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Detecting memory leaks & invalid memory de-allocation in the Linux kernel

May 18, 2009, 12:33 (1 Talkback[s])

Embedded.com pulled the article, sorry! --ed.

"In user space there are many open source projects that one can use to identify memory leaks and corruptions such as electric fence [6], its newer fork DUMA [7], and valgrind [8]. However, for code running in kernel context these tools are not available.

"When the problems mentioned above end up as a "kernel panic" as they often do, there is no further ability for the engineer to inspect the offending code other than to observe the stack trace. Also in kernel context, a memory leak is persistent: it will remain existent and most probably keep growing until a reboot, something that is unacceptable.

"Kernel development allows direct access to the basic components and resources of the operating system, but debugging is not easy as the use of a debugger is not handy. One has to either use additional logging or use advanced techniques such as using kernel debuggers like kdb [2][3] and kgdb [4] or use kernel patches such as the one provided by Catalin Marinas, described in [1]."

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