A process debugger provides the ability to examine a process in detail. Like pstack, a debugger can obtain a stack trace for all threads in the process, but it also provides the ability to examine a process (or core file) in much greater detail, including observing the contents of memory at a specified address and the values of CPU registers in different frames of execution. The GNU debugger gdb is widely-used on Linux systems.


Using a debugger against a live process interrupts that process and suspends its execution until it detaches from the process. In addition, when running against a live process, a debugger has the ability to actually alter the contents of the memory associated with that process, which can have adverse effects. As a result, it is recommended that the use of a process debugger be restricted to core files and only used to examine live processes under the direction of your authorized support provider.