Provided by: strace_4.11-1ubuntu3_i386 bug


       strace - trace system calls and signals


       strace  [-CdffhikqrtttTvVxxy]  [-In] [-bexecve] [-eexpr]...  [-acolumn]
       [-ofile]  [-sstrsize]  [-Ppath]...  -ppid...  /  [-D]  [-Evar[=val]]...
       [-uusername] command [args]

       strace  -c[df]  [-In]  [-bexecve]  [-eexpr]...  [-Ooverhead] [-Ssortby]
       -ppid... / [-D] [-Evar[=val]]... [-uusername] command [args]


       In the simplest case strace runs the specified command until it  exits.
       It  intercepts  and  records  the  system  calls  which are called by a
       process and the signals which are received by a process.  The  name  of
       each  system  call,  its  arguments and its return value are printed on
       standard error or to the file specified with the -o option.

       strace is a  useful  diagnostic,  instructional,  and  debugging  tool.
       System administrators, diagnosticians and trouble-shooters will find it
       invaluable for solving problems with programs for which the  source  is
       not  readily available since they do not need to be recompiled in order
       to trace them.  Students, hackers and the overly-curious will find that
       a  great  deal  can  be  learned about a system and its system calls by
       tracing even ordinary programs.  And programmers will find  that  since
       system  calls  and  signals  are  events that happen at the user/kernel
       interface, a close examination of this boundary is very useful for  bug
       isolation, sanity checking and attempting to capture race conditions.

       Each  line  in the trace contains the system call name, followed by its
       arguments in  parentheses  and  its  return  value.   An  example  from
       stracing the command "cat /dev/null" is:

       open("/dev/null", O_RDONLY) = 3

       Errors (typically a return value of -1) have the errno symbol and error
       string appended.

       open("/foo/bar", O_RDONLY) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory)

       Signals are printed as signal symbol and decoded siginfo structure.  An
       excerpt from stracing and interrupting the command "sleep 666" is:

       sigsuspend([] <unfinished ...>
       --- SIGINT {si_signo=SIGINT, si_code=SI_USER, si_pid=...} ---
       +++ killed by SIGINT +++

       If  a  system call is being executed and meanwhile another one is being
       called from a different thread/process then strace will try to preserve
       the  order  of  those  events  and  mark  the  ongoing  call  as  being
       unfinished.  When the call returns it will be marked as resumed.

       [pid 28772] select(4, [3], NULL, NULL, NULL <unfinished ...>
       [pid 28779] clock_gettime(CLOCK_REALTIME, {1130322148, 939977000}) = 0
       [pid 28772] <... select resumed> )      = 1 (in [3])

       Interruption of a (restartable) system call by  a  signal  delivery  is
       processed  differently  as  kernel  terminates the system call and also
       arranges its immediate reexecution after the signal handler completes.

       read(0, 0x7ffff72cf5cf, 1)              = ? ERESTARTSYS (To be restarted)
       --- SIGALRM ... ---
       rt_sigreturn(0xe)                       = 0
       read(0, "", 1)                          = 0

       Arguments are printed in symbolic form with a  passion.   This  example
       shows the shell performing ">>xyzzy" output redirection:

       open("xyzzy", O_WRONLY|O_APPEND|O_CREAT, 0666) = 3

       Here  the  third  argument of open is decoded by breaking down the flag
       argument into its three bitwise-OR constituents and printing  the  mode
       value in octal by tradition.  Where traditional or native usage differs
       from ANSI or POSIX, the latter forms are  preferred.   In  some  cases,
       strace output has proven to be more readable than the source.

       Structure  pointers  are  dereferenced and the members are displayed as
       appropriate.  In all cases arguments are formatted in the  most  C-like
       fashion  possible.   For  example,  the  essence  of the command "ls -l
       /dev/null" is captured as:

       lstat("/dev/null", {st_mode=S_IFCHR|0666, st_rdev=makedev(1, 3), ...}) = 0

       Notice how the 'struct stat' argument  is  dereferenced  and  how  each
       member  is  displayed  symbolically.   In  particular,  observe how the
       st_mode member is carefully decoded into a bitwise-OR of  symbolic  and
       numeric values.  Also notice in this example that the first argument to
       lstat is an input to the system call and  the  second  argument  is  an
       output.   Since  output  arguments  are not modified if the system call
       fails, arguments may not always be dereferenced.  For example, retrying
       the  "ls  -l"  example  with a non-existent file produces the following

       lstat("/foo/bar", 0xb004) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory)

       In this case the porch light is on but nobody is home.

       Character pointers are dereferenced and printed  as  C  strings.   Non-
       printing  characters  in strings are normally represented by ordinary C
       escape codes.  Only the first strsize (32 by default) bytes of  strings
       are  printed;  longer  strings  have an ellipsis appended following the
       closing quote.  Here is a line from "ls -l" where the getpwuid  library
       routine is reading the password file:

       read(3, "root::0:0:System Administrator:/"..., 1024) = 422

       While  structures are annotated using curly braces, simple pointers and
       arrays  are  printed  using  square  brackets  with  commas  separating
       elements.   Here  is  an example from the command "id" on a system with
       supplementary group ids:

       getgroups(32, [100, 0]) = 2

       On the other hand, bit-sets are also shown using  square  brackets  but
       set  elements  are  separated  only  by  a  space.   Here  is the shell
       preparing to execute an external command:

       sigprocmask(SIG_BLOCK, [CHLD TTOU], []) = 0

       Here the second argument is a  bit-set  of  two  signals,  SIGCHLD  and
       SIGTTOU.   In  some  cases the bit-set is so full that printing out the
       unset elements is more valuable.  In that case, the bit-set is prefixed
       by a tilde like this:

       sigprocmask(SIG_UNBLOCK, ~[], NULL) = 0

       Here the second argument represents the full set of all signals.


       -c          Count  time,  calls, and errors for each system call
                   and report a summary on  program  exit.   On  Linux,
                   this  attempts  to  show system time (CPU time spent
                   running in the kernel)  independent  of  wall  clock
                   time.   If  -c  is  used with -f or -F (below), only
                   aggregate totals for all traced processes are kept.

       -C          Like  -c  but  also  print  regular   output   while
                   processes are running.

       -D          Run  tracer process as a detached grandchild, not as
                   parent of the  tracee.   This  reduces  the  visible
                   effect  of  strace  by  keeping  the tracee a direct
                   child of the calling process.

       -d          Show some debugging output of strace itself  on  the
                   standard error.

       -f          Trace   child  processes  as  they  are  created  by
                   currently  traced  processes  as  a  result  of  the
                   fork(2),  vfork(2)  and clone(2) system calls.  Note
                   that -p PID -f will attach all  threads  of  process
                   PID  if  it  is multi-threaded, not only thread with
                   thread_id = PID.

       -ff         If  the  -o  filename  option  is  in  effect,  each
                   processes trace is written to where pid
                   is the numeric process id of each process.  This  is
                   incompatible  with  -c,  since no per-process counts
                   are kept.

       -F          This option is now obsolete  and  it  has  the  same
                   functionality as -f.

       -h          Print the help summary.

       -i          Print  the  instruction  pointer  at the time of the
                   system call.

       -k          Print  the  execution  stack  trace  of  the  traced
                   processes  after  each  system  call (experimental).
                   This option is available only  if  strace  is  built
                   with libunwind.

       -q          Suppress  messages  about  attaching, detaching etc.
                   This happens automatically when output is redirected
                   to a file and the command is run directly instead of

       -qq         If given twice, suppress messages about process exit

       -r          Print a relative timestamp upon entry to each system
                   call.  This records the time difference between  the
                   beginning of successive system calls.

       -t          Prefix each line of the trace with the time of day.

       -tt         If  given  twice,  the time printed will include the

       -ttt        If given thrice, the time printed will  include  the
                   microseconds and the leading portion will be printed
                   as the number of seconds since the epoch.

       -T          Show the time spent in system calls.   This  records
                   the  time  difference  between the beginning and the
                   end of each system call.

       -w          Summarise the time difference between the  beginning
                   and  end  of  each  system  call.  The default is to
                   summarise the system time.

       -v          Print unabbreviated versions of  environment,  stat,
                   termios,  etc.   calls.   These  structures are very
                   common in calls and so the default behavior displays
                   a  reasonable subset of structure members.  Use this
                   option to get all of the gory details.

       -V          Print the version number of strace.

       -x          Print all non-ASCII strings  in  hexadecimal  string

       -xx         Print all strings in hexadecimal string format.

       -y          Print   paths   associated   with   file  descriptor

       -yy         Print ip:port  pairs  associated  with  socket  file

       -a column   Align  return  values  in a specific column (default
                   column 40).

       -b syscall  If specified syscall is reached, detach from  traced
                   process.    Currently,   only   execve   syscall  is
                   supported.  This option is useful  if  you  want  to
                   trace  multi-threaded  process and therefore require
                   -f, but don't want to trace  its  (potentially  very
                   complex) children.

       -e expr     A  qualifying expression which modifies which events
                   to trace or how to trace them.  The  format  of  the
                   expression is:


                   where  qualifier  is  one of trace, abbrev, verbose,
                   raw,  signal,  read,  or  write  and  value   is   a
                   qualifier-dependent  symbol  or number.  The default
                   qualifier  is  trace.   Using  an  exclamation  mark
                   negates  the  set  of  values.  For example, -e open
                   means literally -e trace=open which  in  turn  means
                   trace  only  the  open  system  call.   By contrast,
                   -e trace=!open means  to  trace  every  system  call
                   except  open.   In  addition, the special values all
                   and none have the obvious meanings.

                   Note that some shells use the exclamation point  for
                   history  expansion even inside quoted arguments.  If
                   so, you must escape the  exclamation  point  with  a

       -e trace=set
                   Trace  only  the specified set of system calls.  The
                   -c option is useful  for  determining  which  system
                   calls  might  be  useful  to  trace.   For  example,
                   trace=open,close,read,write  means  to  only   trace
                   those  four  system  calls.   Be careful when making
                   inferences about the user/kernel boundary if only  a
                   subset  of  system  calls  are being monitored.  The
                   default is trace=all.

       -e trace=file
                   Trace all system calls which take a file name as  an
                   argument.   You can think of this as an abbreviation
                   for  -e trace=open,stat,chmod,unlink,...   which  is
                   useful   to   seeing   what  files  the  process  is
                   referencing.  Furthermore,  using  the  abbreviation
                   will  ensure  that  you don't accidentally forget to
                   include a call like  lstat  in  the  list.   Betchya
                   woulda forgot that one.

       -e trace=process
                   Trace   all   system  calls  which  involve  process
                   management.  This is useful for watching  the  fork,
                   wait, and exec steps of a process.

       -e trace=network
                   Trace all the network related system calls.

       -e trace=signal
                   Trace all signal related system calls.

       -e trace=ipc
                   Trace all IPC related system calls.

       -e trace=desc
                   Trace all file descriptor related system calls.

       -e trace=memory
                   Trace all memory mapping related system calls.

       -e abbrev=set
                   Abbreviate  the  output from printing each member of
                   large structures.  The default is  abbrev=all.   The
                   -v option has the effect of abbrev=none.

       -e verbose=set
                   Dereference  structures  for  the  specified  set of
                   system calls.  The default is verbose=all.

       -e raw=set  Print raw, undecoded arguments for the specified set
                   of  system  calls.   This  option  has the effect of
                   causing all arguments to be printed in  hexadecimal.
                   This  is  mostly  useful  if  you  don't  trust  the
                   decoding or you need  to  know  the  actual  numeric
                   value of an argument.

       -e signal=set
                   Trace  only  the  specified  subset of signals.  The
                   default is signal=all.  For example, signal =! SIGIO
                   (or  signal=!io)  causes  SIGIO  signals  not  to be

       -e read=set Perform a full hexadecimal and ASCII dump of all the
                   data  read  from  file  descriptors  listed  in  the
                   specified  set.   For  example,  to  see  all  input
                   activity   on   file   descriptors   3   and  5  use
                   -e read=3,5.  Note that this is independent from the
                   normal  tracing  of the read(2) system call which is
                   controlled by the option -e trace=read.

       -e write=set
                   Perform a full hexadecimal and ASCII dump of all the
                   data  written  to  file  descriptors  listed  in the
                   specified set.   For  example,  to  see  all  output
                   activity   on   file   descriptors   3   and  5  use
                   -e write=3,5.  Note that this  is  independent  from
                   the normal tracing of the write(2) system call which
                   is controlled by the option -e trace=write.

       -I interruptible
                   When strace can be interrupted by signals  (such  as
                   pressing  ^C).   1: no signals are blocked; 2: fatal
                   signals   are   blocked   while   decoding   syscall
                   (default);  3:  fatal  signals  are  always  blocked
                   (default if '-o FILE PROG'); 4:  fatal  signals  and
                   SIGTSTP  (^Z)  are  always  blocked  (useful to make
                   strace -o FILE PROG not stop on ^Z).

       -o filename Write the trace output to the file  filename  rather
                   than  to  stderr.   Use if -ff is used.
                   If the argument begins with '|' or with '!' then the
                   rest of the argument is treated as a command and all
                   output is piped  to  it.   This  is  convenient  for
                   piping  the  debugging  output  to a program without
                   affecting the redirections of executed programs.

       -O overhead Set  the  overhead  for  tracing  system  calls   to
                   overhead   microseconds.    This   is   useful   for
                   overriding the default heuristic  for  guessing  how
                   much  time  is  spent  in mere measuring when timing
                   system calls using the -c option.  The  accuracy  of
                   the  heuristic  can  be  gauged  by  timing  a given
                   program run  without  tracing  (using  time(1))  and
                   comparing  the  accumulated  system call time to the
                   total produced using -c.

       -p pid      Attach to the process with the process  ID  pid  and
                   begin  tracing.   The trace may be terminated at any
                   time  by  a  keyboard  interrupt  signal   (CTRL-C).
                   strace  will  respond  by  detaching itself from the
                   traced process(es) leaving  it  (them)  to  continue
                   running.   Multiple -p options can be used to attach
                   to many processes.   -p  "`pidof  PROG`"  syntax  is

       -P path     Trace only system calls accessing path.  Multiple -P
                   options can be used to specify several paths.

       -s strsize  Specify  the  maximum  string  size  to  print  (the
                   default   is  32).   Note  that  filenames  are  not
                   considered strings and are always printed in full.

       -S sortby   Sort the output of the histogram printed by  the  -c
                   option by the specified criterion.  Legal values are
                   time, calls, name, and nothing (default is time).

       -u username Run  command  with  the  user  ID,  group  ID,   and
                   supplementary  groups  of  username.  This option is
                   only useful when running as  root  and  enables  the
                   correct  execution of setuid and/or setgid binaries.
                   Unless  this  option  is  used  setuid  and   setgid
                   programs are executed without effective privileges.

       -E var=val  Run  command with var=val in its list of environment

       -E var      Remove var from the inherited  list  of  environment
                   variables before passing it on to the command.


       When  command exits, strace exits with the same exit status.  If
       command is terminated by a signal, strace terminates itself with
       the same signal, so that strace can be used as a wrapper process
       transparent to the invoking parent process.  Note  that  parent-
       child  relationship (signal stop notifications, getppid() value,
       etc) between traced process and its  parent  are  not  preserved
       unless -D is used.

       When  using  -p,  the exit status of strace is zero unless there
       was an unexpected error in doing the tracing.


       If strace is installed setuid to root  then  the  invoking  user
       will be able to attach to and trace processes owned by any user.
       In addition setuid and setgid  programs  will  be  executed  and
       traced  with the correct effective privileges.  Since only users
       trusted with full root privileges should be allowed to do  these
       things,  it only makes sense to install strace as setuid to root
       when the users who can execute it are restricted to those  users
       who  have  this trust.  For example, it makes sense to install a
       special version of strace with mode 'rwsr-xr--', user  root  and
       group trace, where members of the trace group are trusted users.
       If you do use this feature, please remember to  install  a  non-
       setuid version of strace for ordinary lusers to use.


       ltrace(1), time(1), ptrace(2), proc(5)


       It is a pity that so much tracing clutter is produced by systems
       employing shared libraries.

       It is instructive to think about system call inputs and  outputs
       as  data-flow  across  the  user/kernel boundary.  Because user-
       space and kernel-space are separate and address-protected, it is
       sometimes  possible  to  make deductive inferences about process
       behavior using inputs and outputs as propositions.

       In some cases, a system call will  differ  from  the  documented
       behavior  or  have  a different name.  For example, on System V-
       derived systems the true time(2) system call does  not  take  an
       argument  and  the  stat  function  is called xstat and takes an
       extra leading argument.   These  discrepancies  are  normal  but
       idiosyncratic  characteristics  of the system call interface and
       are accounted for by C library wrapper functions.

       Some  system   calls   have   different   names   in   different
       architectures  and  personalities.   In these cases, system call
       filtering and printing uses the names that  match  corresponding
       __NR_*   kernel   macros   of   the  tracee's  architecture  and
       personality.  There are two exceptions from this  general  rule:
       arm_fadvise64_64(2)   ARM   syscall  and  xtensa_fadvise64_64(2)
       Xtensa syscall are filtered and printed as fadvise64_64(2).

       On some platforms a process that is  attached  to  with  the  -p
       option  may  observe  a  spurious  EINTR return from the current
       system call that is not restartable.  (Ideally, all system calls
       should   be  restarted  on  strace  attach,  making  the  attach
       invisible to the traced process, but a few system calls  aren't.
       Arguably,  every  instance  of  such  behavior is a kernel bug.)
       This may have an unpredictable effect  on  the  process  if  the
       process takes no action to restart the system call.


       Programs  that  use the setuid bit do not have effective user ID
       privileges while being traced.

       A traced process runs slowly.

       Traced processes which are descended from command  may  be  left
       running after an interrupt signal (CTRL-C).

       The -i option is weakly supported.


       The original strace was written by Paul Kranenburg for SunOS and
       was inspired by its trace utility.  The SunOS version of  strace
       was  ported  to Linux and enhanced by Branko Lankester, who also
       wrote the Linux  kernel  support.   Even  though  Paul  released
       strace 2.5 in 1992, Branko's work was based on Paul's strace 1.5
       release from 1991.  In 1993, Rick Sladkey merged strace 2.5  for
       SunOS  and the second release of strace for Linux, added many of
       the features of truss(1) from SVR4, and produced an strace  that
       worked  on  both  platforms.  In 1994 Rick ported strace to SVR4
       and Solaris and wrote the automatic configuration  support.   In
       1995 he ported strace to Irix and tired of writing about himself
       in the third person.


       Problems with strace should be reported to  the  strace  mailing
       list at <>.

                                  2010-03-30                         STRACE(1)