I don't like purely command-line debuggers all that much; but sometimes I'm using a machine which simply does not have any X-based applications nor anything with another kind of GUI, and I'm restricted to a terminal session.

I'm thus interested in a debugger with (n)curses as the user interface - something which will let me watch the source as is go up the stack trace without constantly having to type commands, etc. It doesn't have to be fancy; so something like the ncurses analog of, say, kdbg would be relevant.


  • Libre license.
  • Gratis.
  • Supports gdb
  • Speedy
  • Usable with C and C++ code


  • Support for other compiled languages
  • Supports LLVM's debugger as well as gdb
  • Some sort of index / parsing of code / etc. which would enable moving from use to definition, or between definition and declaration
  • Under actively development
  • Ability to interact with the UI in ways other than typing in commands on some command-line. (i.e. not just a fancier state display over the gdb/llvm debugger command line).

1 Answer 1


Vanilla GDB satisfies you constraints. gdb -tui is based on curses.

Also, GDB is capable of advanced customization using .gdbinit. You might get inspired by these ones:

Some people prefer cgdb to GDB TUI.

For more options, see How to highlight and color gdb output during interactive debugging? on Stack Overflow. The screenshots are taken from there.

  • 1
    But aren't all of these still based on entering commands on the command line?
    – einpoklum
    Commented Jun 2, 2017 at 11:49
  • Cgdb lists "visual breakpoint setting", "keyboard shortcuts for common functions" and "key mappings (macros)" among its features. Its interface is very Vim-like.
    – Palec
    Commented Jun 2, 2017 at 12:18
  • GDB TUI has Single-Key Mode where commen debuging tasks take just a single key press. Still, some commands are needed, e.g. to set a breakpoint.
    – Palec
    Commented Jun 2, 2017 at 12:24
  • So, I've upvoted this answer, and it's obviously very useful compared to plain-vanilla gdb use, but I'm still hoping for an answer that's less dependent on a command line.
    – einpoklum
    Commented Jun 2, 2017 at 12:39
  • 1
    I heard about Clewn, which enables using Vim as an interface to GDB. I'm planning to give it a ride some time. It has the potential to enable tighter integration and more shortcut-driven interface. Still, GDB is such an advanced tool that evading all its commands may not be the most comfortable way to get things done.
    – Palec
    Commented Jun 2, 2017 at 12:44

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