DWARF Standard


DWARF Version 4 Released

June 16, 2010

The DWARF Debugging Information Format Committee is pleased to announce the availability of Version 4 of the DWARF Debugging Information Format standard. The DWARF debugging format is used to communicate information between a compiler and debugger to make it easier for programmers to develop, test, and debug programs.

DWARF is used by commercial and open source compilers and debuggers to support debugging of Ada, C, C++, Cobol, Fortran, Java, and several other programming languages. DWARF is used with many processors: ARM, Intel/AMD x86, MIPS, PowerPC, and many others, from 8-bit to 64-bit. DWARF is the standard debugging format for Linux and is widely used with embedded processors. DWARF is designed to be extended easily to support new languages and new processors. DWARF Version 4 is compatible with Version 3, making it easy for compiler and debugger developers to upgrade their development tools. Most programmers will not notice the differences when using compilers or debuggers that use DWARF Version 4, although they may see improvements in debugging their programs.

The DWARF Committee consists of representatives from a broad range of companies, including Apple, ARM, CodeSourcery, Concurrent Computer, Eager Consulting, Google, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Red Hat, SGI, Sun Microsystems, and TotalView, as well as unaffiliated individuals with significant experience in compiler and debugger development.

Michael Eager, Chair of the DWARF Committee, said "we have made significant improvements in Version 4 since the previous version was released in 2006. These include improved data compression, better description of optimized code, and support for new language features in C++. Debugging programs can be difficult. Providing the best quality information to programmers can make this easier."

The DWARF Version 4 standard can be downloaded without charge from the DWARF website (dwarfstd.org). Additional information about DWARF, including how to subscribe to the DWARF mailing list, can also be found on the website. Questions about the DWARF Debugging Information Format or the DWARF Committee can be directed to the DWARF Committee Chair, Michael Eager.

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