kernel memory interface
kvm library provides a uniform
interface for accessing kernel virtual memory images, including live systems
and crash dumps. Access to live systems is via
/dev/mem while crash dumps can be examined via the
core file generated by
savecore(8). 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 be gathered.
is first called to obtain a descriptor for all subsequent calls.
- interface to physical memory
kvm_geterr(3), kvm_getloadavg(3), kvm_getprocs(3), kvm_nlist(3), kvm_open(3), kvm_read(3)
The kvm interface was first introduced in SunOS. A considerable
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
kvm_nlist()) has been incorporated into the
BSD interface. Indeed, many kvm applications (i.e.,
debuggers and statistical monitors) use only this subset of the
The process interface was not kept. This is not a portability issue since any code that manipulates processes is inherently machine dependent.
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 routine, kvm_geterr(3), to return (not print out) the error message corresponding to the most recent error condition on the given descriptor.