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Debugging GraalVM-native images using gdb

Debugging GraalVM-native images using gdb

The GraalVM project includes, amongst other capabilities, a component called GraalVM Native Image. GraalVM Native Image supports the delivery of Java applications as shrink-wrapped, self-contained, standalone executables, commonly referred to as Java-native images. Native images often have a smaller footprint and faster startup time compared to running the same application in the traditional way on the JVM. This is often a win for short-running applications or small, container-based services. The trade-off is usually lower peak performance for long-running programs, and higher garbage collection overheads and latencies for programs with large amounts of resident data.

We are especially interested in GraalVM-native images as an alternative back-end delivery option for applications based on Quarkus. The Java team has worked hard to ensure that Quarkus is well integrated with GraalVM Native Images. In the process, they have found that one important usability issue is the ability to debug the delivered native image.

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