46.3. Analyzing the Core Dump

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To analyze the vmcore dump file, you must have the crash and kernel-debuginfo packages installed. To do so, type the following at a shell prompt as root:
~]# yum install --enablerepo=rhel-debuginfo crash kernel-debuginfo
Refer to Part II, “Package Management” for more information on how to install new packages in Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
To determine the cause of the system crash, you can use the crash utility. This utility allows you to interactively analyze a running Linux system as well as a core dump created by netdump, diskdump, xendump, or kdump. When started, it presents you with an interactive prompt very similar to the GNU Debugger (GDB).
To start the utility, type the command in the following form at a shell prompt:
crash /var/crash/timestamp/vmcore /usr/lib/debug/lib/modules/kernel/vmlinux
Note that the kernel version should be the same as the one that was captured by kdump. To find out which kernel you are currently running, use the uname -r command.

Example 46.2. Running the crash utility

~]# crash /var/crash/2010-08-04-17\:55/vmcore \

crash 4.1.2-4.el5_5.1
Copyright (C) 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009  Red Hat, Inc.
Copyright (C) 2004, 2005, 2006  IBM Corporation
Copyright (C) 1999-2006  Hewlett-Packard Co
Copyright (C) 2005, 2006  Fujitsu Limited
Copyright (C) 2006, 2007  VA Linux Systems Japan K.K.
Copyright (C) 2005  NEC Corporation
Copyright (C) 1999, 2002, 2007  Silicon Graphics, Inc.
Copyright (C) 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002  Mission Critical Linux, Inc.
This program is free software, covered by the GNU General Public License,
and you are welcome to change it and/or distribute copies of it under
certain conditions.  Enter "help copying" to see the conditions.
This program has absolutely no warranty.  Enter "help warranty" for details.
GNU gdb 6.1
Copyright 2004 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
GDB is free software, covered by the GNU General Public License, and you are
welcome to change it and/or distribute copies of it under certain conditions.
Type "show copying" to see the conditions.
There is absolutely no warranty for GDB.  Type "show warranty" for details.
This GDB was configured as "i686-pc-linux-gnu"...

      KERNEL: /usr/lib/debug/lib/modules/2.6.18-194.8.1.el5/vmlinux
    DUMPFILE: /var/crash/2010-08-04-17:55/vmcore
        CPUS: 1
        DATE: Wed Aug  4 17:50:41 2010
      UPTIME: 00:56:53
LOAD AVERAGE: 0.47, 0.47, 0.55
       TASKS: 128
    NODENAME: localhost.localdomain
     RELEASE: 2.6.18-194.el5
     VERSION: #1 SMP Tue Mar 16 21:52:43 EDT 2010
     MACHINE: i686  (2702 Mhz)
      MEMORY: 1 GB
       PANIC: "SysRq : Trigger a crashdump"
         PID: 6042
     COMMAND: "bash"
        TASK: f09c7000  [THREAD_INFO: e1ba9000]
         CPU: 0

To exit the interactive prompt and terminate crash, type exit.

46.3.1. Displaying the Message Buffer

To display the kernel message buffer, type the log command at the interactive prompt.

Example 46.3. Displaying the kernel message buffer

crash> log
Linux version 2.6.18-194.el5 ( (gcc version 4.1.2 20080704 (Red Hat 4.1.2-48)) #1 SMP Tue Mar 16 21:52:43 EDT 2010
BIOS-provided physical RAM map:
 BIOS-e820: 0000000000010000 - 000000000009fc00 (usable)
 BIOS-e820: 000000000009fc00 - 00000000000a0000 (reserved)
 BIOS-e820: 00000000000f0000 - 0000000000100000 (reserved)
 BIOS-e820: 0000000000100000 - 000000003fff0000 (usable)
 BIOS-e820: 000000003fff0000 - 0000000040000000 (ACPI data)
 BIOS-e820: 00000000fffc0000 - 0000000100000000 (reserved)
127MB HIGHMEM available.
896MB LOWMEM available.
Using x86 segment limits to approximate NX protection
On node 0 totalpages: 262128
  DMA zone: 4096 pages, LIFO batch:0
  Normal zone: 225280 pages, LIFO batch:31
  HighMem zone: 32752 pages, LIFO batch:7
DMI 2.5 present.
Using APIC driver default
... several lines omitted ...
SysRq : Trigger a crashdump
Type help log for more information on the command usage.
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