native gdb for Android

Barry Song 21cnbao at
Thu Feb 2 02:23:43 UTC 2012

Hi guys,
I compile a native gdb using linaro 2011.10 by “./configure
--host=arm-none-linux-gnueabi --target=arm-none-linux-gnueabi”, and
the gdb runs on arm target boards directly.
# gdb
GNU gdb (Linaro GDB) 7.3-2011.10
Copyright (C) 2011 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
License GPLv3+: GNU GPL version 3 or later <>
This is free software: you are free to change and redistribute it.
There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.  Type "show copying"
and "show warranty" for details.
This GDB was configured as "arm-none-linux-gnueabi".
For bug reporting instructions, please see:

I can use it to debug native programs on target boards directly. For
example, attach process, set breakpoints, check registers and memory.
One issue is I can't see multi-threads, for example:

PID 646 is system_server by ps
"646 1000      159m S    system_server"

Then I use gdb to attach it:

# gdb attach 646
(gdb) info threads
  Id   Target Id         Frame
* 1    process 646 "system_server" __ioctl ()
    at bionic/libc/arch-arm/syscalls/__ioctl.S:15

as you see, “info threads” only shows one thread but there are several
threads in system_server.

But if I compile a new program based on glibc and gnu libthread, I can
see multi-threads by the gdb.

So my questions are:

1.	Should I compile the native gdb using android toolchain and android
bionic/libthread libraries?
2.	Why can’t the current gdb capture multithreads for android
processes? This question is actually about the theory for gdb to know
multi-threads. In my opinion, both gnu and android use clone() to fork
threads and threads in one process have same tgid in kernel and all
threads return same getpid() value. Why not gdb just travel process
lists to find multi-threads?


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