Debugging in Unikraft

Debugging in Unikraft isn’t much more complicated than debugging a standard application with gdb. A couple of hints that should help:

  1. In the menu, under “Build Options” make sure that “Drop unused functions and data” is unselected. This prevents Unikraft from removing unused symbols from the final image and, if enabled, might hide missing dependencies during development.
  2. Use make V=1 to see verbose output for all of the commands being executed during the build. If the compilation for a particular file is breaking and you would like to understand why (e.g., perhaps the include paths are wrong), you can debug things by adding the -E flag to the command, removing the -o [objname], and redirecting the output to a file which you can then inspect.
  3. Check out the targets under “Miscellaneous” when typing make help, these may come in handy. For instance, make print-vars enables inspecting at the value of a particular variable in
  4. Use the individual make clean-[libname] targets to ensure that you’re cleaning only the part of Unikraft you’re working on and not all the libraries that it may depend on; this will speed up the build and thus the development process.
  5. Use the Linux user-space platform target for quicker and easier development and debugging.

Using GDB

For gdb debugging, first go to the menu and under “Build Options” make sure you select/deselect the following options as shown:

[*] Debugging information
[*]   Create a debugging information file
[*]   Create a symbols file
[ ] Strip final image

Then save the configuration and build your image. For Linux user-space simply point gdb to the resulting image, for example:

gdb build/helloworld_linuxu-x86_64

For KVM, use the command:

qemu-system-x86_64 -s -S -cpu host -enable-kvm -m 128 -nodefaults -no-acpi -display none -serial stdio -device isa-debug-exit -kernel build/helloworld_kvm-x86_64 -append verbose

For Xen the process is slightly more complicated and depends on Xen’s gdbsx tool. First you’ll need to make sure you have the tool on your system. Here are sample instructions to do that:

[get Xen sources]
cd tools/debugger/gdbsx/ && make

The gdbsx tool will then be under tools/debugger. For the actual debugging, you first need to create the guest (we recommend paused state: xl create -p), note its domain ID (xl list) and execute the debugger backend:

gdbsx -a [DOMAIN ID] 64 [PORT]

You can then connect gdb within a separate console and you’re ready to debug:

gdb --eval-command="target remote :[PORT]" build/helloworld_xen-x86_64

You should be also able to use the debugging file (build/helloworld_linuxu-x86_64.dbg) for gdb instead passing the kernel image.