Depending on the system, a segmentation violation or bus error might be the only indication of stack overflow. See ‘--enable-alloca’ choices in Build Options, for how to address this.
In new enough versions of GCC, ‘-fstack-check’ may be able to ensure an overflow is recognised by the system before too much damage is done, or ‘-fstack-limit-symbol’ or ‘-fstack-limit-register’ may be able to add checking if the system itself doesn’t do any (see Options for Code Generation in Using the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC)). These options must be added to the ‘CFLAGS’ used in the GMP build (see Build Options), adding them just to an application will have no effect. Note also they’re a slowdown, adding overhead to each function call and each stack allocation.
The most likely cause of application problems with GMP is heap corruption.
init GMP variables will have unpredictable effects, and
corruption arising elsewhere in a program may well affect GMP. Initializing
GMP variables more than once or failing to clear them will cause memory leaks.
In all such cases a
malloc debugger is recommended. On a GNU or BSD
system the standard C library
malloc has some diagnostic facilities,
see Allocation Debugging in The GNU C Library
Reference Manual, or ‘man 3 malloc’. Other possibilities, in no
particular order, include
The GMP default allocation routines in memory.c also have a simple
sentinel scheme which can be enabled with
#define DEBUG in that file.
This is mainly designed for detecting buffer overruns during GMP development,
but might find other uses.
On some systems the compiler options GMP uses by default can interfere with debugging. In particular on x86 and 68k systems ‘-fomit-frame-pointer’ is used and this generally inhibits stack backtracing. Recompiling without such options may help while debugging, though the usual caveats about it potentially moving a memory problem or hiding a compiler bug will apply.
A sample .gdbinit is included in the distribution, showing how to call some undocumented dump functions to print GMP variables from within GDB. Note that these functions shouldn’t be used in final application code since they’re undocumented and may be subject to incompatible changes in future versions of GMP.
GMP has multiple source files with the same name, in different directories. For example mpz, mpq and mpf each have an init.c. If the debugger can’t already determine the right one it may help to build with absolute paths on each C file. One way to do that is to use a separate object directory with an absolute path to the source directory.
cd /my/build/dir /my/source/dir/gmp-6.2.1/configure
This works via
VPATH, and might require GNU
Alternately it might be possible to change the
The build option --enable-assert is available to add some consistency checks to the library (see Build Options). These are likely to be of limited value to most applications. Assertion failures are just as likely to indicate memory corruption as a library or compiler bug.
Applications using the low-level
mpn functions, however, will benefit
from --enable-assert since it adds checks on the parameters of most
such functions, many of which have subtle restrictions on their usage. Note
however that only the generic C code has checks, not the assembly code, so
--disable-assembly should be used for maximum checking.
The build option --enable-alloca=debug arranges that each block of
temporary memory in GMP is allocated with a separate call to
the allocation function set with
This can help a malloc debugger detect accesses outside the intended bounds,
or detect memory not released. In a normal build, on the other hand,
temporary memory is allocated in blocks which GMP divides up for its own use,
or may be allocated with a compiler builtin
alloca which will go
nowhere near any malloc debugger hooks.
To summarize the above, a GMP build for maximum debuggability would be
./configure --disable-shared --enable-assert \ --enable-alloca=debug --disable-assembly CFLAGS=-g
For C++, add ‘--enable-cxx CXXFLAGS=-g’.
The GCC checker (https://savannah.nongnu.org/projects/checker/) can be used with GMP. It contains a stub library which means GMP applications compiled with checker can use a normal GMP build.
A build of GMP with checking within GMP itself can be made. This will run very very slowly. On GNU/Linux for example,
./configure --disable-assembly CC=checkergcc
--disable-assembly must be used, since the GMP assembly code doesn’t support the checking scheme. The GMP C++ features cannot be used, since current versions of checker (0.9.9.1) don’t yet support the standard C++ library.
Valgrind (http://valgrind.org/) is a memory checker for x86, ARM, MIPS, PowerPC, and S/390. It translates and emulates machine instructions to do strong checks for uninitialized data (at the level of individual bits), memory accesses through bad pointers, and memory leaks.
Valgrind does not always support every possible instruction, in particular ones recently added to an ISA. Valgrind might therefore be incompatible with a recent GMP or even a less recent GMP which is compiled using a recent GCC.
GMP’s assembly code sometimes promotes a read of the limbs to some larger size, for efficiency. GMP will do this even at the start and end of a multilimb operand, using naturally aligned operations on the larger type. This may lead to benign reads outside of allocated areas, triggering complaints from Valgrind. Valgrind’s option ‘--partial-loads-ok=yes’ should help.
Any suspected bug in GMP itself should be isolated to make sure it’s not an application problem, see Reporting Bugs.