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Controlling core files (Linux) · 12 September 2005, 07:30 by Admin

If you don’t want core files at all, set “ulimit -c 0” in your startup files. That’s the default on many systems; in /etc/profile you may find

ulimit -S -c 0 > /dev/null 2>&1

If you DO want core files, you need to reset that in your own .bash_profile:

ulimit -c 50000

would allow core files but limit them to 50,000 bytes.

You have more control of core files in /proc/sys/kernel/

For example, you can do eliminate the tagged on pid by

echo “0” > /proc/sys/kernel/core_uses_pid

Core files will then just be named “core”. People do things like that so that a user can choose to put a non-writable file named “core” in directories where they don’t want to generate core dumps. That could be a directory (mkdir core) or a file (touch core;chmod 000 core). I’ve seen it suggested that a symlink named core would redirect the dump to wherever it pointed, but I found that didn’t work.

But perhaps more interesting is that you can do:

mkdir /tmp/corefiles
chmod 777 /tmp/corefiles
echo ”/tmp/corefiles/core” > /proc/sys/kernel/core_pattern

All corefiles then get tossed to /tmp/corefiles (don’t change core_uses_pid if you do this).

Test this with a simple script:

  1. script that dumps core
    kill -s SIGSEGV $$

    But wait, there’s more (if your kernel is new enough). From “man proc”:


    This file (new in Linux 2.5) provides finer control over the

    form of a core filename than the obsolete

    /proc/sys/kernel/core_uses_pid file described below. The name

    for a core file is controlled by defining a template in

    /proc/sys/kernel/core_pattern. The template can contain %

    specifiers which are substituted by the following values when

    a core file is created:

    %% A single % character

    %p PID of dumped process

    %u real UID of dumped process

    %g real GID of dumped process

    %s number of signal causing dump

    %t time of dump (secs since 0:00h, 1 Jan 1970)

    %h hostname (same as the ‘nodename’

    returned by uname(2))

    %e executable filename

    A single % at the end of the template is dropped from the core

    filename, as is the combination of a % followed by any character

    other than those listed above. All other characters in the

    template become a literal part of the core filename. The maximum

    size of the resulting core filename is 64 bytes. The default

    value in this file is “core”. For backward compatibility, if

    /proc/sys/kernel/core_pattern does not include ”%p” and

    /proc/sys/kernel/core_uses_pid is non-zero, then .PID will be

    appended to the core filename.

    If you are running a Linux kernel that doesn’t support this, you’ll get no core files at all, which is also what happens if the directory in core_pattern doesn’t exist or isn’t writable by the user dumping core. So that’s yet another way to not dump core for certain users: set core_pattern to a directory that they can’t write to, and give write permission to the users who you do want to create core files.

    Taken from