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Tracing Linux Problems With Strace

Diagnosing Application Crashes

  • October 27, 2010
  • By Joe Brockmeier
Strace is handy tool for performance testing and troubleshooting on Linux; in this article learn how to do some basic troubleshooting when your applications crash or refuse to start.
Having trouble figuring out why Apache isn't starting, or another program is crashing and burning, and the logfiles are giving no clue? Time to reach for strace.

What's strace? The strace utility is used to run a command and display its system calls, so you can see exactly what the program is doing until it exits. Experienced users can work with strace to do performance testing and so on, but even beginners can use strace as a diagnostic tool to see why a program is crashing.

Here's what you do. First, simply start your application or service using Strace, like so:
strace commandname
You'll then see a bunch of output to the terminal. For example, running man without an argument would looks like this:

Read the rest of Joe Brockmeier's strace howto at Serverwatch.com

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