacs development, I'm also new to developing C programs. Ideally, I'd like to do this in
> the Eclipse IDE for C/C++ Developers (Oxygen Release 4.7.0). However, I'm also willing to try another
> debugger, such as a command-line one, if it's easier to get started.
>
> My operating system is macOS Sierra Version 10.12.6 (the latest version). My LLVM version is 8.1.0
> (clang-802.0.42).
>
> I'll appreciate it if someone can walk me through the steps needed to get up and running.

I don't use macOS, and so cannot tell you how to use lldb to debug
Emacs.  Some advice is in etc/DEBUG, but its most useful parts are
heavily skewed towards GDB.  So if possible, I suggest to install GDB
for macOS, I'm sure some version of it is available.  That would allow
more people here to help you with specific commands and features of
the debugger.  Debugging support in src/.gdbinit is also GDB-specific,
and I don't know how well does lldb emulate GDB for the commands
defined on .gdbinit to work in lldb.

> I have downloaded Emacs from git by running
>
> > git clone git://git.savannah.gnu.org/emacs.git
>
> I then compiled and installed it by running the following sequence of scripts.
>
> > ./autogen.sh
> > ./autogen.sh git
> > ./configure
> > make
> > make install

The default build uses optimization switches, which make debugging
harder.  So I suggest to rebuild Emacs without optimizations and with
better debugging info:

  CFLAGS='-O0 -g3' ./configure
  make
  make install

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Re: Help getting started debugging Emacs on macOS Sierra

Paul Eggert
In reply to this post by Itai Berli
Itai Berli wrote:
> At any rate, gdb is not installed
> on my system. I can download and install it, but I'm a little hesitant, as
> I'm afraid it might clash with LLVM.

It won't break anything; although GDB consumes LLVM's output, it does not affect
what LLVM does.

You don't need to rerun autogen.sh merely because you re-ran 'configure'.

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Re: Help getting started debugging Emacs on macOS Sierra

Itai Berli
OK. So I've installed gdb, and rebuilt Emacs as Eli suggested. I have then imported the project to Eclipse IDE for C/C++ Developers (Oxygen Release 4.7.0). I have no trouble running the GUI from Eclipse. However, when when I try to debug it, I get the following error message:

---
'Launching emacs-26.0.50.1' has encountered a problem.
Error in final launch sequence
Failed to execute MI command:
-exec-run
Error message from debugger back end:
During startup program terminated with signal ?, Unknown signal.
During startup program terminated with signal ?, Unknown signal.
---

On Fri, Aug 11, 2017 at 11:47 AM, Paul Eggert <[hidden email]> wrote:
Itai Berli wrote:
At any rate, gdb is not installed
on my system. I can download and install it, but I'm a little hesitant, as
I'm afraid it might clash with LLVM.

It won't break anything; although GDB consumes LLVM's output, it does not affect what LLVM does.

You don't need to rerun autogen.sh merely because you re-ran 'configure'.

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Re: Help getting started debugging Emacs on macOS Sierra

Itai Berli
Paul Eggert wrote:

> type the GDB command "b Fexpand_file_name" to plant a breakpoint in (say) Fexpand_file_name

What do you mean by 'Fexpand_file_name'? The name of a file, or the name of a function? Could you give me a concrete example? Suppose, for instance, I wish to place a breakpoint at the start of the 'main; function. How can I do so?

On Fri, Aug 11, 2017 at 11:57 AM, Itai Berli <[hidden email]> wrote:
OK. So I've installed gdb, and rebuilt Emacs as Eli suggested. I have then imported the project to Eclipse IDE for C/C++ Developers (Oxygen Release 4.7.0). I have no trouble running the GUI from Eclipse. However, when when I try to debug it, I get the following error message:

---
'Launching emacs-26.0.50.1' has encountered a problem.
Error in final launch sequence
Failed to execute MI command:
-exec-run
Error message from debugger back end:
During startup program terminated with signal ?, Unknown signal.
During startup program terminated with signal ?, Unknown signal.
---

On Fri, Aug 11, 2017 at 11:47 AM, Paul Eggert <[hidden email]> wrote:
Itai Berli wrote:
At any rate, gdb is not installed
on my system. I can download and install it, but I'm a little hesitant, as
I'm afraid it might clash with LLVM.

It won't break anything; although GDB consumes LLVM's output, it does not affect what LLVM does.

You don't need to rerun autogen.sh merely because you re-ran 'configure'.


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Re: Help getting started debugging Emacs on macOS Sierra

Eli Zaretskii
In reply to this post by Itai Berli
> From: Itai Berli <[hidden email]>
> Date: Fri, 11 Aug 2017 11:27:25 +0300
> Cc: Emacs developers <[hidden email]>
>
> > I suggest to rebuild Emacs without optimizations and with better debugging info:
> >
> > CFLAGS='-O0 -g3' ./configure
> > make
> > make install
>
> Thank you, Eli. Do I also need to run './autogen.sh' and './autogen.sh git' again?

No, running autogen.sh is a one-time thing.

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Re: Help getting started debugging Emacs on macOS Sierra

Eli Zaretskii
In reply to this post by Itai Berli
> From: Itai Berli <[hidden email]>
> Date: Fri, 11 Aug 2017 11:57:10 +0300
> Cc: Emacs developers <[hidden email]>
>
> OK. So I've installed gdb, and rebuilt Emacs as Eli suggested. I have then imported the project to Eclipse IDE
> for C/C++ Developers (Oxygen Release 4.7.0). I have no trouble running the GUI from Eclipse. However,
> when when I try to debug it, I get the following error message:
>
> ---
> 'Launching emacs-26.0.50.1' has encountered a problem.
> Error in final launch sequence
> Failed to execute MI command:
> -exec-run
> Error message from debugger back end:
> During startup program terminated with signal ?, Unknown signal.
> During startup program terminated with signal ?, Unknown signal.

I don't use Eclipse, so I'm stabbing in the dark here.  The error
message means that there's some problem between Eclipse and the
underlying debugger with respect to GDB/MI commands emitted by
Eclipse.  Google finds several discussions for these error messages,
so maybe you will b  e able to find a solution there.

An alternative is to use the Emacs's front-end for GDB, it is started
with "M-x gdb RET".

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Re: Help getting started debugging Emacs on macOS Sierra

Eli Zaretskii
In reply to this post by Itai Berli
> From: Itai Berli <[hidden email]>
> Date: Fri, 11 Aug 2017 12:27:01 +0300
> Cc: Emacs developers <[hidden email]>
>
> Paul Eggert wrote:
>
> > type the GDB command "b Fexpand_file_name" to plant a breakpoint in (say) Fexpand_file_name
>
> What do you mean by 'Fexpand_file_name'? The name of a file, or the name of a function?

It's the name of a function.

> Could you give me
> a concrete example? Suppose, for instance, I wish to place a breakpoint at the start of the 'main; function. How
> can I do so?

"b main".  "b" is a short for "break".

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Re: Help getting started debugging Emacs on macOS Sierra

Itai Berli
Typing "b main<RET>" in the *gud* buffer results in the following error message:

> Current buffer has no process

On Fri, Aug 11, 2017 at 12:52 PM, Eli Zaretskii <[hidden email]> wrote:
> From: Itai Berli <[hidden email]>
> Date: Fri, 11 Aug 2017 12:27:01 +0300
> Cc: Emacs developers <[hidden email]>
>
> Paul Eggert wrote:
>
> > type the GDB command "b Fexpand_file_name" to plant a breakpoint in (say) Fexpand_file_name
>
> What do you mean by 'Fexpand_file_name'? The name of a file, or the name of a function?

It's the name of a function.

> Could you give me
> a concrete example? Suppose, for instance, I wish to place a breakpoint at the start of the 'main; function. How
> can I do so?

"b main".  "b" is a short for "break".

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Re: Help getting started debugging Emacs on macOS Sierra

Itai Berli
By the way, the *gud* buffer's first line is

> Current directory is ~/

However, the Emacs source code is in ~/emacs. Maybe this is the problem? But I started Emacs from ~/emacs. How can I set the *gud* buffer's current directory?

On Fri, Aug 11, 2017 at 12:55 PM, Itai Berli <[hidden email]> wrote:
Typing "b main<RET>" in the *gud* buffer results in the following error message:

> Current buffer has no process

On Fri, Aug 11, 2017 at 12:52 PM, Eli Zaretskii <[hidden email]> wrote:
> From: Itai Berli <[hidden email]>
> Date: Fri, 11 Aug 2017 12:27:01 +0300
> Cc: Emacs developers <[hidden email]>
>
> Paul Eggert wrote:
>
> > type the GDB command "b Fexpand_file_name" to plant a breakpoint in (say) Fexpand_file_name
>
> What do you mean by 'Fexpand_file_name'? The name of a file, or the name of a function?

It's the name of a function.

> Could you give me
> a concrete example? Suppose, for instance, I wish to place a breakpoint at the start of the 'main; function. How
> can I do so?

"b main".  "b" is a short for "break".


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Re: Help getting started debugging Emacs on macOS Sierra

Itai Berli
OK, I think I misunderstood Paul's command line "M-x gud-gdb RET bootstrap-emacs RET" as meaning that after executing "M-x gud-gdb RET" the only thing that should appear after the prompt is "bootstrap-emacs", so I deleted the "gdb --full-name" prefix that appeared there automatically. If I keep this prefix, the error reported above doesn't occur. However, now I get the following complaint from gdb:

> No executable file specified.
> Use the "file" or "exec-file" command.

Here's the complete contents of the *gud* buffer.

Current directory is ~/
GNU gdb (GDB) 8.0
Copyright (C) 2017 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
License GPLv3+: GNU GPL version 3 or later <http://gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html>
This is free software: you are free to change and redistribute it.
There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.  Type "show copying"
and "show warranty" for details.
This GDB was configured as "x86_64-apple-darwin16.6.0".
Type "show configuration" for configuration details.
For bug reporting instructions, please see:
Find the GDB manual and other documentation resources online at:
For help, type "help".
Type "apropos word" to search for commands related to "word"...
bootstrap-emacs: No such file or directory.
(gdb) b main
No symbol table is loaded.  Use the "file" command.
Make breakpoint pending on future shared library load? (y or [n]) y
Breakpoint 1 (main) pending.
(gdb) r
Starting program:  
No executable file specified.
Use the "file" or "exec-file" command.

On Fri, Aug 11, 2017 at 12:59 PM, Itai Berli <[hidden email]> wrote:
By the way, the *gud* buffer's first line is

> Current directory is ~/

However, the Emacs source code is in ~/emacs. Maybe this is the problem? But I started Emacs from ~/emacs. How can I set the *gud* buffer's current directory?

On Fri, Aug 11, 2017 at 12:55 PM, Itai Berli <[hidden email]> wrote:
Typing "b main<RET>" in the *gud* buffer results in the following error message:

> Current buffer has no process

On Fri, Aug 11, 2017 at 12:52 PM, Eli Zaretskii <[hidden email]> wrote:
> From: Itai Berli <[hidden email]>
> Date: Fri, 11 Aug 2017 12:27:01 +0300
> Cc: Emacs developers <[hidden email]>
>
> Paul Eggert wrote:
>
> > type the GDB command "b Fexpand_file_name" to plant a breakpoint in (say) Fexpand_file_name
>
> What do you mean by 'Fexpand_file_name'? The name of a file, or the name of a function?

It's the name of a function.

> Could you give me
> a concrete example? Suppose, for instance, I wish to place a breakpoint at the start of the 'main; function. How
> can I do so?

"b main".  "b" is a short for "break".



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Re: Help getting started debugging Emacs on macOS Sierra

Tino Calancha-2


On Fri, 11 Aug 2017, Itai Berli wrote:

> However, now I get the
> following complaint from gdb:
>
> > No executable file specified.
> > Use the "file" or "exec-file" command.
That means, gdb doesn't know which program to debug.

> Here's the complete contents of the *gud* buffer.

> Current directory is ~/
> No symbol table is loaded.  Use the "file" command.
> Make breakpoint pending on future shared library load? (y or [n]) y
> Breakpoint 1 (main) pending.
> (gdb) r
> Starting program:  
> No executable file specified.
> Use the "file" or "exec-file" command.
Assuming your executable is at:
~/emacs/src/bootstrap-emacs
you can do in the gdb command line:
file ~/emacs/src/bootstrap-emacs

> On Fri, Aug 11, 2017 at 12:59 PM, Itai Berli <[hidden email]> wrote:
>       By the way, the *gud* buffer's first line is
> > Current directory is ~/
>
> However, the Emacs source code is in ~/emacs. Maybe this is the problem? But I started Emacs from ~/emacs. How can I set
> the *gud* buffer's current directory?
DUNNO why it doesn't starts at ~/emacs.
You can try from a terminal:
|> emacs ~/emacs/src
;; now call gdb
M-x gdb RET ; it should offer to debug 'bootstrap-emacs'
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Re: Help getting started debugging Emacs on macOS Sierra

Itai Berli
Thanks, Tino.

I've finally managed to get gdb to work by executing the following two instructions at the gdb command prompt:

(gdb) cd ~/emacs
(gdb) file src/bootstrap-emacs

However, your suggestion to execute the following from the terminal, didn't work:

> emacs ~/emacs/src

Is there a way to configure gdb to use the above settings (cd and file) automatically?

On Fri, Aug 11, 2017 at 2:46 PM, Tino Calancha <[hidden email]> wrote:


On Fri, 11 Aug 2017, Itai Berli wrote:

However, now I get the
following complaint from gdb:

> No executable file specified.
> Use the "file" or "exec-file" command.
That means, gdb doesn't know which program to debug.

Here's the complete contents of the *gud* buffer.

Current directory is ~/
No symbol table is loaded.  Use the "file" command.
Make breakpoint pending on future shared library load? (y or [n]) y
Breakpoint 1 (main) pending.
(gdb) r
Starting program:  
No executable file specified.
Use the "file" or "exec-file" command.
Assuming your executable is at:
~/emacs/src/bootstrap-emacs
you can do in the gdb command line:
file ~/emacs/src/bootstrap-emacs

On Fri, Aug 11, 2017 at 12:59 PM, Itai Berli <[hidden email]> wrote:
      By the way, the *gud* buffer's first line is
> Current directory is ~/

However, the Emacs source code is in ~/emacs. Maybe this is the problem? But I started Emacs from ~/emacs. How can I set
the *gud* buffer's current directory?
DUNNO why it doesn't starts at ~/emacs.
You can try from a terminal:
|> emacs ~/emacs/src
;; now call gdb
M-x gdb RET ; it should offer to debug 'bootstrap-emacs'

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Re: Help getting started debugging Emacs on macOS Sierra

Tino Calancha-2


On Fri, 11 Aug 2017, Itai Berli wrote:

> Thanks, Tino.
> I've finally managed to get gdb to work by executing the following two instructions at the gdb command prompt:
> (gdb) cd ~/emacs
> (gdb) file src/bootstrap-emacs
>
> However, your suggestion to execute the following from the terminal, didn't work:
>
> > emacs ~/emacs/src
Oh, i think you mention you run Emacs with:
open nextstep/Emacs.app

i don't have mac but i guess the following might work (*):
open -a nextstep/Emacs.app ~/emacs/src

(*) https://www.emacswiki.org/emacs/EmacsForMacOS#toc17

In case it works, then call from Emacs the gdb front-end:
M-x gdb RET
;; You must see something like:
gdb -i=mi bootstrap-emacs
;; Just enter and gdb would have loaded the Emacs executable

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Re: Help getting started debugging Emacs on macOS Sierra

Itai Berli
Thanks. What does the '-i=mi' mean? I don't see the '-i' option on the gdb man page.

On Fri, Aug 11, 2017 at 3:33 PM, Tino Calancha <[hidden email]> wrote:


On Fri, 11 Aug 2017, Itai Berli wrote:

Thanks, Tino.
I've finally managed to get gdb to work by executing the following two instructions at the gdb command prompt:
(gdb) cd ~/emacs
(gdb) file src/bootstrap-emacs

However, your suggestion to execute the following from the terminal, didn't work:

> emacs ~/emacs/src
Oh, i think you mention you run Emacs with:
open nextstep/Emacs.app

i don't have mac but i guess the following might work (*):
open -a nextstep/Emacs.app ~/emacs/src

(*) https://www.emacswiki.org/emacs/EmacsForMacOS#toc17

In case it works, then call from Emacs the gdb front-end:
M-x gdb RET
;; You must see something like:
gdb -i=mi bootstrap-emacs
;; Just enter and gdb would have loaded the Emacs executable

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Re: Help getting started debugging Emacs on macOS Sierra

Eli Zaretskii
In reply to this post by Itai Berli
> From: Itai Berli <[hidden email]>
> Date: Fri, 11 Aug 2017 12:55:38 +0300
> Cc: Paul Eggert <[hidden email]>, Emacs developers <[hidden email]>
>
> Typing "b main<RET>" in the *gud* buffer results in the following error message:
>
> > Current buffer has no process

You didn't start the debugging session correctly.

Here's a full recipe:

  M-x cd RET /where/you/have/emacs/binary RET
  M-x gud-gdb RET
  <edit the command to leave only "emacs", not "bootstrap-emacs">
  RET

After the last RET you should see a (gdb) prompt in the "*gud-emacs*
buffer.

 (gdb) b main
 (gdb) run -Q


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Re: Help getting started debugging Emacs on macOS Sierra

Tino Calancha-2
In reply to this post by Itai Berli


On Fri, 11 Aug 2017, Itai Berli wrote:

> Thanks. What does the '-i=mi' mean? I don't see the '-i' option on the gdb man page.
That is to use gdb's MI text interface (*).
You don't need to worry about that to start using gdb.
(*) https://sourceware.org/gdb/onlinedocs/gdb/GDB_002fMI.html


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