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Debugging

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How to run PvPGN for debugging Edit

It is very helpful in finding out memory corruption bugs as soon as possible so while developing codes or just when running a server it is good that you use some memory corruption run-time debuggers. I don't know about Win32 users but on Unix/Linux there are some good options.

Valgrind is not very portable (only x86, Linux and very recently FreeBSD), also it slows down the debugged codes (it acts like a CPU emulator so it has to do that) but I have yet to find out a better debugging tool for what he does. Valgrind is so cool that recently many OSS projects use it for finding out bugs in their codes. For more information you can check out their web page. I will focus on valgrind with PvPGN.

After you have compiled and installed valgrind (it's easy, ./configure, make, make install) you will use it by running PvPGN like this:

$ valgrind --tool=memcheck --num-callers=10 /path/to/bnetd -f 2> valg.out

"num-callers" makes valgrind record backtraces with 10 entries and is usually needed with PvPGN which has not very small backtrace path :)

Another option you might want to use is "--leak-check=yes" and probably "--leak-resolution=high". This options make valgrind even slower but they will give memory leak information when PvPGN exits.

I encourage EVERYONE to use it if available (that is if you run PvPGN on a supported platform). Only very big servers won't be able to do it because there is no hardware powerful enough to run a big server with valgrind (but big means over 500 users online). You should test it with your server and if it does not make your bnetd go over 90% CPU then you should be fine. If you cannot run valgrind for any reason or if you are hunting for some bugs valgrind cannot find (yes, valgrind is superb but there is a class of bugs, especially overflows which valgrind can't help you with) you should then try the next debugging tool.

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