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A debugger is a tool used to analyze running code.

Although debugging tools are available for interpreted and bytestream languages, the term debugger is often used to describe a tool that can analyze object code.

Typical features of a debugger include:

  • the ability to disassemble code
  • the ability to cross-reference and display source code and address symbols (for functions and variables)
  • the ability to execute single instructions or lines of code (single-step)
  • the ability to stop execution at a requested location in the program (breakpoint) or when a variable changes value (watchpoint)
  • the ability to trap and examine faults (such as a segmentation fault)
  • the ability to examine variables and registers

The GNU debugger is named "gdb" and has a command-line interface. Various graphical front-ends are available.