KALLSYMS(8) Linux Module Support KALLSYMS(8)
kallsyms - Extract all kernel symbols for debugging
kallsyms [-Vh] kernel_filename
Kallsyms extracts all the non-stack symbols from a kernel and builds a
data blob that can be linked into that kernel for use by debuggers.
A normal kernel only exports symbols that are used by modules. For
debugging you may want a list of all the non-stack symbols, not just
the exported ones. kallsyms extracts all sections and symbols from a
kernel, constructs a list of the sections, symbols and their addresses
and writes a relocatable object containing just the __kallsyms section.
After the __kallsyms section is linked into the kernel and the kernel
has been booted, any debugger can use the data in the __kallsyms
section to get better symbol resolution.
For example, a debugger can use the __kallsyms data to resolve a kernel
* The owning kernel or module.
* The section within the owning code.
* The nearest symbol.
Display a summary of options and exit.
Display the version of kallsyms and exit.
To create a kernel containing an accurate __kallsyms section, you have
to make four linker passes instead of the normal single link step.
kallsyms and the linker are fast, the three extra steps take a few
seconds on a P200.
1 The initial build of the kernel, without any __kallsyms data. Run
kallsyms against the output of this link, creating a relocatable
object which contains all the sections and symbols in the raw
2 Link the kernel again, this time including the kallsyms output from
step (1). Adding the __kallsyms section changes the number of
sections and many of the kernel symbol offsets so run kallsyms again
against the second link, again saving the relocatable output.
3 Link the kernel again, this time including the kallsyms output from
step (2). Run kallsyms against the latest version of the kernel.
The size and position of the __kallsyms section on this run is now
stable, none of the kernel sections or symbols will change after
this run. The kallsyms output contains the final values of the
4 Link the final kernel, including the kallsyms output from step (3).
The __kallsyms section is a bit unusual. It deliberately has no
relocatable data, all "pointers" are represented as byte offsets into
the section or as absolute numbers. This means it can be stored
anywhere without relocation problems. In particular it can be stored
within a kernel image, it can be stored separately from the kernel
image, it can be appended to a module just before loading, it can be
stored in a separate area, etc.
/usr/include/sys/kallsyms.h contains the mappings for the __kallsyms
* Size of header.
* Total size of the __kallsyms data, including strings.
* Number of sections. This only included sections which are loaded
* Offset to the first section entry from start of the __kallsyms
* Size of each section entry, excluding the name string.
* Number of symbols.
* Offset to the first symbol entry from the start of the __kallsyms
* Size of each symbol entry, excluding the name string.
* Offset to the first string from the start of the __kallsyms header.
* Start address of the first section.
* End address of the last section.
One entry per loaded section. Since __kallsyms is a loaded section, if
the input file contains a __kallsyms section then it is included in
* Start of the section within the kernel.
* Size of section.
* Offset to the name of section, from the start of the __kallsyms
* Section flags, from the original Elf section.
One per symbol in the input file. Only symbols that fall within loaded
sections are stored.
* Offset to the __kallsyms section entry that this symbol falls
within. The offset is from the start of the __kallsyms section
* Address of the symbol within the kernel. The symbols are sorted
in ascending order on this field.
* Offset to the name of symbol, from the start of the __kallsyms
A set of NUL terminated strings. Each name is referenced using an
offset from the start of the __kallsyms string area.
These fields are exceptions to the "everything is an offset" rule.
They contain absolute addresses within the kernel.
Initial version by Keith Owens <email@example.com>, April 2000
Linux January 31, 2002 KALLSYMS(8)