mtrace(3)




NAME

   mtrace, muntrace - malloc tracing

SYNOPSIS

   #include <mcheck.h>

   void mtrace(void);

   void muntrace(void);

DESCRIPTION

   The mtrace() function installs hook functions for the memory-allocation
   functions (malloc(3), realloc(3)  memalign(3),  free(3)).   These  hook
   functions  record  tracing  information  about  memory  allocation  and
   deallocation.  The tracing information can be used to  discover  memory
   leaks and attempts to free nonallocated memory in a program.

   The  muntrace()  function  disables  the  hook  functions  installed by
   mtrace(), so that tracing information is no  longer  recorded  for  the
   memory-allocation  functions.   If  no hook functions were successfully
   installed by mtrace(), muntrace() does nothing.

   When mtrace() is  called,  it  checks  the  value  of  the  environment
   variable  MALLOC_TRACE,  which should contain the pathname of a file in
   which the tracing information is to be recorded.  If  the  pathname  is
   successfully opened, it is truncated to zero length.

   If  MALLOC_TRACE is not set, or the pathname it specifies is invalid or
   not writable, then no hook functions are installed, and mtrace() has no
   effect.   In  set-user-ID  and  set-group-ID  programs, MALLOC_TRACE is
   ignored, and mtrace() has no effect.

ATTRIBUTES

   For  an  explanation  of  the  terms  used   in   this   section,   see
   attributes(7).

   
   Interface             Attribute      Value     
   
   mtrace(), muntrace()  Thread safety  MT-Unsafe 
   

CONFORMING TO

   These functions are GNU extensions.

NOTES

   In normal usage, mtrace() is called once at the start of execution of a
   program, and muntrace() is never called.

   The tracing output produced after a call to mtrace()  is  textual,  but
   not  designed  to be human readable.  The GNU C library provides a Perl
   script, mtrace(1), that interprets the trace log  and  produces  human-
   readable  output.   For  best  results,  the  traced  program should be
   compiled with debugging enabled, so  that  line-number  information  is
   recorded in the executable.

   The  tracing  performed  by  mtrace()  incurs a performance penalty (if
   MALLOC_TRACE points to a valid, writable pathname).

BUGS

   The  line-number  information  produced  by  mtrace(1)  is  not  always
   precise:  the  line  number  references  may  refer  to the previous or
   following (nonblank) line of the source code.

EXAMPLE

   The shell session below demonstrates the use of the  mtrace()  function
   and  the  mtrace(1)  command  in a program that has memory leaks at two
   different locations.  The demonstration uses the following program:

       $ cat t_mtrace.c
       #include <mcheck.h>
       #include <stdlib.h>
       #include <stdio.h>

       int
       main(int argc, char *argv[])
       {
           int j;

           mtrace();

           for (j = 0; j < 2; j++)
               malloc(100);            /* Never freed--a memory leak */

           calloc(16, 16);             /* Never freed--a memory leak */
           exit(EXIT_SUCCESS);
       }

   When we run the program as follows,  we  see  that  mtrace()  diagnosed
   memory leaks at two different locations in the program:

       $ cc -g t_mtrace.c -o t_mtrace
       $ export MALLOC_TRACE=/tmp/t
       $ ./t_mtrace
       $ mtrace ./t_mtrace $MALLOC_TRACE
       Memory not freed:
       -----------------
          Address     Size     Caller
       0x084c9378     0x64  at /home/cecilia/t_mtrace.c:12
       0x084c93e0     0x64  at /home/cecilia/t_mtrace.c:12
       0x084c9448    0x100  at /home/cecilia/t_mtrace.c:16

   The  first  two  messages  about  unfreed  memory correspond to the two
   malloc(3) calls inside the for loop.  The final message corresponds  to
   the call to calloc(3) (which in turn calls malloc(3)).

SEE ALSO

   mtrace(1), malloc(3), malloc_hook(3), mcheck(3)

COLOPHON

   This  page  is  part of release 4.09 of the Linux man-pages project.  A
   description of the project, information about reporting bugs,  and  the
   latest     version     of     this    page,    can    be    found    at
   https://www.kernel.org/doc/man-pages/.


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