#stack-frame #gdb #tui

bin+lib bugstalker

BugStalker is a modern and lightweight debugger for rust applications

6 releases

0.1.5 May 3, 2024
0.1.4 Apr 3, 2024
0.1.3 Mar 29, 2024
0.1.0 Feb 29, 2024

#192 in Debugging

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181 downloads per month

MIT license

19K SLoC


Modern debugger for Linux x86-64. Written in Rust for Rust programs.


Table of Contents

Supported rustc versions

  • 1.75
  • 1.76
  • 1.77
  • 1.78


  • written in rust for rust language with simplicity as a priority goal
  • breakpoints, steps, signals
  • multithreaded application support
  • data query expressions
  • support for a rust type system (collections, smart pointers, thread locals and many others), not only for printing but also for interaction
  • two ui types: console and tui, switch available at any moment
  • oracle as an extension mechanism
  • builtin tokio oracle - like tokio_console but there is no need to make changes to the source codes
  • and much more!


First check if the necessary dependencies (pkg-config and libunwind-dev) are installed:

For example, ubuntu/debian:

apt install pkg-config libunwind-dev

Now install debugger:

cargo install bugstalker

That's all, bs command is available now!

Problem with libunwind? If you have any issues with `libunwind`, you can try to install `bs` with native unwinder (currently, I don't recommend this method because libunwind is better :))
cargo install bugstalker --no-default-features

Distro Packages

Packaging status

Packaging status

Arch Linux

pacman -S bugstalker

Start debugger session

To start with program from binary file use:

bs my_cool_program

Or with arguments:

bs my_cool_program -- --arg1 val1 --arg2 val2

Or attach to program by its pid:

bs -p 123


Print help for view all available commands.

Start and restart


  • run - start or restart a program (alias: r)

Stopping and continuing

The Debugger stops your program when breakpoints are hit, or after steps commands, or when the OS signal is coming. BugStalker always stops the whole program, meaning that all threads are stopped. Thread witch initiated a stop become a current selected thread.

Continue execution


  • continue - resume a stopped program



  • break {file}:{line} - set breakpoint at line (alias: b {file}:{line})
  • break {function name} - set breakpoint at start of the function ( alias: b {function_name})
  • break {instruction address} - set breakpoint at instruction ( alias: b {instruction address})
  • break remove {number} - remove breakpoint by its number ( alias: b r {number})
  • break remove {file}:{line} - remove breakpoint at line ( alias: b r {file}:{line})
  • break remove {function name} - remove breakpoint at start of the function ( alias: b r {function name})
  • break info - print all breakpoints



  • stepi - step a single instruction
  • step - step a program until it reaches a different source line ( alias: stepinto)
  • next - step a program, stepping over subroutine (function) calls ( alias: stepover)
  • finish - execute a program until selected stack frame returns ( alias: stepout)



You can send OS signal to debugee program, for example, send SIGINT (ctrl+c) to the debugee program to stop it.

Change current selected thread


  • thread info - print list of information about threads
  • thread current - prints current selected thread
  • thread switch {number} - switch selected thread

Examining the stack

When your program has stopped, the first thing you need to know is where it stopped and how it got there.

Each time your program performs a function call, the information about where in your program the call was made from is saved in a block of data called a stack frame. The frame also contains the arguments of the call and the local variables of the function that was called. All the stack frames are allocated in a region of memory called the call stack.

Stack frames

The call stack is divided up into contiguous pieces called stack frames. Each frame is the data associated with one call to one function. The frame contains the arguments given to the function, the function's local variables, and the address at which the function is executed.



  • backtrace - print backtrace of current stopped thread (alias: bt). Backtrace contains information about thread (number, pid, address of instruction where thread stopped) and all frames starting with the currently executing frame (frame zero), followed by its caller (frame one), and on up the stack.
  • backtrace all - print backtraces of all active threads (alias: bt all).

Select a frame


Most commands for examining the stack and other data in your program works on whichever stack frame is selected at the moment.

  • frame info - print information about current selected frame.
  • frame switch {num} - change current selected frame.

Examining source files


BugStalker can print parts of your program's source code. When your program stops, the debugger spontaneously prints the line where it stopped. There is source commands for print more.

  • source fn - print current selected function
  • source {num} - print lines range [current_line-num; current_line+num]
  • source asm - print assembly representation of current selected function

Examining data


Of course, you need a way to examine data of your program.

  • var {expression}|locals command for print local and global variables
  • arg {expression}|all command for print a function arguments

These commands accept expressions as input or have a special mode (var locals print all local variables, args all print all arguments).


BugStalker has a special syntax for explore program data. You can dereference references, get structure fields, slice arrays or get elements from vectors by its index (and much more!).

Operator available in expressions:

  • select variable by its name (ex. var a)
  • dereference pointers/references/smart pointers (ex. var *ref_to_a)
  • take a structure field (ex. var some_struct.some_field)
  • take an element by index from arrays, slices, vectors, hashmaps ( ex. var arr[1])
  • slice arrays, vectors, slices (ex. var some_vector[1..3] or var some_vector[1..])
  • cast constant address to a pointer of a concrete type ( ex. (*mut SomeType)0x123AABCD)
  • parentheses for control an operator execution ordering

Write expressions is simple, and you can do it right now! Some examples:

  • var *some_variable - dereference and print value of some_variable
  • var some_array[0][2..5] - print 3 elements, starts from index 2 from zero element of some_array
  • var *some_array[0] - print dereferenced value of some_array[0]
  • var (*some_array)[0] - print a zero element of *some_array
  • var *(*(var1.field1)).field2[1][2] - print dereferenced value of element at index 2 in element at index 1 at field field2 in dereferenced value of field field1 at variable var1 🤡

Other commands

Of course, the debugger provides many more commands:

  • symbol {name or regex} - print symbol kind and address
  • memory read {addr} - read debugged program memory (alias: mem read)
  • memory write {addr} {value} - write into debugged program memory ( alias: mem write)
  • register read {reg_name} - print value of register by name (x86_64 register name in lowercase) (alias: reg read)
  • register write {reg_name} {value} - set new value to register by name ( alias: reg write)
  • register info - print list of registers with it values (alias: reg info)
  • sharedlib info - show list of shared libraries
  • quit - exit the BugStalker (alias: q)

Tui interface


One of the most funny BugStalker features is switching between old school terminal interface and pretty tui at any moment.

  • tui - switch too terminal ui (in tui use Esc for switch back)


demo console

demo tui

Oracle is a module that expands the capabilities of the debugger. Oracles can monitor the internal state of a program to display interesting information. For example, tokio oracle is able to provide information about tokio runtime during program debugging without the need to change the source code. You must run the debugger with enabled oracle, for example, for tokio oracle:

bs --oracle tokio ...

Then use oracle command for view oracle information:

  • oracle {oracle name} {subcommands} - run oracle (ex. oracle tokio)

Oracles also available in tui. Currently, there is only one builtin oracle - tokio oracle.


Feel free to suggest changes, ask a question or implement a new feature. Any contributions are very welcome.

How to contribute.


~2M SLoC