Using GCC to produce readable assembly?


Answers

I would like to add to these answers that if you give gcc the flag -fverbose-asm, the assembler it emits will be a lot clearer to read.

Question

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.




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




It would be safe to let others know, that the -S switch to GCC on x86 based systems produces a dump of AT&T syntax, by default, by can be specified with the -masm=att switch, as so:

gcc -S -masm=att code.c

Whereas if you'd like to produce a dump of intel syntax, you could use the -masm=intel switch, as 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 :
 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 
 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 :
 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 
 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



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).




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c   gcc   assembly