PTRACE(2) MidnightBSD System Calls Manual PTRACE(2)

NAME

ptrace — process tracing and debugging

LIBRARY

Standard C Library (libc, −lc)

SYNOPSIS

#include <sys/types.h>
#include <sys/ptrace.h>

int

ptrace(int request, pid_t pid, caddr_t addr, int data);

DESCRIPTION

The ptrace() system call provides tracing and debugging facilities. It allows one process (the tracing process) to control another (the traced process). The tracing process must first attach to the traced process, and then issue a series of ptrace() system calls to control the execution of the process, as well as access process memory and register state. For the duration of the tracing session, the traced process will be ‘‘re-parented’’, with its parent process ID (and resulting behavior) changed to the tracing process. It is permissible for a tracing process to attach to more than one other process at a time. When the tracing process has completed its work, it must detach the traced process; if a tracing process exits without first detaching all processes it has attached, those processes will be killed.

Most of the time, the traced process runs normally, but when it receives a signal (see sigaction(2)), it stops. The tracing process is expected to notice this via wait(2) or the delivery of a SIGCHLD signal, examine the state of the stopped process, and cause it to terminate or continue as appropriate. The signal may be a normal process signal, generated as a result of traced process behavior, or use of the kill(2) system call; alternatively, it may be generated by the tracing facility as a result of attaching, system calls, or stepping by the tracing process. The tracing process may choose to intercept the signal, using it to observe process behavior (such as SIGTRAP), or forward the signal to the process if appropriate. The ptrace() system call is the mechanism by which all this happens.

The request argument specifies what operation is being performed; the meaning of the rest of the arguments depends on the operation, but except for one special case noted below, all ptrace() calls are made by the tracing process, and the pid argument specifies the process ID of the traced process. The request argument can be:

PT_TRACE_ME

This request is the only one used by the traced process; it declares that the process expects to be traced by its parent. All the other arguments are ignored. (If the parent process does not expect to trace the child, it will probably be rather confused by the results; once the traced process stops, it cannot be made to continue except via ptrace().) When a process has used this request and calls execve(2) or any of the routines built on it (such as execv(3)), it will stop before executing the first instruction of the new image. Also, any setuid or setgid bits on the executable being executed will be ignored.

PT_READ_I, PT_READ_D

These requests read a single int of data from the traced process’s address space. Traditionally, ptrace() has allowed for machines with distinct address spaces for instruction and data, which is why there are two requests: conceptually, PT_READ_I reads from the instruction space and PT_READ_D reads from the data space. In the current FreeBSD implementation, these two requests are completely identical. The addr argument specifies the address (in the traced process’s virtual address space) at which the read is to be done. This address does not have to meet any alignment constraints. The value read is returned as the return value from ptrace().

PT_WRITE_I, PT_WRITE_D

These requests parallel PT_READ_I and PT_READ_D, except that they write rather than read. The data argument supplies the value to be written.

PT_IO

This request allows reading and writing arbitrary amounts of data in the traced process’s address space. The addr argument specifies a pointer to a struct ptrace_io_desc, which is defined as follows:

struct ptrace_io_desc {

int

piod_op;

/* I/O operation */

void

*piod_offs;

/* child offset */

void

*piod_addr;

/* parent offset */

size_t

piod_len;

/* request length */

};

/*
* Operations in piod_op.
*/

#define PIOD_READ_D

1

/* Read from D space */

#define PIOD_WRITE_D

2

/* Write to D space */

#define PIOD_READ_I

3

/* Read from I space */

#define PIOD_WRITE_I

4

/* Write to I space */

The data argument is ignored. The actual number of bytes read or written is stored in piod_len upon return.

PT_CONTINUE

The traced process continues execution. The addr argument is an address specifying the place where execution is to be resumed (a new value for the program counter), or (

caddr_t )1 to indicate that execution is to pick up where it left off. The data argument provides a signal number to be delivered to the traced process as it resumes execution, or 0 if no signal is to be sent.

PT_STEP

The traced process is single stepped one instruction. The addr argument should be passed (

caddr_t )1. The data argument provides a signal number to be delivered to the traced process as it resumes execution, or 0 if no signal is to be sent.

PT_KILL

The traced process terminates, as if PT_CONTINUE had been used with SIGKILL given as the signal to be delivered.

PT_ATTACH

This request allows a process to gain control of an otherwise unrelated process and begin tracing it. It does not need any cooperation from the to-be-traced process. In this case, pid specifies the process ID of the to-be-traced process, and the other two arguments are ignored. This request requires that the target process must have the same real UID as the tracing process, and that it must not be executing a setuid or setgid executable. (If the tracing process is running as root, these restrictions do not apply.) The tracing process will see the newly-traced process stop and may then control it as if it had been traced all along.

PT_DETACH

This request is like PT_CONTINUE, except that it does not allow specifying an alternate place to continue execution, and after it succeeds, the traced process is no longer traced and continues execution normally.

PT_GETREGS

This request reads the traced process’s machine registers into the ‘‘

struct reg ’’ (defined in <machine/reg.h>) pointed to by addr.

PT_SETREGS

This request is the converse of PT_GETREGS; it loads the traced process’s machine registers from the ‘‘

struct reg ’’ (defined in <machine/reg.h>) pointed to by addr.

PT_GETFPREGS

This request reads the traced process’s floating-point registers into the ‘‘

struct fpreg ’’ (defined in <machine/reg.h>) pointed to by addr.

PT_SETFPREGS

This request is the converse of PT_GETFPREGS; it loads the traced process’s floating-point registers from the ‘‘

struct fpreg ’’ (defined in <machine/reg.h>) pointed to by addr.

PT_GETDBREGS

This request reads the traced process’s debug registers into the ‘‘

struct dbreg ’’ (defined in <machine/reg.h>) pointed to by addr.

PT_SETDBREGS

This request is the converse of PT_GETDBREGS; it loads the traced process’s debug registers from the ‘‘

struct dbreg ’’ (defined in <machine/reg.h>) pointed to by addr.

PT_LWPINFO

This request can be used to obtain information about the kernel thread, also known as light-weight process, that caused the traced process to stop. The addr argument specifies a pointer to a struct ptrace_lwpinfo, which is defined as follows:

struct ptrace_lwpinfo {

lwpid_t pl_lwpid;

/* LWP described. */

int

pl_event;

/* Event received. */

};

The data argument is to be set to the size of the structure known to the caller. This allows the structure to grow without affecting older programs.

PT_GETNUMLWPS

This request returns the number of kernel threads associated with the traced process.

PT_GETLWPLIST

This request can be used to get the current thread list. A pointer to an array of type lwpid_t should be passed in addr, with the array size specified by data. The return value from ptrace() is the count of array entries filled in.

Additionally, machine-specific requests can exist.

RETURN VALUES

Some requests can cause ptrace() to return −1 as a non-error value; to disambiguate, errno can be set to 0 before the call and checked afterwards.

ERRORS

The ptrace() system call may fail if:

[ESRCH]

No process having the specified process ID exists.

[EINVAL]

A process attempted to use PT_ATTACH on itself.

The request argument was not one of the legal requests.

The signal number (in data) to PT_CONTINUE was neither 0 nor a legal signal number.

PT_GETREGS, PT_SETREGS, PT_GETFPREGS, PT_SETFPREGS, PT_GETDBREGS, or PT_SETDBREGS was attempted on a process with no valid register set. (This is normally true only of system processes.)

[EBUSY]

PT_ATTACH was attempted on a process that was already being traced.

A request attempted to manipulate a process that was being traced by some process other than the one making the request.

A request (other than PT_ATTACH) specified a process that was not stopped.

[EPERM]

A request (other than PT_ATTACH) attempted to manipulate a process that was not being traced at all.

An attempt was made to use PT_ATTACH on a process in violation of the requirements listed under PT_ATTACH above.

SEE ALSO

execve(2), sigaction(2), wait(2), execv(3), i386_clr_watch(3), i386_set_watch(3)

HISTORY

The ptrace() function appeared in Version 7 AT&T UNIX.

MidnightBSD 0.3 April 9, 2007 MidnightBSD 0.3