[cgl_discussion] Memory leak/corruption detection tools for Linux

Sean Dague sean at dague.net
Wed Oct 1 19:29:20 PDT 2003

On Wed, Oct 01, 2003 at 11:58:35AM -0700, Howell, David P wrote:
> I've gotten several questions from a customer trying out Linux, one
> which is a 
> repeat from other customer contacts and so is likely a weak spot we
> should 
> look to address. For this one there may be a good solution out there
> already.
> The issue is memory leak/corruption detection tools for
> malloc/new/new[]/free...
> What this customer was after is a tool that does the basic memory leak
> and 
> memory corruption checks that can be compiled in or run on an existing
> binary
> that overloads the C/C++ memory allocation APIs. Has to work in a
> multi-thread
> environment.
> There are a lot of Linux tools to do this listed in:
>      http://www.linuxjournal.com/article.php?sid=6059
> and a summary of available tools at:
>      http://www.cs.colorado.edu/homes/zorn/public_html/MallocDebug.html 
> although it's a bit old (2/22/2001).
> They tried several proprietary tools (Rational Purify, Insure++) and a
> few open 
> source tools (Electric Fence). All either didn't work for them or didn't
> have the 
> features that they want (Rational Purify can't work without recompile).
> I've had experience with dmalloc that was mixed, from my work with NGPT
> and 
> the previous customer who requested a debug malloc capability (didn't
> work well).
Neither of those lists seem to include Valgrind
(http://developer.kde.org/~sewardj/).  I've used it with some luck, and know
that some of the local developers used it on Pegasus to put it through its



Sean Dague                                       Mid-Hudson Valley
sean at dague dot net                            Linux Users Group
http://dague.net                                 http://mhvlug.org

There is no silver bullet.  Plus, werewolves make better neighbors
than zombies, and they tend to keep the vampire population down.
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