Running and debugging GLib Applications

Environment variables

GLib inspects a few of environment variables in addition to standard variables like LANG, PATH or HOME.

G_FILENAME_ENCODING This environment variable can be set to a comma-separated list of character set names. GLib assumes that filenames are encoded in the first character set from that list rather than in UTF-8. The special token "@locale" can be used to specify the character set for the current locale.

G_BROKEN_FILENAMES If this environment variable is set, GLib assumes that filenames are in the locale encoding rather than in UTF-8. G_FILENAME_ENCODING takes priority over G_BROKEN_FILENAMES.

G_MESSAGES_PREFIXED A list of log levels for which messages should be prefixed by the program name and PID of the application. The default is to prefix everything except G_LOG_LEVEL_MESSAGE and G_LOG_LEVEL_INFO.

G_DEBUG If GLib has been configured with --enable-debug=yes, this variable can be set to a list of debug options, which cause GLib to print out different types of debugging information.

fatal_warnings

Causes GLib to abort the program at the first call to g_warning() or g_critical(). This option is special in that it doesn't require GLib to be configured with debugging support.

fatal_criticals

Causes GLib to abort the program at the first call to g_critical(). This option is special in that it doesn't require GLib to be configured with debugging support.

gc-friendly

Newly allocated memory that isn't directly initialized, as well as memory being freed will be reset to 0. The point here is to allow memory checkers and similar programs that use bohem GC alike algorithms to produce more accurate results. This option is special in that it doesn't require GLib to be configured with debugging support.

G_SLICE This environment variable allows reconfiguration of the #GSlice memory allocator.

always-malloc

This will cause all slices allocated through g_slice_alloc() and released by g_slice_free1() to be actually allocated via direct calls to g_malloc() and g_free(). This is most useful for memory checkers and similar programs that use bohem GC alike algorithms to produce more accurate results. It can also be in conjunction with debugging features of the system's malloc implementation such as glibc's MALLOC_CHECK_=2 to debug erroneous slice allocation code.

G_RANDOM_VERSION If this environment variable is set to '2.0', the outdated pseudo-random number seeding and generation algorithms from GLib-2.0 are used instead of the new better ones. Use the GLib-2.0 algorithms only if you have sequences of numbers generated with Glib-2.0 that you need to reproduce exactly.

LIBCHARSET_ALIAS_DIR Allows to specify a nonstandard location for the charset.aliases file that is used by the character set conversion routines. The default location is the libdir specified at compilation time.

G_WIN32_PRETEND_WIN9X Setting this variable to any value forces g_win32_get_windows_version() to return a version code for Windows 9x. This is mainly an internal debugging aid for GTK+ and GLib developers, to be able to check the code paths for Windows 9x.


Traps and traces

Some code portions contain trap variables that can be set during debugging time if GLib has been configured with --enable-debug=yes. Such traps lead to immediate code halts to examine the current program state and backtrace.

Currently, the following trap variables exist:

static volatile gulong g_trap_free_size;
static volatile gulong g_trap_realloc_size;
static volatile gulong g_trap_malloc_size;

If set to a size > 0, g_free(), g_realloc() and g_malloc() will be intercepted if the size matches the size of the corresponding memory block. This will only work with g_mem_set_vtable (glib_mem_profiler_table) upon startup though, because memory profiling is required to match on the memory block sizes.

Note that many modern debuggers support conditional breakpoints, which achieve pretty much the same. E.g. in gdb, you can do

break g_malloc
condition 1 n_bytes == 20

to break only on g_malloc() calls where the size of the allocated memory block is 20.