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Inferior function calls and out-of-frame exception handlers

When one calls a function via inferior function call, and that function raises an exception (throw), but that function has no local exception handler (catch), the inferior exits with sigabrt. This is filed, with a test-case in gnats 2495. This occurs on platforms with GCC that follow the C++ ABI, and not sjlj exceptions (1).

Today I spent a little time looking at this.

Briefly in this case:

void foo_no_local_exception_handler ()

In GDB if one calls this via inferior function call, perhaps as follows:

p foo_no_local_exception_handler ()

a dummy frame is created for the function call. When the exception is raised, it is packaged and _Unwind_RaiseException is called. The _Unwind_RaiseException proceeds to perform the _UA_SEARCH_PHASE and searches for a matching handler. I stepped through this today, and because of the mechanics of the inferior function call and the single dummy frame, it will not find a matching exception handler.  The _UA_SEARCH_PHASE terminates and _Unwind_RaiseException returns with a _URC_END_OF_STACK. To quote the C++ ABI here (

"_URC_END_OF_STACK: The unwinder encountered the end of the stack during phase 1, without finding a handler. The unwind runtime will not have modified the stack. The C++ runtime will normally call uncaught_exception() in this case."

And that is exactly what happens in this case. _Unwind_RaiseException returns and this code executes:

74      // Some sort of unwinding error.  Note that terminate is a handler.
75      __cxa_begin_catch (&header->unwindHeader);
76      std::terminate ();

And the inferior terminates. This won't happen with a local exception handler as the unwinder can find the handler in frame.

That being said, I'm a little at a loss on how this can fixed. The unwinder and exception raising mechanisms are working as designed and the inferior function frame is being correctly assembled for the command. I was pondering  catching the exception with a GDB supplied implementation-specific handler for the purposes of the inferior function call. But not sure if this is even possible. Suggestions?



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