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B. Installing GDB


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B.1 Requirements for Building GDB

Building GDB requires various tools and packages to be available. Other packages will be used only if they are found.

Tools/Packages Necessary for Building GDB

ISO C90 compiler

GDB is written in ISO C90. It should be buildable with any working C90 compiler, e.g. GCC.

Tools/Packages Optional for Building GDB

Expat

GDB can use the Expat XML parsing library. This library may be included with your operating system distribution; if it is not, you can get the latest version from http://expat.sourceforge.net. The `configure' script will search for this library in several standard locations; if it is installed in an unusual path, you can use the `--with-libexpat-prefix' option to specify its location.

Expat is used for:

zlib

GDB will use the `zlib' library, if available, to read compressed debug sections. Some linkers, such as GNU gold, are capable of producing binaries with compressed debug sections. If GDB is compiled with `zlib', it will be able to read the debug information in such binaries.

The `zlib' library is likely included with your operating system distribution; if it is not, you can get the latest version from http://zlib.net.

iconv

GDB's features related to character sets (see section Character Sets) require a functioning iconv implementation. If you are on a GNU system, then this is provided by the GNU C Library. Some other systems also provide a working iconv.

On systems with iconv, you can install GNU Libiconv. If you have previously installed Libiconv, you can use the `--with-libiconv-prefix' option to configure.

GDB's top-level `configure' and `Makefile' will arrange to build Libiconv if a directory named `libiconv' appears in the top-most source directory. If Libiconv is built this way, and if the operating system does not provide a suitable iconv implementation, then the just-built library will automatically be used by GDB. One easy way to set this up is to download GNU Libiconv, unpack it, and then rename the directory holding the Libiconv source code to `libiconv'.


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B.2 Invoking the GDB `configure' Script

GDB comes with a `configure' script that automates the process of preparing GDB for installation; you can then use make to build the gdb program.

The GDB distribution includes all the source code you need for GDB in a single directory, whose name is usually composed by appending the version number to `gdb'.

For example, the GDB version 7.0 distribution is in the `gdb-7.0' directory. That directory contains:

gdb-7.0/configure (and supporting files)

script for configuring GDB and all its supporting libraries

gdb-7.0/gdb

the source specific to GDB itself

gdb-7.0/bfd

source for the Binary File Descriptor library

gdb-7.0/include

GNU include files

gdb-7.0/libiberty

source for the `-liberty' free software library

gdb-7.0/opcodes

source for the library of opcode tables and disassemblers

gdb-7.0/readline

source for the GNU command-line interface

gdb-7.0/glob

source for the GNU filename pattern-matching subroutine

gdb-7.0/mmalloc

source for the GNU memory-mapped malloc package

The simplest way to configure and build GDB is to run `configure' from the `gdb-version-number' source directory, which in this example is the `gdb-7.0' directory.

First switch to the `gdb-version-number' source directory if you are not already in it; then run `configure'. Pass the identifier for the platform on which GDB will run as an argument.

For example:

 
cd gdb-7.0
./configure host
make

where host is an identifier such as `sun4' or `decstation', that identifies the platform where GDB will run. (You can often leave off host; `configure' tries to guess the correct value by examining your system.)

Running `configure host' and then running make builds the `bfd', `readline', `mmalloc', and `libiberty' libraries, then gdb itself. The configured source files, and the binaries, are left in the corresponding source directories.

`configure' is a Bourne-shell (/bin/sh) script; if your system does not recognize this automatically when you run a different shell, you may need to run sh on it explicitly:

 
sh configure host

If you run `configure' from a directory that contains source directories for multiple libraries or programs, such as the `gdb-7.0' source directory for version 7.0, `configure' creates configuration files for every directory level underneath (unless you tell it not to, with the `--norecursion' option).

You should run the `configure' script from the top directory in the source tree, the `gdb-version-number' directory. If you run `configure' from one of the subdirectories, you will configure only that subdirectory. That is usually not what you want. In particular, if you run the first `configure' from the `gdb' subdirectory of the `gdb-version-number' directory, you will omit the configuration of `bfd', `readline', and other sibling directories of the `gdb' subdirectory. This leads to build errors about missing include files such as `bfd/bfd.h'.

You can install gdb anywhere; it has no hardwired paths. However, you should make sure that the shell on your path (named by the `SHELL' environment variable) is publicly readable. Remember that GDB uses the shell to start your program--some systems refuse to let GDB debug child processes whose programs are not readable.


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B.3 Compiling GDB in Another Directory

If you want to run GDB versions for several host or target machines, you need a different gdb compiled for each combination of host and target. `configure' is designed to make this easy by allowing you to generate each configuration in a separate subdirectory, rather than in the source directory. If your make program handles the `VPATH' feature (GNU make does), running make in each of these directories builds the gdb program specified there.

To build gdb in a separate directory, run `configure' with the `--srcdir' option to specify where to find the source. (You also need to specify a path to find `configure' itself from your working directory. If the path to `configure' would be the same as the argument to `--srcdir', you can leave out the `--srcdir' option; it is assumed.)

For example, with version 7.0, you can build GDB in a separate directory for a Sun 4 like this:

 
cd gdb-7.0
mkdir ../gdb-sun4
cd ../gdb-sun4
../gdb-7.0/configure sun4
make

When `configure' builds a configuration using a remote source directory, it creates a tree for the binaries with the same structure (and using the same names) as the tree under the source directory. In the example, you'd find the Sun 4 library `libiberty.a' in the directory `gdb-sun4/libiberty', and GDB itself in `gdb-sun4/gdb'.

Make sure that your path to the `configure' script has just one instance of `gdb' in it. If your path to `configure' looks like `../gdb-7.0/gdb/configure', you are configuring only one subdirectory of GDB, not the whole package. This leads to build errors about missing include files such as `bfd/bfd.h'.

One popular reason to build several GDB configurations in separate directories is to configure GDB for cross-compiling (where GDB runs on one machine--the host--while debugging programs that run on another machine--the target). You specify a cross-debugging target by giving the `--target=target' option to `configure'.

When you run make to build a program or library, you must run it in a configured directory--whatever directory you were in when you called `configure' (or one of its subdirectories).

The Makefile that `configure' generates in each source directory also runs recursively. If you type make in a source directory such as `gdb-7.0' (or in a separate configured directory configured with `--srcdir=dirname/gdb-7.0'), you will build all the required libraries, and then build GDB.

When you have multiple hosts or targets configured in separate directories, you can run make on them in parallel (for example, if they are NFS-mounted on each of the hosts); they will not interfere with each other.


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B.4 Specifying Names for Hosts and Targets

The specifications used for hosts and targets in the `configure' script are based on a three-part naming scheme, but some short predefined aliases are also supported. The full naming scheme encodes three pieces of information in the following pattern:

 
architecture-vendor-os

For example, you can use the alias sun4 as a host argument, or as the value for target in a --target=target option. The equivalent full name is `sparc-sun-sunos4'.

The `configure' script accompanying GDB does not provide any query facility to list all supported host and target names or aliases. `configure' calls the Bourne shell script config.sub to map abbreviations to full names; you can read the script, if you wish, or you can use it to test your guesses on abbreviations--for example:

 
% sh config.sub i386-linux
i386-pc-linux-gnu
% sh config.sub alpha-linux
alpha-unknown-linux-gnu
% sh config.sub hp9k700
hppa1.1-hp-hpux
% sh config.sub sun4
sparc-sun-sunos4.1.1
% sh config.sub sun3
m68k-sun-sunos4.1.1
% sh config.sub i986v
Invalid configuration `i986v': machine `i986v' not recognized

config.sub is also distributed in the GDB source directory (`gdb-7.0', for version 7.0).


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B.5 `configure' Options

Here is a summary of the `configure' options and arguments that are most often useful for building GDB. `configure' also has several other options not listed here. See (configure.info)What Configure Does, for a full explanation of `configure'.

 
configure [--help]
          [--prefix=dir]
          [--exec-prefix=dir]
          [--srcdir=dirname]
          [--norecursion] [--rm]
          [--target=target]
          host

You may introduce options with a single `-' rather than `--' if you prefer; but you may abbreviate option names if you use `--'.

--help

Display a quick summary of how to invoke `configure'.

--prefix=dir

Configure the source to install programs and files under directory `dir'.

--exec-prefix=dir

Configure the source to install programs under directory `dir'.

--srcdir=dirname

Warning: using this option requires GNU make, or another make that implements the VPATH feature.
Use this option to make configurations in directories separate from the GDB source directories. Among other things, you can use this to build (or maintain) several configurations simultaneously, in separate directories. `configure' writes configuration-specific files in the current directory, but arranges for them to use the source in the directory dirname. `configure' creates directories under the working directory in parallel to the source directories below dirname.

--norecursion

Configure only the directory level where `configure' is executed; do not propagate configuration to subdirectories.

--target=target

Configure GDB for cross-debugging programs running on the specified target. Without this option, GDB is configured to debug programs that run on the same machine (host) as GDB itself.

There is no convenient way to generate a list of all available targets.

host

Configure GDB to run on the specified host.

There is no convenient way to generate a list of all available hosts.

There are many other options available as well, but they are generally needed for special purposes only.


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B.6 System-wide configuration and settings

GDB can be configured to have a system-wide init file; this file will be read and executed at startup (see section What GDB does during startup).

Here is the corresponding configure option:

--with-system-gdbinit=file

Specify that the default location of the system-wide init file is file.

If GDB has been configured with the option `--prefix=$prefix', it may be subject to relocation. Two possible cases:


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