I use emacs/gdb for debugging. Generally, I

  1. emacs
  2. M-x then type gdb
  3. type exe name.

Every debug, I've gone through these 3 steps.

I want to know: is it possible to run gdb from the command line, e.g.

emacs -xxx "gdb my_exe" ....
  • just in case, if you want to use gdb from command line (without emacs) you can try gdb -tui my_exe Commented Dec 17, 2018 at 13:34
  • Thanks for all you replies, guys. I am new to Emacs. But after more looking, I decide to give up Emacs. The major reason is that Emacs does not support lldb (officially). I think nowadays, it's still hard to say which one is better between GCC/GDB and Clang/LLVM/LLDB. But I do think that Clang/LLVM looks more promising. I really don't understand what the guy (, who made the decision that Emacs cannot support LLDB) is thinking (You know who I am talking about ^_^). To learn Emacs, I need spend lots of time. But I really don't want to spend time on the software which does not look promising. I
    – kgflying
    Commented Dec 18, 2018 at 6:23
  • Here is the first reddit thread I found when Googling emacs lldb in case anyone is interested: reddit.com/r/emacs/comments/6qbwjl/… I would suggest that someone post a question in this forum specifically on point and then anyone with enough reputation can throw a bounty to encourage someone to write up a draft repository (although not officially supported, yet that is ...).
    – lawlist
    Commented Dec 18, 2018 at 8:09

2 Answers 2


man emacs gives the following - perhaps one of these invocations would help:

   The following options are Lisp-oriented (these options are processed in the order encountered):

          -f function, --funcall=function
                  Execute the lisp function function.

          -l file, --load=file
                  Load the lisp code in the file file.

          --eval=expr, --execute=expr
                  Evaluate the Lisp expression expr.

Specifically, this seems to work for me:

emacs --eval '(gdb "gdb -i=mi dcalc")'

You can pass options to Emacs to make it run code when it starts: -l /path/to/file.el, -f function-called-without-arguments, --eval "(some-lisp-code 'taking-care-of \"quoting for the shell\")".

The function gdb is autoloaded, so you don't need to load a package explicitly. It takes an argument. You'll have to write some Lisp code to grab it from the command line.

I have a Gdb startup file which does a bit more work than just grabbing the name of the executable from the command line: pass arguments to the debugged program, show the program name in the frame title, make exiting this session easier than my normal session, turn on auto-revert, set up a window configuration. Some of it is a matter of taste, pick what you like and leave out the rest.

;;; Emacs session dedicated to gdb

;; I'm often editing source files in my main session, so revert them
;; here automatically.
(when (fboundp 'global-auto-revert-mode)

;; Make this session easier to exit.
(if (boundp 'confirm-kill-emacs)
    (setq confirm-kill-emacs nil))
(defun my-confirm-kill-emacs ()
  (y-or-n-p "Really exit Emacs gdb session? "))
(or (memq 'my-confirm-kill-emacs kill-emacs-query-functions)
    (setq kill-emacs-query-functions
          (append kill-emacs-query-functions '(my-confirm-kill-emacs))))
(defun clear-buffer-process-query-on-exit-flag ()
  (let ((proc (get-buffer-process (current-buffer))))
    (if proc
        (set-process-query-on-exit-flag proc nil))))
(defun clear-gdb-inferior-process-query-on-exit-flag ()
  (if (equal (process-name (get-buffer-process (current-buffer))) "gdb-inferior")
(add-hook 'comint-exec-hook 'clear-gdb-inferior-process-query-on-exit-flag)
(defadvice gud-common-init
    (after gud-common-init-set-process-query-on-exit-flag activate)
  "Don't ask for confirmation if exiting Emacs during the debug session."

;; I shouldn't need this, but `gdb-many-windows' often bugs out, and
;; this is useful to manually fix the windows.
(defun make-window-dedicated (arg)
  (interactive "p")
  "Make this window dedicated to the buffer that it's currently displaying.
With a zero or negative prefix argument, make this window non-dedicated."
  (set-window-dedicated-p (selected-window) (> arg 0)))

;; Run gdb.
(let ((command-string (combine-and-quote-strings command-line-args-left)))
  (set-frame-name (concat "gdb: " command-string))
  (gdb (concat "gdb -i=mi --args " command-string)))
(setq command-line-args-left nil)

;; Set up a nice window configuration.

With this file saved as /path/to/my-gdb-session.el, I have a wrapper script called ~/bin/emacs-gdb that contains

exec emacs -l /path/to/my-gdb-session.el "$@"

I can then run emacs-gdb my_exe argument1 argument2.

You can make it a shell alias (alias emacs-gdb='emacs -l /path/to/my-gdb-session.el') or a Windows shortcut if you prefer.

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