Dump the postmortem state of a program (QNX)


dumper [-d path] [-m] [-n] [-P] [-p pid] [-s size[G|M|K]]
       [-t] [-v] [-w] [-z level] &

Runs on:



-d path
The name of the directory in which to write postmortem dump files. The default is your home directory.
Don't dump memory.
Save sequential dumps in a log-rotation fashion. The latest dump is named executable.core, and older core files are kept as executable.number.core, where number starts at 1 and increases with the core file's age. Every time a new core file is created, the existing files' numbers are incremented by 1, and the previous executable.core is renamed executable.1.core.
Dump the physical memory mappings.
-p pid
Save a dump file for this process immediately, and then exit dumper.
-s size[G|M|K]
Set the default maximum core size, in bytes. You can override this for a process by setting its RLIMIT_CORE resource; see the entry for setrlimit() in the QNX Neutrino C Library Reference.
Dump the stack of the errant thread only, instead of for all threads.
Be verbose.
Make core files world-readable.
-z level
Use gzip to compress the core files. The compression level must be in the range from 1 (fastest) through 9 (best compressed).


The dumper utility runs in the background and provides a postmortem dump service for all processes. Whenever a program terminates abnormally, a dump of the current state of the program is written to disk. The dump filename is the same as the program name with a .core extension. For example, if the program name is experiment, the dump is written to experiment.core in your home directory.

Note: On a QNX Momentics system, dumper starts with dumper -d /var/dumps.

You can use the -d option to force all dumps into a directory other than /var/dumps.

Note: Dump files can be large, so make sure the destination filesystem has lots of space.

The -p option lets you get a dump immediately for a particular process. If you specify -p, dumper doesn't run in the background, but exits right away.

You can use a debugger such as gdb to examine a dump file:

gdb program_binary program_core 

For example:

gdb /usr/photon/bin/pterm /var/dumps/pterm.core

A program may terminate in one of two ways: it may exit cleanly under its own control, returning an exit status, or it may be forcibly terminated by the receipt of a signal that it isn't prepared to handle. In the latter case, dumper writes a dump file for the following set of signals:

Signal Description
SIGABRT Program-called abort function
SIGBUS Parity error
SIGEMT EMT instruction (emulation trap). Note that SIGEMT and SIGDEADLK refer to the same signal.
SIGFPE Floating-point error or division by zero
SIGILL Illegal instruction executed
SIGSEGV Segmentation violation
SIGSYS Bad argument to a system call
SIGTRAP Trace trap (not reset when caught)
SIGXCPU Exceeded the CPU limit

You can force the dump of a running program by setting one of the preceding signals, assuming that the program isn't masking or handling the signal itself. For example, to force a dump using the kill command and a process ID (pid):

kill -SIGABRT pid

To force a dump using the slay utility and the process name:

slay -s SIGABRT process_name


Start dumper, with dump files to be written to the default directory:

dumper &

Start dumper, with dump files to be placed in the directory /home/dumps:

dumper -d /home/dumps &

Register for dump notifications:

#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdint.h>
#include <inttypes.h>
#include <sys/types.h>
#include <sys/stat.h>
#include <sys/dcmd_dumper.h>
#include <fcntl.h>
#include <unistd.h>
#include <devctl.h>
#include <sys/neutrino.h>

dumper_notify_attach(struct sigevent *devent)
    int dumper_fd;
    dumper_fd = open("/proc/dumper",O_RDONLY);
    if (dumper_fd >= 0) {
        devctl(dumper_fd, DCMD_DUMPER_NOTIFYEVENT, devent, sizeof(*devent), NULL);
        fcntl(dumper_fd, F_SETFD, FD_CLOEXEC);
    } else {
        dumper_fd = -1;
    return dumper_fd;

#define DUMP_PULSE_CODE 0x50

main(int argc, const char *argv[], const char*envp[]){
    int dp_chid=-1;
    int dp_coid=-1;
    struct sigevent devent;
    struct _pulse gpulse;
    int dumper_fd=-1;
    int rcvid;
    pid_t pid;

    // create death pulses channel
    dp_chid = ChannelCreate(_NTO_CHF_FIXED_PRIORITY);
        perror("ERROR: ChannelCreate");
        exit( -1 );
    dp_coid = ConnectAttach(0, 0, dp_chid, _NTO_SIDE_CHANNEL, _NTO_COF_CLOEXEC);
        perror("ERROR: ConnectAttach");
        exit( -1 );
    SIGEV_PULSE_INIT(&devent, dp_coid, sched_get_priority_max(SCHED_RR), DUMP_PULSE_CODE, -1);
        perror("ERROR: opening /proc/dumper");
        exit( -1 );
    for (;;) {
        // Blocks waiting for a pulse
        rcvid = MsgReceivePulse(dp_chid, &gpulse, sizeof(gpulse),NULL);
        switch (gpulse.code) {
            case DUMP_PULSE_CODE: // something died
                pid = gpulse.value.sival_int;
                fprintf(stderr, "Received Death Pulse code %"PRId8"\n" , gpulse.code);
                fprintf(stderr, "Process Pid %d died abnormally\n" , pid);
                fprintf(stderr, "Unknown pulse code: %"PRId8"\n" , gpulse.code);
    if (dumper_fd >=0)
    if (dp_coid >=0)
    if (dp_chid >=0)


A special entry in the /proc filesystem (see procnto*) that receives notification when a process terminates abnormally.

Exit status:

The dumper utility normally doesn't terminate. However, it may terminate if it encounters an error on startup (for instance, if it wasn't run by root) or if it receives a signal.

A signal was received and dumper shut down successfully.
An error was encountered on startup (not run by root or bad command-line options).

See also:

coreinfo, gdb, kill, slay