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Last pushed: 3 years ago
Short Description
Environment for using valgrind, callgrind and kcachegrind for code analysis.
Full Description


This project is an initial pass at creating a (semi) portable environment for generating debug information using Valgrind, Callgrind and KCachegrind.

This image is suitable for use on linux, naturally, and OSX. The kcachegrind program is run on the desktop via X11. As a result, there are a number of arguments to docker run which must be passed. For ease-of-use, I have created some utility scripts which are embedded in this image.

Bootstrapping the Utility Scripts

The following files are embedded in this image:

  • Dockerfile - The Dockerfile used to build this image.
  • - This file.
  • - A utility script used to invoke the image such that kcachegrind will be displayed locally via X11.
  • - A utility script for OSX users. socat may be installed via homebrew. socat allows the host and client X11 systems to talk to each other over a TCP port.

To extract these files from the image, run the following command:

$ docker run --rm -it -v $(pwd):/host wardf/callgrind bash

This will but you on the command line of the docker image. Once there, run the following commands:

$ cd /root
$ cp Dockerfile /host
$ exit

These files should now exist in the directory from which docker was run.

For specifics, view the individual scripts. To avoid duplicating information, I will not elaborate upon their contents here.

Using this image

This image is meant to be run from the top-level directory of a software project. It allows for compilation, analysis and visualization of callgraphs, as well as other debugging/development tasks. The typical workflow will be as follows:


Connect to the command line in the docker image, with a working directory of /workdir.

$ ./ wardf/callgrind 

Next, build the project in typical fashion from the command line. Run configure, make, etc.

Then, generate the callgraph/diagnostic information for the test executable as follows:

$ valgrind --tool=callgrind [executable to debug] 

Finally, visualize the callgraph file (do an ls call* to find the output file created by valgrind.

$ kcachegrind [file]

NOTE TO OSX USERS: Don't forget to run socat before running kcachegrind, either via the script or by hand (view the contents of for details on what it's doing). If you get an error message when invoking socat, you may need to kill any active X11 sessions.

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