Compiling for debugging

Debugging information is stored in the object file; it describes the data type of each variable or function and the correspondence between source line numbers and addresses in the executable code.

To request debugging information, specify the -g option when you run the compiler.

GCC, the GNU C compiler, supports -g with or without -O, making it possible to debug optimized code. We recommend that you always use -g whenever you compile a program. You may think your program is correct, but there's no sense in pushing your luck.

When you debug a program compiled with -g -O, remember that the optimizer is rearranging your code; the debugger shows you what is really there. Don't be too surprised when the execution path doesn't exactly match your source file! An extreme example: if you define a variable, but never use it, GDB never sees that variable—because the compiler optimizes it out of existence.

Some things don't work as well with -g -O as with just -g, particularly on machines with instruction scheduling. If in doubt, recompile with -g alone, and if this fixes the problem, please report it to us—and include a test case.