c – Using GCC to produce readable assembly?

The Question :

263 people think this question is useful

I was wondering how to use GCC on my C source file to dump a mnemonic version of the machine code so I could see what my code was being compiled into. You can do this with Java but I haven’t been able to find a way with GCC.

I am trying to re-write a C method in assembly and seeing how GCC does it would be a big help.

The Question Comments :

The Answer 1

343 people think this answer is useful

If you compile with debug symbols, you can use objdump to produce a more readable disassembly.

>objdump --help
[...]
-S, --source             Intermix source code with disassembly
-l, --line-numbers       Include line numbers and filenames in output

objdump -drwC -Mintel is nice:

  • -r shows symbol names on relocations (so you’d see puts in the call instruction below)
  • -R shows dynamic-linking relocations / symbol names (useful on shared libraries)
  • -C demangles C++ symbol names
  • -w is “wide” mode: it doesn’t line-wrap the machine-code bytes
  • -Mintel: use GAS/binutils MASM-like .intel_syntax noprefix syntax instead of AT&T
  • -S: interleave source lines with disassembly.

You could put something like alias disas="objdump -drwCS -Mintel" in your ~/.bashrc


Example:

> gcc -g -c test.c
> objdump -d -M intel -S test.o

test.o:     file format elf32-i386


Disassembly of section .text:

00000000 <main>:
#include <stdio.h>

int main(void)
{
   0:   55                      push   ebp
   1:   89 e5                   mov    ebp,esp
   3:   83 e4 f0                and    esp,0xfffffff0
   6:   83 ec 10                sub    esp,0x10
    puts("test");
   9:   c7 04 24 00 00 00 00    mov    DWORD PTR [esp],0x0
  10:   e8 fc ff ff ff          call   11 <main+0x11>

    return 0;
  15:   b8 00 00 00 00          mov    eax,0x0
}
  1a:   c9                      leave  
  1b:   c3                      ret

The Answer 2

111 people think this answer is useful

If you give GCC the flag -fverbose-asm, it will

Put extra commentary information in the generated assembly code to make it more readable.

[…] The added comments include:

  • information on the compiler version and command-line options,
  • the source code lines associated with the assembly instructions, in the form FILENAME:LINENUMBER:CONTENT OF LINE,
  • hints on which high-level expressions correspond to the various assembly instruction operands.

The Answer 3

77 people think this answer is useful

Use the -S (note: capital S) switch to GCC, and it will emit the assembly code to a file with a .s extension. For example, the following command:

gcc -O2 -S foo.c

will leave the generated assembly code on the file foo.s.

Ripped straight from http://www.delorie.com/djgpp/v2faq/faq8_20.html (but removing erroneous -c)

The Answer 4

51 people think this answer is useful

Using the -S switch to GCC on x86 based systems produces a dump of AT&T syntax, by default, which can be specified with the -masm=att switch, like so:

gcc -S -masm=att code.c

Whereas if you’d like to produce a dump in Intel syntax, you could use the -masm=intel switch, like so:

gcc -S -masm=intel code.c

(Both produce dumps of code.c into their various syntax, into the file code.s respectively)

In order to produce similar effects with objdump, you’d want to use the --disassembler-options= intel/att switch, an example (with code dumps to illustrate the differences in syntax):

 $ objdump -d --disassembler-options=att code.c

 080483c4 <main>:
 80483c4:   8d 4c 24 04             lea    0x4(%esp),%ecx
 80483c8:   83 e4 f0                and    $0xfffffff0,%esp
 80483cb:   ff 71 fc                pushl  -0x4(%ecx)
 80483ce:   55                      push   %ebp
 80483cf:   89 e5                   mov    %esp,%ebp
 80483d1:   51                      push   %ecx
 80483d2:   83 ec 04                sub    $0x4,%esp
 80483d5:   c7 04 24 b0 84 04 08    movl   $0x80484b0,(%esp)
 80483dc:   e8 13 ff ff ff          call   80482f4 <puts@plt>
 80483e1:   b8 00 00 00 00          mov    $0x0,%eax
 80483e6:   83 c4 04                add    $0x4,%esp 
 80483e9:   59                      pop    %ecx
 80483ea:   5d                      pop    %ebp
 80483eb:   8d 61 fc                lea    -0x4(%ecx),%esp
 80483ee:   c3                      ret
 80483ef:   90                      nop

and

$ objdump -d --disassembler-options=intel code.c

 080483c4 <main>:
 80483c4:   8d 4c 24 04             lea    ecx,[esp+0x4]
 80483c8:   83 e4 f0                and    esp,0xfffffff0
 80483cb:   ff 71 fc                push   DWORD PTR [ecx-0x4]
 80483ce:   55                      push   ebp
 80483cf:   89 e5                   mov    ebp,esp
 80483d1:   51                      push   ecx
 80483d2:   83 ec 04                sub    esp,0x4
 80483d5:   c7 04 24 b0 84 04 08    mov    DWORD PTR [esp],0x80484b0
 80483dc:   e8 13 ff ff ff          call   80482f4 <puts@plt>
 80483e1:   b8 00 00 00 00          mov    eax,0x0
 80483e6:   83 c4 04                add    esp,0x4
 80483e9:   59                      pop    ecx
 80483ea:   5d                      pop    ebp
 80483eb:   8d 61 fc                lea    esp,[ecx-0x4]
 80483ee:   c3                      ret    
 80483ef:   90                      nop

The Answer 5

34 people think this answer is useful

godbolt is a very useful tool, they list only has C++ compilers but you can use -x c flag in order to get it treat the code as C. It will then generate an assembly listing for your code side by side and you can use the Colourise option to generate colored bars to visually indicate which source code maps to the generated assembly. For example the following code:

#include <stdio.h>

void func()
{
  printf( "hello world\n" ) ;
}

using the following command line:

-x c -std=c99 -O3

and Colourise would generate the following:

enter image description here

The Answer 6

23 people think this answer is useful

Did you try gcc -S -fverbose-asm -O source.c then look into the generated source.s assembler file ?

The generated assembler code goes into source.s (you could override that with -o assembler-filename ); the -fverbose-asm option asks the compiler to emit some assembler comments “explaining” the generated assembler code. The -O option asks the compiler to optimize a bit (it could optimize more with -O2 or -O3).

If you want to understand what gcc is doing try passing -fdump-tree-all but be cautious: you’ll get hundreds of dump files.

BTW, GCC is extensible thru plugins or with MELT (a high level domain specific language to extend GCC; which I abandoned in 2017)

The Answer 7

19 people think this answer is useful

You can use gdb for this like objdump.

This excerpt is taken from http://sources.redhat.com/gdb/current/onlinedocs/gdb_9.html#SEC64


Here is an example showing mixed source+assembly for Intel x86:

  (gdb) disas /m main
Dump of assembler code for function main:
5       {
0x08048330 :    push   %ebp
0x08048331 :    mov    %esp,%ebp
0x08048333 :    sub    $0x8,%esp
0x08048336 :    and    $0xfffffff0,%esp
0x08048339 :    sub    $0x10,%esp

6         printf ("Hello.\n");
0x0804833c :   movl   $0x8048440,(%esp)
0x08048343 :   call   0x8048284 

7         return 0;
8       }
0x08048348 :   mov    $0x0,%eax
0x0804834d :   leave
0x0804834e :   ret

End of assembler dump.

The Answer 8

13 people think this answer is useful

Use the -S (note: capital S) switch to GCC, and it will emit the assembly code to a file with a .s extension. For example, the following command:

gcc -O2 -S -c foo.c

The Answer 9

4 people think this answer is useful

I haven’t given a shot to gcc, but in case of g++. The command below works for me. -g for debug build and -Wa,-adhln is passed to assembler for listing with source code

g++ -g -Wa,-adhln src.cpp

The Answer 10

0 people think this answer is useful

use -Wa,-adhln as option on gcc or g++ to produce a listing output to stdout.

-Wa,… is for command line options for the assembler part (execute in gcc/g++ after C/++ compilation). It invokes as internally (as.exe in Windows). See

>as –help

as command line to see more help for the assembler tool inside gcc

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