How to use the addr2line command in Linux?

I am trying to use addr2line command in Unix but everytime it is giving the same output as ??:0. I am giving command as addr2line -e a.out 0x4005BDC . I got this address while running this a.out executable with valgrind tool to find the memory leakage. I also compiled the source code with -g option.


You can also use gdb instead of addr2line to examine memory address. Load executable file in gdb and print the name of a symbol which is stored at the address. 16 Examining the Symbol Table.

(gdb) info symbol 0x4005BDC 

Please check:

  • Whether all the functions in your binary are compiled with -g, addr2line only support functions has debug information, that is compiled with -g
  • Whether your offset is a valid offset. That means your offset should not be an virtual memory address, and should only be an offset in the .text section. In the .text section means the address should point to an instruction in the binary
addr2line usage

Following is the message from man addr2line.

addr2line - convert addresses into file names and line numbers.

The addresses should be the address in an executable or an offset in a section of a relocatable object.

The output is something like FILENAME:LINENO, the source file name, and the line number in the file


Take the helloworld as an example.

#include <stdio.h>
int main()
    return 0;

After compile it with gcc -g hello.c, we could firstly use objdump to get an idea about the offset information in the generated a.out file.

Following is part of the dumped dis-assembly:

Disassembly of section .text:

0000000000400440 <_start>:
  400440:       31 ed                   xor    %ebp,%ebp
  400442:       49 89 d1                mov    %rdx,%r9
  400445:       5e                      pop    %rsi
  400446:       48 89 e2                mov    %rsp,%rdx
  400449:       48 83 e4 f0             and    $0xfffffffffffffff0,%rsp
  40044d:       50                      push   %rax
  40044e:       54                      push   %rsp
  40044f:       49 c7 c0 c0 05 40 00    mov    $0x4005c0,%r8
  400456:       48 c7 c1 50 05 40 00    mov    $0x400550,%rcx
  40045d:       48 c7 c7 36 05 40 00    mov    $0x400536,%rdi
  400464:       e8 b7 ff ff ff          callq  400420 <__libc_start_main@plt>
  400469:       f4                      hlt
  40046a:       66 0f 1f 44 00 00       nopw   0x0(%rax,%rax,1)


   0000000000400536 <main>:

#include <stdio.h>
int main()
  400536:       55                      push   %rbp
  400537:       48 89 e5                mov    %rsp,%rbp
  40053a:       bf d4 05 40 00          mov    $0x4005d4,%edi
  40053f:       e8 cc fe ff ff          callq  400410 <puts@plt>
    return 0;
  400544:       b8 00 00 00 00          mov    $0x0,%eax
  400549:       5d                      pop    %rbp
  40054a:       c3                      retq
  40054b:       0f 1f 44 00 00          nopl   0x0(%rax,%rax,1)

The most left column of the code is the offset in the binary file. __start function comes from the standard C library and is precompiled without debug information. main function comes from our helloworld code which has debug information since we compile the file with -g.

Following is output of addr2line:

$ addr2line -e a.out 0x400442 #offset in the `__start` function
$ addr2line -e a.out 0x400536 #offset in the `main` function
$ addr2line -e a.out 0x40054b -f #The last instruction of the `main` function

We could make some conclusions from the above output:

  1. Only code segment generated with -g flag (which means the segment have debug information) could successfully generate filename and linenumber information.
  2. Not all offsets of a function body compiled with -g flag will successfully output filename and linenumber. The offset 0x40054b is the last instruction after ret instruction of the main function, but we could not get the information.

You need to specify an offset to addr2line, not a virtual address (VA). Presumably if you had address space randomization turned off, you could use a full VA, but in most modern OSes, address spaces are randomized for a new process.

Given the VA 0x4005BDC by valgrind, find the base address of your process or library in memory. Do this by examining the /proc/<PID>/maps file while your program is running. The line of interest is the text segment of your process, which is identifiable by the permissions r-xp and the name of your program or library.

Let's say that the base VA is 0x0x4005000. Then you would find the difference between the valgrind supplied VA and the base VA: 0xbdc. Then, supply that to add2line:

addr2line -e a.out -j .text 0xbdc

And see if that gets you your line number.

That's exactly how you use it. There is a possibility that the address you have does not correspond to something directly in your source code though.

For example:

$ cat t.c
#include <stdio.h>
int main()
    return 0;
$ gcc -g t.c
$ addr2line -e a.out 0x400534
$ addr2line -e a.out 0x400550

0x400534 is the address of main in my case. 0x400408 is also a valid function address in a.out, but it's a piece of code generated/imported by GCC, that has no debug info. (In this case, __libc_csu_init. You can see the layout of your executable with readelf -a your_exe.)

Other times when addr2line will fail is if you're including a library that has no debug information.

Try adding the -f option to show the function names :

addr2line -f -e a.out 0x4005BDC

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