Examine target system memory (inspect virtual address space)

The QNX System Information perspective is useful for examining the memory of your target system. You can:

  • Find memory errors and leaks
  • Examine the memory used by a process

Virtual address space

The Memory Information view shows the memory used by the process you select in the Target Navigator view:

Screen showing the Memory Information view.

The view shows the following major categories of memory usage:

Stack (red)
  • guard (light)
  • unallocated (medium)
  • allocated (dark)
Program (royal blue)
  • data (light)
  • code (dark)
Heap (blue violet)
Objects (powder blue)
Shared Library (green)
  • data (light)
  • code (dark)
Unused (white)

If you don't specify the name of any special version of libc, the System Information perspective in the Momentics IDE shows incorrect memory information because it can't find the correct malloc information. To specify the name of any special version of libc that you're using (e.g. QCONN_ALT_MALLOC=libspecialLib.so.2 qconn), when starting qconn, use the QCONN_ALT_MALLOC environment variable.

The Process Memory pane shows the overall memory usage. To keep large sections of memory from visually overwhelming smaller sections, the view scales the display semilogarithmically and indicates compressed sections with a split.

Below the Process Memory pane, the Process Memory subpane shows your selected memory category (e.g. Stack, Library) linearly. The subpane colors the memory by subcategory (e.g. a stack's guard page), and shows unused memory.

The Memory Information view's table lists all the memory segments and the associated virtual address, size, permissions, and offset. The major categories list the total sizes for the subcategories (e.g. Library lists the sizes for code/data in the Size column). The Process Memory pane and subpane update their displays as you make selections in the table.

The Memory Information view's table includes the following columns:

Name
The name of the category.
V. Addr.
The virtual address of the memory.
Size
The size of the section of memory. For the major categories, the column lists the totals for the minor categories.
Map Flags
The flags and protection bits for the memory block. See the mmap function's flags and prot arguments.
Offset
The memory block's offset into shared memory, which is equal to the mmap function's off argument.

To toggle the Memory Information view's table arrangement between a flat list and a categorized list, select The dropdown menu icon in the Memory Information view's title bar and select Categorize.

Stack errors

Stack errors can occur if your program contains functions that are deeply recursive or use a significant amount of local data. Errors of this sort can be difficult to find using conventional testing; although your program seems to work properly during testing, the system could fail in the field, likely when your system is busiest and is needed the most.

The Memory Information view lets you see how much stack memory your program and its threads use. The view can warn you of potential stack errors.

Inefficient heap usage

Your program can experience problems if it uses the heap inefficiently. Memory-allocation operations are expensive, so your program may run slowly if it repeatedly allocates and frees memory, or continuously reallocates memory in small chunks.

The Malloc Information view shows a count of your program's memory allocations; if your program has an unusually high turnover rate, this might mean that the program is allocating and freeing more memory than it should.

You may also find that your program uses a surprising amount of memory, even though you were careful not to allocate more memory than you required. Programs that make many small allocations can incur substantial overhead.

The Malloc Information view lets you see the amount of overhead memory the malloc library uses to manage your program's heap. If the overhead is substantial, you can review the data structures and algorithms used by your program, and then make adjustments so that your program uses its memory resources more efficiently. The Malloc Information view lets you track your program's reduction in overall memory usage.

To learn more about the common causes of memory problems, see Heap Analysis: Making Memory Errors a Thing of the Past.

Last modified: 2014-11-17



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