MirOS Manual: kvm(3)

KVM(3)                     BSD Programmer's Manual                      KVM(3)


     kvm - kernel memory interface


     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 /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 gath-

     kvm_open() is first called to obtain a descriptor for all subsequent


     /dev/mem  interface to physical memory


     kvm_close(3), kvm_getargv(3), kvm_getenvv(3), kvm_geterr(3),
     kvm_getloadavg(3), kvm_getprocs(3), kvm_nlist(3), kvm_open(3),
     kvm_openfiles(3), kvm_read(3), kvm_write(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 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 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 in-
     cludes a routine, kvm_geterr(3), to return (not print out) the error mes-
     sage corresponding to the most recent error condition on the given

MirOS BSD #10-current            June 4, 1993                                1

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