[Dwarf-Discuss] Location list ranges vs. containing lexical block DW_AT_ranges

Jakub Jelinek jakub at redhat.com
Tue Mar 23 05:13:20 PDT 2010


We've been discussing recently what can a debug info consumer assume about
location list ranges (or parts thereof) that are outside of containing
DW_TAG_lexical_block/DW_TAG_inlined_subroutine DW_AT_ranges.
As this is something that all the producers and consumers should better
agree on, I'm raising the thing here.

Consider a lexical block with DW_AT_ranges
10 .. 20
30 .. 40
50 .. 60
and DW_TAG_variable as child of that DW_TAG_lexical_block.  The compiler
finds out that the variable (or its value) lives from PC 12 to 22 in
reg1, from PC 23 to 25 in reg2, from PC 25 to 28 in reg3, from PC 28 to
35 again in reg1,  from 48 to 65 in reg2 and from 68 to 95 has its
value in reg4 - 16.  GCC would emit in this case in .debug_loc
12 .. 22 DW_OP_reg1
23 .. 25 DW_OP_reg2
25 .. 28 DW_OP_reg3
28 .. 35 DW_OP_reg1
48 .. 65 DW_OP_reg2
68 .. 95 DW_OP_breg4 -16 DW_OP_stack_value
That is unfortunately very large, and for locations where the variable is
not in lexical scope the debug info consumer shouldn't be able to tell
anything about the variable, because it is not in scope.
Therefore I wrote a GCC patch to crop .debug_loc lists to containing
lexical scope's DW_AT_ranges (or DW_AT_low_pc..DW_AT_high_pc interval if
the scope isn't fragmented).  .debug_loc list changed to:
12 .. 35 DW_OP_reg1
48 .. 65 DW_OP_reg2
but the GDB people complained that this might be undesirable for watchpoints
on the variable, where if a watchpoint is added on the variable in the first
fragment that changes to the variable won't be noticed (resp. will be
noticed in wrong spots) when the variable is not in the scope.
So, my question for this list is, is the above a kosher optimization the
debug info producer can do?  Note that the variable resp. its value
doesn't really live in reg1 from 12 to 35, but only in that range in
the spots where it is in scope.  If it is valid, then debug info consumers
need to mask .debug_loc ranges with .debug_ranges ranges to find out
where a variable is actually live somewhere (of course for most operations
except watchpoints this works without any efforts - whenever the
variable is looked up say on PC 23, it won't be found as it is not in scope,
so its location list won't be even considered.  If it is not valid,
the debug info producer would need to modify its output such that
either .debug_loc locations are always masked with the containing
DW_AT_ranges, or perhaps can say the variable is live in between somewhere,
but only when it is actually live in there.
Example of the masking to DW_AT_ranges by the producer would be
12 .. 20 DW_OP_reg1
30 .. 35 DW_OP_reg1
50 .. 60 DW_OP_reg2
and example of keeping the variable alive in between only when it is
actually live there would be either the first .debug_loc snippet above (the
totally unoptimized one), or e.g.
12 .. 22 DW_OP_reg1
28 .. 35 DW_OP_reg1
48 .. 65 DW_OP_reg2
(i.e. it would just remove location ranges which don't overlap DW_AT_ranges
at all).  What do other producers resp. consumers do/assume here?


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