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Linux Debuggers

Tool name: Fenris
Rating: 5.0 (1 vote)
Author: lcamtuf                        
Current version: 0.07-m2 build 3245
Last updated: July 11, 2004
Direct D/L link: Locally archived copy
License type: Free / Open Source
Description: Fenris is a suite of tools suitable for code analysis, debugging, protocol analysis, reverse engineering, forensics, diagnostics, security audits, vulnerability research and many other purposes. The main logical components are:

* Fenris: high-level tracer, a tool that detects the logic used in C programs to find and classify functions, logic program structure, calls, buffers, interaction with system and libraries, I/O and many other structures. Fenris is mostly a "what's inside" tracer, as opposed to ltrace or strace, tracers intended to inspect external "symptoms" of the internal program structure. Fenris does not depend on libbfd for accessing ELF structures, and thus is much more robust when dealing with "anti-debugging" code.

* libfnprints and dress: fingerprinting code that can be used to detect library functions embedded inside a static application, even without symbols, to make code analysis simplier; this functionality is both embedded in other components and available as a standalone tool that adds symtab to ELF binaries and can be used with any debugger or disassembler.

* Aegir: an interactive gdb-alike debugger with modular capabilities, instruction by instruction and breakpoint to breakpoint execution, and real-time access to all the goods offered by Fenris, such as high-level information about memory objects or logical code structure.

* nc-aegir: a SoftICE-alike GUI for Aegir, with automatic register, memory and code views, integrated Fenris output, and automatic Fenris control (now under development).

* Ragnarok: a visualisation tool for Fenris that delivers browsable information about many different aspects of program execution - code flow, function calls, memory object life, I/O, etc (to be redesigned using OpenDX or a similar data exploration interface).

* ...and some other companion utilities.
Also listed in: Reverse Engineering Frameworks, Linux Disassemblers, Tracers
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Tool name: IDA Pro
Rating: 5.0 (6 votes)
Author: Ilfak Guilfanov                        
Current version: 6.1
Last updated: April 8, 2011
Direct D/L link:
License type: Commercial
Description: The IDA Pro Disassembler and Debugger is an interactive, programmable, extendible, multi-processor disassembler hosted on Windows or on Linux. IDA Pro has become the de-facto standard for the analysis of hostile code, vulnerability research and COTS validation.

There is also a free (crippled) version available (IDA Pro Free). See its own entry in the library for more info.

As of January 7, 2007, the official IDA Pro website moved from the old URL ( to the one listed above.
Also listed in: .NET Disassemblers, Disassemblers, IPhone Tools, Linux Disassemblers, Mobile Platform Debuggers, Mobile Platform Disassemblers, Ring 3 Debuggers, Symbian Tools
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Tool name: radare
Rating: 5.0 (2 votes)
Author: pancake                        
Current version: 2.0.0
Last updated: October 10, 2017
Direct D/L link:
License type: LGPL
Description: The radare project aims to provide a complete unix-like toolchain for working with binary files. It currently provides a set of tools to work with 6502, 8051, arc, arm64, avr, brainfuck, whitespace, malbolge, cr16, dcpu16, ebc, gameboy, h8300, tms320, nios2, x86, x86_64, mips, arm, snes, sparc, csr, m68k, powerpc, dalvik and java.

The main program is 'r2' a commandline hexadecimal editor with support for debugging, disassembling, analyzing structures, searching data, analyzing code and support for scripting with bindings for Python, NodeJS, Perl, Ruby, Go, PHP, Vala, Java, Lua, OCaml.

Radare comes with the unix phylosophy in mind. Each module, plugin, tool performs a specific task and each command can be piped to another to extend its functionality. Also, it treats everything as a file: processes, sockets, files, debugger sessions, libraries, etc.. Everything is mapped on a virtual address space that can be configured to map multiple files on it and segment it.

If you are interested or feel attracted by the project join us in the #radare channel at

See website for more details.
Also listed in: .NET Disassemblers, Assemblers, Binary Diff Tools, Code Injection Tools, Debuggers, Disassemblers, Hex Editors, Java Disassembler Libraries, Linux Disassemblers, Linux Tools, Memory Dumpers, Memory Patchers, Process Dumpers, Reverse Engineering Frameworks, Ring 3 Debuggers, String Finders, Symbol Retrievers, SysCall Monitoring Tools, Tracers
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Tool name: EDB Linux Debugger
Rating: 4.0 (2 votes)
Author: Evan Teran                        
Current version: 0.9.20
Last updated: January 15, 2014
Direct D/L link:
License type: GPL
Description: Features
* Intuitive GUI interface
* The usual debugging operations (step-into/step-over/run/break)
* Conditional breakpoints
* Debugging core is implemented as a plugin so people can have drop in replacements. Of course if a given platform has several debugging APIs available, then you may have a plugin that implements any of them.
* Basic instruction analysis
* View/Dump memory regions
* Effective address inspection
* The data dump view is tabbed, allowing you to have several views of memory open at the same time and quickly switch between them.
* Importing of symbol maps
* Plugins
o Search for binary strings
o Code Bookmarks
o Breakpoint management
o Check for updates
o Environment variable viewer
o Heap block enumeration
o Opcode search engine plugin has basic functionality (similar to msfelfscan/msfpescan)
o Open file enumeration
o Reference finder
o String searching (like strings command in *nix)

One of the main goals of this debugger is isolation of the debugger core from the display you see. The interface is written in QT4 and thus source portable to many platforms. The debugger core is actually a plugin and the platform specific code is isolated to just a few files, porting to a new OS would require porting these few files and implementing a plugin which implements the "DebuggerCoreInterface" interface. Also, because the plugins are based on the QPlugin API, and do their work through the DebuggerCoreInterface object, they are almost always portable with just a simple recompile. So far, the only plugin I have written which would not port with just a recompile is the heap analysis plugin, due to it's highly system specific nature.
Also listed in: Debuggers, Ring 3 Debuggers
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Tool name: ERESI Framework
Rating: 0.0 (0 votes)
Author: The ERESI Project                        
Current version: 0.82b2
Last updated: September 13, 2009
Direct D/L link: N/A
License type: Free / Open Source
Description: The ERESI Reverse Engineering Software Interface is a unified multi-architecture binary analysis framework targeting operating systems based on the Executable & Linking Format (ELF) such as Linux, *BSD, Solaris, HP-UX, IRIX and BeOS.

ERESI is a general purpose hybrid framework : it includes both static analysis and runtime analysis capabilities. These features are accessed by primitives of the ERESI reverse engineering language which makes the framework more adaptable to the precise needs of her users. It brings an environment of choice for program analysis throught instrumentation, debugging, and tracing as it also provides more than ten exclusive major built-in features . ERESI can also be used for security auditing, hooking, integrity checking or logging binary programs. The project prones modularity and reusability of code and allows users to create their own project on top of the ERESI language interpreter in just a few lines. Among other features, the base code can display program graphs on demand using its automated flow analysis primitives. Our tools are enhanced for hardened or raw systems which have no executable data segments and no native debug API or even explicit program information.

The ERESI framework includes:

* The ELF shell (elfsh), an interactive and scriptable ERESI interpreter dedicated to instrumentation of ELF binary files.
* The Embedded ELF debugger (e2dbg), an interactive and scriptable high-performance userland debugger that works without standard debug API (namely without ptrace).
* The Embedded ELF tracer (etrace), an interactive and scriptable userland tracer that works at full frequency of execution without generating traps.
* The Kernel shell (kernsh), an interactive and scriptable userland ERESI interpreter to inject code and data in the OS kernel, but also infer, inspect and modify kernel structures directly in the ERESI language.
* The Evarista static analyzer, a work in progress ERESI interpreter for program transformation and data-flow analysis of binary programs directly implemented in the ERESI language (no web page yet).

Beside those top-level components, the ERESI framework contains various libraries that can be used from one of the previously mentioned tools, or in a standalone third-party program:

* libelfsh : the binary manipulation library on which ELFsh, E2dbg, and Etrace are based.
* libe2dbg : the embedded debugger library which operates from inside the debuggee program.
* libasm : the disassembly engine (x86 and sparc) that gives semantic attributes to instructions and operands.
* libmjollnir : the code fingerprinting and graph manipulation library.
* librevm : the Reverse Engineering Vector Machine, that contains the meta-language interpretor and the standard ERESI library.
* libaspect : the type system and aspect library. It can define complex data-types to be manipulated ad-hoc by ERESI programs.
* libedfmt : the ERESI debug format library which can convert dwarf and stabs debug formats to the ERESI debug format by automatically generating new ERESI types.
Also listed in: Code Injection Tools, Linux Disassemblers, Reverse Engineering Frameworks, Tracers
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Tool name: Linice
Rating: 0.0 (0 votes)
Author: Goran Devic                        
Current version: 2.6
Last updated: July 28, 2005
Direct D/L link: Locally archived copy
License type: GPL
Description: What is Linice?

Linice is an Intel x86-based, Linux source-level kernel debugger with the look and feel of SoftIce for MS Windows.

Linice is designed to be used by the people who have SoftIce experience. Linice provides a major subset of SoftIce commands, and adds a few new ones. For that reason the documentation describing individual commands is not provided. There are a number of good resources on the Web that describe all SoftIce commands (Google "SoftIce" keyword.)

What can I use it for?

You can use Linice to debug a kernel module or a user application. You can also debug a Linux kernel. Kernel does not need to be recompiled or patched in any way. The debugger proper loads as a module into the running kernel and supports debugging using the following devices:
local VGA frame buffer
remote serial terminal
monochrome monitor

You can break into a running kernel at any time by a hotkey. Place breakpoints, single step, watch variables etc. Multiple international keyboard layouts are supported.
Also listed in: Ring 0 Debuggers
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