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KVM(3)		       FreeBSD Library Functions Manual			KVM(3)

NAME
     kvm -- kernel memory interface

LIBRARY
     Kernel Data Access	Library	(libkvm, -lkvm)

DESCRIPTION
     The kvm library provides a	uniform	interface for accessing	kernel virtual
     memory images, including live systems and crash dumps.  Access to live
     systems is	via sysctl(3) for some functions, and mem(4) and kmem(4) for
     other functions, while crash dumps	can be examined	via the	core file gen-
     erated by savecore(8).  The interface behaves similarly 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.

     The kvm_open() function is	first called to	obtain a descriptor for	all
     subsequent	calls.

COMPATIBILITY
     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 inter-
     face (i.e., kvm_open(), kvm_close(), kvm_read(), kvm_write(), and
     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 interface.

     The process interface was not kept.  This is not a	portability issue
     since any code that manipulates processes is inherently machine depen-
     dent.

     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.

CROSS DEBUGGING
     The kvm library supports inspection of crash dumps	from non-native	ker-
     nels.  Only a limited subset of the kvm interface is supported for	these
     dumps.  To	inspect	a crash	dump of	a non-native kernel, the caller	must
     provide a resolver	function when opening a	descriptor via kvm_open2().
     In	addition, the kvm interface defines an integer type (kvaddr_t) that is
     large enough to hold all valid addresses of all supported architectures.
     The interface also	defines	a new namelist structure type (struct
     kvm_nlist)	for use	with kvm_nlist2().  To avoid address truncation
     issues, the caller	should use kvm_nlist2()	and kvm_read2()	in place of
     kvm_nlist() and kvm_read(), respectively.	Finally, only a	limited	subset
     of	operations are supported for non-native	crash dumps: kvm_close(),
     kvm_geterr() kvm_open2(), kvm_native(), kvm_nlist2(), and kvm_read2().

SEE ALSO
     kvm_close(3), kvm_getargv(3), kvm_getenvv(3), kvm_geterr(3),
     kvm_getloadavg(3),	kvm_getprocs(3), kvm_getswapinfo(3), kvm_native(3),
     kvm_nlist(3), kvm_nlist2(3), kvm_open(3), kvm_open2(3), kvm_openfiles(3),
     kvm_read(3), kvm_read2(3),	kvm_write(3), sysctl(3), kmem(4), mem(4)

FreeBSD	11.0			April 30, 2016			  FreeBSD 11.0

NAME | LIBRARY | DESCRIPTION | COMPATIBILITY | CROSS DEBUGGING | SEE ALSO

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