abidw(1) — Linux manual page


ABIDW(1)                       Libabigail                       ABIDW(1)

NAME         top

       abidw - serialize the ABI of an ELF file

       abidw reads a shared library in ELF format and emits an XML
       representation of its ABI to standard output.  The emitted
       representation includes all the globally defined functions and
       variables, along with a complete representation of their types.
       It also includes a representation of the globally defined ELF
       symbols of the file.  The input shared library must contain
       associated debug information in DWARF format.

       When given the --linux-tree option, this program can also handle
       a Linux kernel tree.  That is, a directory tree that contains
       both the vmlinux binary and Linux kernel modules.  It analyses
       those Linux kernel binaries and emits an XML representation of
       the interface between the kernel and its module, to standard
       output.  In this case, we don't call it an ABI, but a KMI (Kernel
       Module Interface).  The emitted KMI includes all the globally
       defined functions and variables, along with a complete
       representation of their types.  The input binaries must contain
       associated debug information in DWARF format.

INVOCATION         top

          abidw [options] [<path-to-elf-file>]

OPTIONS         top

--help | -h

            Display a short help about the command and exit.

          • --version | -v

            Display the version of the program and exit.

          • --debug-info-dir | -d <dir-path>

            In cases where the debug info for path-to-elf-file is in a
            separate file that is located in a non-standard place, this
            tells abidw where to look for that debug info file.

            Note that dir-path must point to the root directory under
            which the debug information is arranged in a tree-like
            manner.  Under Red Hat based systems, that directory is
            usually <root>/usr/lib/debug.

            This option can be provided several times with different
            root directories.  In that case, abidw will potentially look
            into all those root directories to find the split debug info
            for the elf file.

            Note that this option is not mandatory for split debug
            information installed by your system's package manager
            because then abidw knows where to find it.

          • --out-file <file-path>

            This option instructs abidw to emit the XML representation
            of path-to-elf-file into the file file-path, rather than
            emitting it to its standard output.

          • --noout

            This option instructs abidw to not emit the XML
            representation of the ABI.  So it only reads the ELF and
            debug information, builds the internal representation of the
            ABI and exits.  This option is usually useful for debugging

          • --no-corpus-path

            Do not emit the path attribute for the ABI corpus.

          • --suppressions | suppr

            Use a suppression specification file located at
            path-to-suppression-specifications-file.  Note that this
            option can appear multiple times on the command line.  In
            that case, all of the provided suppression specification
            files are taken into account.  ABI artifacts matched by the
            suppression specifications are suppressed from the output of
            this tool.

          • --kmi-whitelist | -kaw <path-to-whitelist>

            When analyzing a Linux kernel binary, this option points to
            the white list of names of ELF symbols of functions and
            variables which ABI must be written out.  That white list is
            called a " Kernel Module Interface white list".  This is
            because for the Kernel, we don't talk about the ABI; we
            rather talk about the interface between the Kernel and its
            module. Hence the term KMI rather than ABI

            Any other function or variable which ELF symbol are not
            present in that white list will not be considered by the KMI
            writing process.

            If this option is not provided -- thus if no white list is
            provided -- then the entire KMI, that is, all publicly
            defined and exported functions and global variables by the
            Linux Kernel binaries is emitted.

          • --linux-tree | --lt

            Make abidw to consider the input path as a path to a
            directory containing the vmlinux binary as several kernel
            modules binaries.  In that case, this program emits the
            representation of the Kernel Module Interface (KMI) on the
            standard output.

            Below is an example of usage of abidw on a Linux Kernel

            First, checkout a Linux kernel source tree and build it.
            Then install the kernel modules in a directory somewhere.
            Copy the vmlinux binary into that directory too.  And then
            serialize the KMI of that kernel to disk, using abidw:

                $ git clone git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/torvalds/linux.git
                $ cd linux && git checkout v4.5
                $ make allyesconfig all
                $ mkdir build-output
                $ make INSTALL_MOD_PATH=./build-output modules_install
                $ cp vmlinux build-output/modules/4.5.0
                $ abidw --linux-tree build-output/modules/4.5.0 > build-output/linux-4.5.0.kmi

          • --headers-dir | --hd <headers-directory-path-1>

            Specifies where to find the public headers of the binary
            that the tool has to consider.  The tool will thus filter
            out types that are not defined in public headers.

            Note that several public header directories can be specified
            for the binary to consider.  In that case the --header-dir
            option should be present several times on the command line,
            like in the following example:

                $ abidw --header-dir /some/path       \
                        --header-dir /some/other/path \
                        binary > binary.abi

          • --header-file | --hf <header-file-path>

            Specifies where to find one of the public headers of the abi
            file that the tool has to consider.  The tool will thus
            filter out types that are not defined in public headers.

          • --drop-private-types

            This option is to be used with the --headers-dir and/or
            header-file options.  With this option, types that are NOT
            defined in the headers are entirely dropped from the
            internal representation build by Libabigail to represent the
            ABI and will not end up in the abi XML file.

          • --no-elf-needed

            Do not include the list of DT_NEEDED dependency names in the

          • --drop-undefined-syms

            With this option functions or variables for which the
            (exported) ELF symbol is undefined are dropped from the
            internal representation build by Libabigail to represent the
            ABI and will not end up in the abi XML file.

          • --no-linux-kernel-mode

            Without this option, if abipkgiff detects that the binaries
            it is looking at are Linux Kernel binaries (either vmlinux
            or modules) then it only considers functions and variables
            which ELF symbols are listed in the __ksymtab and
            __ksymtab_gpl sections.

            With this option, abipkgdiff considers the binary as a
            non-special ELF binary.  It thus considers functions and
            variables which are defined and exported in the ELF sense.

          • --check-alternate-debug-info <elf-path>

            If the debug info for the file elf-path contains a reference
            to an alternate debug info file, abidw checks that it can
            find that alternate debug info file.  In that case, it emits
            a meaningful success message mentioning the full path to the
            alternate debug info file found.  Otherwise, it emits an
            error code.

          • --no-show-locs
              In the emitted ABI representation, do not show file, line
              or column where ABI artifacts are defined.

          • --no-parameter-names

            In the emitted ABI representation, do not show names of
            function parameters, just the types.

          • --no-write-default-sizes

            In the XML ABI representation, do not write the size-in-bits
            for pointer type definitions, reference type definitions,
            function declarations and function types when they are equal
            to the default address size of the translation unit.  Note
            that libabigail before 1.8 will not set the default size and
            will interpret types without a size-in-bits attribute as
            zero sized.

          • --type-id-style <sequence``|``hash>

            This option controls how types are idenfied in the generated
            XML files.  The default sequence style just numbers (with
            type-id- as prefix) the types in the order they are
            encountered.  The hash style uses a (stable, portable) hash
            of libabigail's internal type names and is intended to make
            the XML files easier to diff.

          • --check-alternate-debug-info-base-name <elf-path>

            Like --check-alternate-debug-info, but in the success
            message, only mention the base name of the debug info file;
            not its full path.

          • --load-all-types

            By default, libabigail (and thus abidw) only loads types
            that are reachable from functions and variables declarations
            that are publicly defined and exported by the binary.  So
            only those types are present in the output of abidw.  This
            option however makes abidw load all the types defined in the
            binaries, even those that are not reachable from public

          • --abidiff
              Load the ABI of the ELF binary given in argument, save it
              in libabigail's XML format in a temporary file; read the
              ABI from the temporary XML file and compare the ABI that
              has been read back against the ABI of the ELF binary given
              in argument.  The ABIs should compare equal.  If they
              don't, the program emits a diagnostic and exits with a
              non-zero code.

              This is a debugging and sanity check option.

              • --debug-abidiff

              Same as --abidiff but in debug mode.  In this mode, error
              messages are emitted for types which fail type

              This is an optional debugging and sanity check option.  To
              enable it the libabigail package needs to be configured
              with the --enable-debug-self-comparison option.

          • --annotate
              Annotate the ABIXML output with comments above most
              elements.  The comments are made of the pretty-printed
              form types, declaration or even ELF symbols.  The purpose
              is to make the ABIXML output more human-readable for
              debugging or documenting purposes.

          • --stats

            Emit statistics about various internal things.

          • --verbose

            Emit verbose logs about the progress of miscellaneous
            internal things.

NOTES         top

   Alternate debug info files
       As of the version 4 of the DWARF specification, Alternate debug
       information is a GNU extension to the DWARF specification.  It
       has however been proposed for inclusion into the upcoming version
       5 of the DWARF standard.  You can read more about the GNU
       extensions to the DWARF standard here.

AUTHOR         top

       Dodji Seketeli

COPYRIGHT         top

       2014-2016, Red Hat, Inc.

COLOPHON         top

       This page is part of the libabigail (ABI Generic Analysis and
       Instrumentation Library) project.  Information about the project
       can be found at ⟨https://sourceware.org/libabigail/⟩.  If you
       have a bug report for this manual page, see
       This page was obtained from the project's upstream Git repository
       ⟨git://sourceware.org/git/libabigail.git⟩ on 2021-08-27.  (At
       that time, the date of the most recent commit that was found in
       the repository was 2021-08-11.)  If you discover any rendering
       problems in this HTML version of the page, or you believe there
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       (which is not part of the original manual page), send a mail to

                              Aug 27, 2021                      ABIDW(1)