The GNU Project Debugger (GDB): Short Tutorial with Examples

GDB, also called The GNU Project Debugger, is a tool to identify problems like segmentation fault in a code. It helps you to determine where the problem lies and what the program is doing at a particular instance. It can be run on the native machine, remote machine or on any simulator.

Official website:

Download Link:

Installation (Linux)

$sudo apt-get install gdb


As it is already installed, it gives above message.

Languages supported by GDB

Ada, Assembly, C, C++, D, Fortran, Go, Objective-C, OpenCL, Modula-2, Pascal and Rust.

Help in GDB

$gdb -h




Examples using gdb for debugging

Example 1

Step 1: Create C (hello.c) Hello World program by typing below command

$gedit hello.c

On the opening of gedit screen, type simple program of hello world and save it.

#include <stdio.h>
int main()
         printf("Hello World\n");


Step 2: Compile the program

$gcc -g hello.c -o hello

Step 3: Execute the program



Step 4: Start debugging by writing below command

$gdb hello


To run a program:


As the program is clean (no segmentation error like an issue) and no error, it should give output otherwise give some information related to the issue where the program lies.

Example 2

Step 1: Create C (testgdb.c)  program by typing below command

$gedit testgdb.c

On the opening of gedit screen, type simple program of the division of two numbers (x = 10, y = 0) and save it.

#include <stdio.h>
int main()
   int x = 10, y = 0;
   int z;
   z = x/y;
   printf("z =", z);

Step 2: Compile the program. As we are dividing 10 by 0, it gives a compilation error.

$gcc -g testgdb.c -o testgdb


Step 3: Start debugging by writing below command

$gdb testgdb


Step 4: To run a program


Basically, we don’t need gdb if the program is running without any issue. As this program has a problem, we will resolve an issue with help of gdb.


Breakpoints used to stop the program in the middle and in below snapshot used “break 7” has a problem. The run “r” command used to again run the program and it generates an error. Print x and y value by using “print x” and “print y”.


“next” or “n” is used for next line execution of current stack frame. In simple terms, this command is used to execute the next line of code during runtime.


Now we can use below commands to assign different values while execution of code.

(gdb)set variable y = 2 #assigning value during execution

Below command is used to produce disassembly output of the function.

(gdb)disassemble main


Exit from GDB:

Following command is used to “quit” or “q” the gdb


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Disclaimer: This tutorial is for educational purpose only. Individual is solely responsible for any illegal act.


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