library provides a uniform interface for accessing kernel virtual memory
images, including live systems and crash dumps.
Access to live systems is via
while crash dumps can be examined via the core file generated by
The interface behaves identically in both cases.
Memory can be read and written, kernel symbol addresses can be
looked up efficiently, and information about user processes can
is first called to obtain a descriptor for all subsequent calls.
The kvm interface was first introduced in SunOS.
number of programs have been developed that use this interface,
making backward compatibility highly desirable.
In most respects, the Sun kvm interface is consistent and clean.
Accordingly, the generic portion of the interface (i.e.,
has been incorporated into the BSD interface.
Indeed, many kvm
applications (i.e., debuggers and statistical monitors) use only
this subset of the interface.
The process interface was not kept.
This is not a portability
issue since any code that manipulates processes is inherently
Finally, the Sun kvm error reporting semantics are poorly defined.
The library can be configured either to print errors to stderr automatically,
or to print no error messages at all.
In the latter case, the nature of the error cannot be determined.
To overcome this, the BSD interface includes a
to return (not print out) the error message
corresponding to the most recent error condition on the