Heapusage

Linux Mac
Linux macOS

Heapusage is a light-weight tool for finding heap memory errors in Linux and macOS applications. It provides a small subset of Valgrind's memcheck functionality, and can be a useful alternative to it for debugging memory leaks in certain scenarios such as:

  • Large complex applications which cannot be run at Valgrind slowdown speed
  • Embedded systems with CPU architectures not supported by Valgrind

Like Valgrind, it is recommended to run Heapusage on a debug build of the application to be analyzed.

While Heapusage has less performance impact than Valgrind, its analysis is less precise. It may report leaks originating from system libraries (e.g. libc functions like printf()) that might be free'd when the system library is being cleaned up.

Example Usage

$ heapusage ./ex001
==2933== Heapusage - https://github.com/d99kris/heapusage
==2933== 
==2933== HEAP SUMMARY:
==2933==     in use at exit: 12221 bytes in 4 blocks
==2933==   total heap usage: 5 allocs, 1 frees, 13332 bytes allocated
==2933==    peak heap usage: 13332 bytes allocated
==2933== 
==2933== 6666 bytes in 3 block(s) are lost, originally allocated at:
==2933==    at 0x00007fd04d062c88: malloc (humain.cpp:154)
==2933==    at 0x00005611e856c1a4: main (ex001.c:29)
==2933==    at 0x00007fd04ce470b3: __libc_start_main
==2933==    at 0x00005611e856c0ae: _start
==2933== 
==2933== 5555 bytes in 1 block(s) are lost, originally allocated at:
==2933==    at 0x00007fd04d062c88: malloc (humain.cpp:154)
==2933==    at 0x00005611e856c17f: main (ex001.c:19)
==2933==    at 0x00007fd04ce470b3: __libc_start_main
==2933==    at 0x00005611e856c0ae: _start
==2933== 
==2933== LEAK SUMMARY:
==2933==    definitely lost: 12221 bytes in 4 blocks
==2933== 

Supported Platforms

Heapusage is primarily developed and tested on Linux, but basic functionality should work in macOS as well. Current version has been tested on:

  • macOS Big Sur 11.0
  • Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

Limitation: On macOS this tool relies on code injection using DYLD_INSERT_LIBRARIES, which generally does not work with third-party applications in a standard system. Using it on (your own) applications built from source should work fine though.

Installation

Pre-requisites (Ubuntu):

sudo apt install git cmake build-essential

Optional pre-requisite for source filename/line-number in callstacks (Ubuntu):

sudo apt install binutils-dev

Download the source code:

git clone https://github.com/d99kris/heapusage && cd heapusage

Build:

mkdir -p build && cd build && cmake .. && make -s

Optionally install in system:

sudo make install

Usage

General usage syntax:

heapusage [-d] [-m minsize] [-n] [-o path] [-t tools] PROG [ARGS..]
heapusage --help
heapusage --version

Options:

-d     debug mode, running program through debugger

-m <minsize>
       min alloc size to enable analysis for (default 0)

-n     no symbol lookup (faster)

-o <path>
       write output to specified file path, instead of stderr

-t <tools>
       analysis tools to use (default "leak")

PROG   program to run and analyze

[ARGS] optional arguments to the program

--help display this help and exit

--version
       output version information and exit

Supported tools (for option -t):

all    enables all supported tools below

double-free
       detect free'ing of buffers already free'd

leak   detect memory allocations never free'd

overflow
       detect buffer overflows, i.e. access beyond allocated memory

use-after-free
       detect access to free'd memory buffers

Examples:

heapusage -t leak,overflow -m 2048 ./ex001
       analyze heap allocations of minimum 2048 bytes for leaks and overflows.

heapusage -t all -m 0 ./ex002
       analyze heap allocations of any size with all tools.

Output Format

Example output:

==2933== Heapusage - https://github.com/d99kris/heapusage
==2933== 
==2933== HEAP SUMMARY:
==2933==     in use at exit: 12221 bytes in 4 blocks
==2933==   total heap usage: 5 allocs, 1 frees, 13332 bytes allocated
==2933==    peak heap usage: 13332 bytes allocated
==2933== 
==2933== 6666 bytes in 3 block(s) are lost, originally allocated at:
==2933==    at 0x00007fd04d062c88: malloc (humain.cpp:154)
==2933==    at 0x00005611e856c1a4: main (ex001.c:29)
==2933==    at 0x00007fd04ce470b3: __libc_start_main
==2933==    at 0x00005611e856c0ae: _start
==2933== 
==2933== 5555 bytes in 1 block(s) are lost, originally allocated at:
==2933==    at 0x00007fd04d062c88: malloc (humain.cpp:154)
==2933==    at 0x00005611e856c17f: main (ex001.c:19)
==2933==    at 0x00007fd04ce470b3: __libc_start_main
==2933==    at 0x00005611e856c0ae: _start
==2933== 
==2933== LEAK SUMMARY:
==2933==    definitely lost: 12221 bytes in 4 blocks
==2933== 

Source code filename and line numbers are only supported on Linux, when package binutils-dev is available. On macOS one can use atos to determine source code details.

Technical Details

Heapusage intercepts calls to malloc/free/calloc/realloc and logs each memory allocation and free. For overflow and use-after-free it uses protected memory pages using mprotect() to detect writing outside valid allocations.

Limitations

Heapusage does currently not intercept calls to:

  • aligned_alloc
  • malloc_usable_size
  • memalign
  • posix_memalign
  • pvalloc
  • valloc

Third-party Libraries

Heapusage is implemented in C++. Its source tree includes the source code of the following third-party libraries:

Alternatives

There are many heap memory debuggers available for Linux and macOS, for example:

  • Address Sanitizer / Leak Sanitizer
  • Electric Fence
  • Mtrace
  • Valgrind

License

Heapusage is distributed under the BSD 3-Clause license. See LICENSE file.

Keywords

linux, macos, heap usage, finding memory leaks, alternative to valgrind.

Heapusage

Find memory leaks in Linux and macOS applications

Heapusage Info

⭐ Stars68
🔗 Source Codegithub.com
🕒 Last Update10 months ago
🕒 Created6 years ago
🐞 Open Issues0
➗ Star-Issue RatioInfinity
😎 Authord99kris